THINGS SURELY BELIEVED
A baptismal sermon preached at Mt. Olivet Baptist Chapel, Sheffield, on April 4th 1976, and published by request.
With the Lord’s help, we shall consider words in the first part of the first chapter of the Gospel according to Luke. There are two short phrases in these verses which will form the subject of our meditation together.
In the 1st verse we read of “those things which are most surely believed among us,” and in verse 4 we read of “the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.” These four verses form a very simple introduction to Luke’s record of the Gospel. He says, “Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order, a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eye-witnesses, and ministers of the Word; it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.” Luke addresses his record of the Gospel to this man Theophilus, of whom we know very little. One thing we do know about him was that Luke wanted him to be established in his faith. Luke wanted Theophilus to be assured in regard to the things which he believed. So he reminds him of “the things which are most surely believed among us; the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed,” remembering, of course, that in those days there was not a New Testament as we have it and that Christian instruction was received mostly by word of mouth and through the ministry. Now it is upon the heart of this man, Luke, to set down in writing, the truth as he knew it; and for this reason – that Theophilus might be established in his faith – and it is on my mind to speak very simply this afternoon about the very things “which are most surely believed among us.”
A person’s baptism is a time of public testimony. And in this ordinance it is our privilege to do exactly what Jesus and His disciples did all those years ago. This is nothing new; nothing unusual. It is exactly what the Lord taught His disciples to do when He said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16. 15-16.) So it is no innovation – nothing strange; we simply follow in that long, long and precious tradition – the example of Christ and the Apostles in the early Church.
What is it that we believe? What is it that we wish to say by our actions today? What is it that moves our hearts to do the things that we do? Are they significant? Have they any meaning in the days in which we live? I have not the slightest doubt that they have.
What are the things, then, which are most surely believed among us? Peter took exactly the same line of teaching at the time when he preached at Pentecost. He simply reviewed the things which were most surely believed. He reviewed Old Testament teaching; he reviewed the faith of the people of God.
Now what is that faith? It is first of all faith in God, and that needs to be said in no uncertain terms today. It is faith in God who is God. It is not a faith in a figment of our imagination. It is not faith in a helpless God who waits for men to let Him do things. It is faith in a God who speaks, and with His voice there is authority. Go right back to the beginning of the record of scripture – God said, “Let there be light, and there was light.” The scientists say it has taken millions and millions of years for light to get from the furthest star to the earth, and so God could not possibly have created it. But God said, Let there be light, and there was light. Light in the stars; light between the stars and the earth if need be, for God is great enough;
and by faith we believe that the worlds were framed by the word of God. Oh yes! it is a matter of faith; it is a matter of conviction; it is a matter of assurance in our hearts because of the testimony of God’s own word. We believe in God the Creator; we believe in God who gives us, each one, his life and being. We believe in God who knows the day of our birth and the day of our death. We believe in God who, having given us life, will take life from us. We believe in God to whom we shall one day go, and to whom we shall one day give an account of the way we have lived. Now that is the God we believe in – a God who is almighty – blessed in His power, wonderful in His mercy, great in His grace.
We “believe in God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth,”this is one of the ancient declarations of Christian belief. We do believe in God and that is not a matter just of academic reasoning; it is not just that we have examined the faiths of men and come to the conclusion that the Christian faith is the best. There are some here who can say they know in a personal way, the power of God. They know that God is the rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. They believe that God is a Spirit. The Lord said to the woman at the well of Samaria, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” What I am saying today is simply this – that we shall never know God unless we have spiritual life. We can never know God unless we have this spiritual life given to us by God. God has absolute power; He has absolute authority, and He is absolutely Sovereign. He does exactly what He chooses to do and does not ask men for permission to do it. He does exactly what He will in the armies of heaven and amongst men. and we believe in God upon whom we are completely and absolutely dependent. For the very next breath that you breathe you depend upon God. though you may never have recognized it and may never have been willing to admit it. That is what we believe: we believe that everv dav of our lives we live dependent upon God. Paul said so. He said to the Athenians. “In him we live
and move and have our being.” You think you have complete control over your life, your actions, your thoughts, your future. But the Bible teaches that it is in God that you have life, and only through God that you have either natural life or spiritual life. We believe in God the Father Almighty; we believe in God who is all-powerful and Sovereign.
