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CHRIST OUR SANCTUARY-Part 2

June 29, 2014

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CHRIST OUR SANCTUARY (Part 2)
 – A SANCTUARY is a consecrated place, a place of God’s “holy habitation” (Ps 68:5
note) set apart for His holy praise, a sacred place where His “strength and beauty” dwells (Ps 96:6note), a “Rock of habitation to which we may continually come,” (Ps 71:3note), a place to be revered (Lev 19:30noteLev 26:2), a place for His Name (to be honored)(2Chr 20:8), a quiet place to commune with Him in intimate fellowship, a place where “the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth” (Jn 4:23-24note), a place to “find rest for our (weary and heavy laden) souls” (Mt 11:28-29note), a “place (a Person) of Refuge from the raging wind and tempest” (Ps 55:8note), a “Refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat.” (Isa 25:4Isa 32:2)

In the New Covenant, the Lord Jesus Christ is our SANCTUARY and Place of REFUGE, for our “life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Col 3:3note) To use a modern expression, Christ is our “Safe House” in Whom “we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28) now and forever. “How blessed is the one whom Thou dost choose, and bring near to Thee, to dwell in Thy courts. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Thy HOUSE, Thy Holy TEMPLE.” (Ps 65:4note) Spurgeon writes “Behold what manner of love and blessedness the Father has bestowed upon us (1Jn 3:1KJVnote) that we may dwell in His SANCTUARY (in Christ), and go no more out forever and ever. Amen. Blessed are those who dwell at home in Christ. May both writer and reader be such men and women.” David affirms “Surely goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our life, and we will dwell in the HOUSE of the LORD (His SANCTUARY) forever.” (Ps 23:6note) As Spurgeon says those “twin guardian angels, goodness and mercy follow us always, the black days as well as the bright days, the days of fasting as well as the days of feasting, the dreary days of winter as well as the bright days of summer. Goodness supplies our needs, and mercy blots out our sins.” And so let us “Lift up our hearts!” May our praise come “to His Holy Dwelling” (2Chr 30:27), and may we never weary of crying “O God, You are awesome in Your SANCTUARY,” (Ps 68:35note). “O LORD, I love the HABITATION of Your HOUSE (because I love You Lord) and the place where Your (Shekinah) glory dwells.” (Ps 26:8note) Spurgeon exhorts us: “Oh, my soul, imitate the psalmist, and let all thy desires ascend towards the highest good; longing here to see God, and having no higher joy even in eternity.” “Whether He comes in the second watch, or even in the third,” may Christ find us like His disciples, “continually in (His) TEMPLE, praising God.” (Lk 24:53)

Isaiah 8:14note says of the LORD “He shall become a SANCTUARY (Hebrew = midqash = a holy place),” a description the Rabbis interpret as Messianic, a premise substantiated by Peter’s Spirit inspired quotation of the second part of Isa 8:14 which he uses to describe Messiah as “a Stone of stumbling and a Rock of offense.” (1Pe 2:8note) Indeed, Christ is to all men either a SANCTUARY or a STONE of stumbling! Spurgeon affirms that “Our Lord Jesus Christ is our SANCTUARY, the Place of SECURE REFUGE for every soul that flies to Him. The moment a sinner believes in Jesus, he is safe in Christ, and he remains safe in life, safe in death, safe in judgment, safe in eternity (Ro 5:9-10note1Th 1:10noteJn 10:29note).” Christ is our SANCTUARY into Whom we can flee for refuge in times of danger or distress (cf Pr 18:10note). Indeed, “God is our Refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Heb = a tight place ~ intense inner turmoil as in Ps 25:17note).” (Ps 46:1note) As Spurgeon says “Christ alone is our all in all. All other refuges are refuges of lies, all other strength is weakness, for power belongs to God. And as God is all sufficient, His defense and might are equal to all our emergencies. He has been tried and proved by His people and never withdraws Himself from His afflicted. He is our Help, truly, effectually, constantly; He is present or near us, close at our side and ready for our comfort. He is more present than friend or relative can be, yea, more nearly present than even the trouble itself. To all this comforting truth is added the consideration that His assistance comes at the needed time. He is not as the swallows that leave us in the winter. He is a friend in need and a friend indeed. When it is very dark with us, let brave spirits say, “Come, let us sing the forty-sixth Psalm.” Remember God never promised us an easy time, but He does promise a safe arrival!