Secondly we believe in God’s Word. The scriptures of truth form the great foundation of our faith. Holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit of God. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God – that means every word of scripture is breathed out by God, although He used men to speak these words and to write these words. Well, in very truth they are God’s own words.
Now that is our faith. This was Luke’s concern – having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, he was anxious to leave on record these true words; to leave on record a faithful testimony of the person and life and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now we believe whatever God has chosen to show to us in the written scriptures, and everything that I say must be tested by that test, and everything that you believe will one day be tested by that test. Is it according to God’s Word? Is your faith and your practice according to God’s Word? Now what we do today must be put to that test – is it according to God’s Word? I know that down through the history of Christianity there have been many differences of opinion. There have been great disputes as to what is the right way to act in churches. Friends, so many disputes arise because men will not bow to the Word of God; because men will choose their own way. Well, all things in our faith and all things in our practice must be examined according to the Word of God.
Thirdly, we believe not only in God and in God’s Word, but we believe in the great centre of the testimony of God’s Word: we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Now that is the very apex of our faith; that is the point to which all the lines of scripture truth are pointing. Right from the beginning of the creation record, onward down through the Old Testament, you find that godly men of old were looking forward to Jesus Christ. Centuries before He was born it was said of Abraham – “He rejoiced to see my day” – that is, Christ’s day; the day of Christ’s life here on earth – “He rejoiced to see my day – he saw it and was glad.” There is Abraham’s testimony right back in the beginning of human history; and so it is through the words of the prophet all pointing to the Lord Jesus Christ. “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” – God with us. There is the testimony of the prophets. And the New Testament is a plain, simple, unvarnished record of the life and work and teaching of Jesus; and what follows the Gospel record is a simple testimony to the faith of those who were nearest to Jesus Christ – the faith of disciples and apostles and the early believers in the Saviour. They testified what
they knew. “Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses” – that is, they had seen with their own eyes the things which Luke here records. So then we believe in the reality of the person of Jesus Christ; that He is not just a figment of history, of man’s imagination, but a real Man – a real Man born of a real woman, born in all humility and poverty, laid as a baby in Bethlehem’s manger. “A Man there is,” as Joseph Hart says, “a real Man.” Now that is our faith; and says John, “In the beginning was the Word” – that is Jesus Christ, God’s own eternal Son. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Later he says, “The Word was made 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 that is the One we believe in; we believe in Jesus Christ who is truly Man and who is truly God.
There is the greatness of our faith; there is the glory of our
confession. We believe in Jesus Christ who is God manifest in the flesh. He did not cease to be God in order to become man; He did not cease to be man when He ascended up to the right hand of His Father. He is still what He was; He is still God; He is still truly man, and it is Jesus Christ, truly God and truly man, in whom we believe.
Now let me say a few things which we believe concerning the Lord Jesus Christ in His life and work. We believe that He came into this world with one grand, vital purpose. Paul said to Timothy, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” Now there was the Saviour’s purpose; therein lies the secret as to why He came as man; therein lies the secret as to why it must be God manifest in the flesh who comes to be the Saviour of men – because men have sinned against God; because God is offended and because a man must atone for man’s sin, It must be man who suffers because man has sinned, and only the God-man Jesus Christ, great as God, humble as man, can bear man’s sin away, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” That, we most firmly believe – a faithful saying we have received in our hearts. One of the things which is vitally necessary before any person is baptized is that he shall have this conviction in his heart, that Christ is God, and no-one is a Christian who has not that conviction in his heart by the work of the Holy Spirit – let that be plainly understood. Whatever he may claim, he is no Christian who does not believe that Christ is God.