“Should all the hosts of death, And powers of hell unknown,
Put their most dreadful forms Of rage and malice on,
I shall be safe, for Christ displays
Superior power and guardian grace.”
—Isaac Watts

Perhaps you find yourself in a condition much like that of the godly remnant of Judah, exiled in an idol filled land, feeling hopeless and helpless. Indeed, the faithful remnant were in great need of a good word of encouragement from the “God of hope.” (Ro 15:13note) While they may have felt forsaken (like all of us from time to time), they were neither forsaken nor forgotten by God, “for He Himself said, ”I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” (Heb 13:5note) And so in a time of spiritual darkness, the Lord God gave His people a “precious and magnificent” promise (2Pe 1:4note) declaring “Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a LITTLE SANCTUARY in the countries where they have come.” (Ezekiel 11:16KJVnote) Observe how Jehovah Who is the grand Object of worship, promises to also be the best Place of worship, Himself the Sanctuary, even in face of the destruction of the physical sanctuary in Jerusalem. Beloved, is this promise not applicable to all believers, for we too are living in an increasingly godless, Christ rejecting land, filled with idols, living as “aliens and strangers” (1Pe 1:1note1Pe 2:11note), longingly “looking for the city which has foundations” (Heb 11:10noteHeb 11:16note), our eternal habitation with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, “the place where His glory dwells” (Ps 26:8note)? The Lord has “been our DWELLING PLACE in all generations, for we have made the LORD, our Refuge, the Most High, our Dwelling Place.” (Ps 90:1notePs 91:9note) Indeed our Jesus is for us a “Little Sanctuary” wherever we go, providing “times of refreshing which come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:19).

Spurgeon adds that God’s promise to be a LITTLE SANCTUARY applies to all weary and heavy laden sojourners in Christ: “Banished from the public means of grace, we are not removed from the grace of the means. The Lord Who places His people where they feel as exiles, will Himself be with them, and be to them all that they could have had at home, in the place of their solemn assemblies. Take this to yourselves, O ye who are called to wander! God is to His people a Place of Refuge, David declaring “my Refuge is in God.”  (Ps 62:7notePs 73:28note). We find SANCTUARY in Christ from every adversary. He is our Place of Worship too. He is with us as with Jacob when he slept in the open field, and rising, said, “Surely God was in this place.” (Ge 28:16) To us also He will be a SANCTUARY of Quiet, like the Holy of Holies, which was the noiseless abode of the Eternal. We shall be at rest from fear of evil (Ps 23:4notePs 112:7note). God Himself, in Christ Jesus, is the SANCTUARY of Mercy. The Ark of the Covenant is the Lord Jesus, and Aaron’s rod, the pot of manna, the tables of the law, all are in Christ our Sanctuary. In God we find the shrine of holiness and of communion. What more do we need? O Lord, fulfill this promise and be ever to us as a LITTLE SANCTUARY!” Amen 

“Jesus, before Thy face we fall—
Our Lord, our Life, our Hope, our all!
For we have nowhere else to flee—
No SANCTUARY, Lord, but Thee!”
—Samuel Medley

Spurgeon – “The Lord has ways of weaning us from the visible and the tangible, and bringing us to live upon the invisible and the real, in order to prepare us for that next stage, that better life, that higher place, where we shall really deal with eternal things only. God blows out our candles, and makes us find our light in Him, to prepare us for that place in which they need no candle, for the glory of God is their light; and where, strange to tell, they have no temple, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the SANCTUARY thereof(Rev 21:22noteRev 22:5note). The holy leads to the holiest: living upon God here leads to living with God hereafter. Oh, that God would gradually lift us up above all the outward, above all the visible, and bring us more and more into the inward and unseen!” (From Spurgeon’s sermon on Ezekiel 11:16 – “A Little Sanctuary” – take time to read the entire sermon)

You are my Refuge (play)
You are my Sanctuary
When I feel afraid
You’re my Hiding Place

From → The Names of God

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