Then what of His life? We believe His life was not only a life of humility; not only a life lived as a true man, but a life of unique importance because it was a perfect life; the only perfect life that has ever been lived. Adam, as he came forth from his Maker’s hands, was a good man. God beheld the work that he had done and said that it was good. Eve, formed by the same power of God, comes into existence as a good woman – but their lives were not good. They both sinned against their Maker. Your life is not good; my life
is not good; your life is shot through with sin and vileness. We are born in sin and shapen in iniquity and in sin did our parents conceive us. This is not to suggest that our birth was in any sense illegitimate. It is plainly to teach that as we are born into this world we carry with us a fallen, sinful nature which very quickly begins to show what it is really like. We are none of us perfect; we are all of us sinful. There is but one perfect, holy life. Only of the life of Jesus, could it be said, “there is not the least mark or stain of sin in it.” It is a pure, holy, honourable, upright, godly life – that is the life of Jesus. He says, “I came not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” “I delight to do thy will, O my God.” Is that how you have lived? Can you say that of your life? – of every day of your life? – of every moment of every day of your life? “I delight to do thy will, O my God?” – you know very well that you cannot. You have lived for yourself; you have lived selfishly with a self-centred attitude. You have been seeking your own pleasures, your own good and your own prosperity. You have not been seeking the honour and glory of God. Now that is what I mean by a sinful life – a life that is lived in indifference, or in unbelief or in antagonism to God. That is a sinful life. Here is a perfect life; the perfect life of the perfect Man Who delights to do the will of His Father, Whose Holy law was in His heart. “Thy law is within my heart,” He says. He loved it. This was the very principle upon which He lived – the Holy will and command of His Father in heaven.
Oh, how sad a contrast between your life and His! How sad a contrast between my life and His! – but this we do believe, that His life was a pure and holy life. Therein lies one of the great secrets of our salvation; we cannot know true peace in our hearts unless we possess a righteousness which God can accept, and He will never accept your righteousness, nor will He accept mine. The scripture says, “Our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” That’s the best that you and I will ever attain to in our lives. Sin is mixed with all that we do; we are never simple, plain-hearted. There is something of the mixture of sin and wickedness in everything that we do because of our nature. Now that never was so with Christ and it was vital that He should live this kind of life for us in order that God could accept us. God can only be satisfied with a perfect life; He can only be satisfied with a life of infinite value and of unspeakable virtue if ever He is to accept those who are sinners. We believe, then, that Jesus lived a perfect, obedient life.
We also believe that Jesus died and rose again; simple words -“Jesus died and rose again.” This time of the year should at least serve to remind us once in twelve months that Jesus died; but what does that mean to you and what does it mean to me? Ah! there is more than just the death of a good man; there is more than just the death of a man who died for His convictions. There is far, far more than that in the death of Christ. I would to God that you and I could see it more clearly than we can. Oh, friends, there is life. Eternal life in the death of Christ – if only we could see that! Jesus said, in that wonderful chapter about His work as a shepherd and His people as the sheep, “The good shepherd giveth his life for the
sheep.” Now that is why He died. He loved the sheep so much that the only way in which He could save them was to lay down His life for them. The saving, the safety and the peace of those sheep cost Him His life; but there is life for us in His death, for He says, “I give to them (my sheep) eternal life and they shall never perish, and no man shall pluck them out of my hand.” There is the eternal safety and the absolute security of all who are the true sheep of Jesus Christ. They are blessed with His gift of eternal life.
Oh! there are great depths in the death of Jesus Christ – depths which should cause us continual amazement; depths which should break our hearts with sorrow, for, in His dying He died between two thieves; in His dying He died in the place appointed for criminals. He was numbered with the transgressors; He was condemned, though falsely, yet He was condemned, and what is more, God the Father in heaven looks upon His own dear Son dying upon Calvary’s tree and He says, there is a Man who is dying; He is a just Man and He is dying in the place of those who are not just; He is a righteous Man and He is dying in the place of those who are not righteous. There is a Man who is sinless in His life and person, yet He is being punished for sin. This is the testimony of the scripture regarding His dying. “He was made sin for us who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” He died that He might give to His people that blessing of eternal life; He died that their sins might be forgiven; so that God could look upon you and me who are sinful, and say, “that person is freely forgiven.” There is no other way of forgiveness; there is no other name given under heaven, amongst men, whereby we must be saved; no other way! God must see that life and death of the Lord Jesus Christ covering your life and covering your sins if ever He is to forgive you.
We also believe that when Jesus died He knew for whom He was dying. He says, “I lay down my life for the sheep” – the sheep. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ had a particular intention in His death, and that is, that all that the Father had given to Him should be for ever safe in His hands. “All that the Father giveth me,” He says, “shall come to me, and him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.” We believe, then, that the purpose of Christ in His dying was a particular purpose; a purpose of saving a particular people, and we believe that those whom Jesus died for were those the Father gave to Him. When? You ask me when He gave them to Him? I cannot tell you, for it was before time – in eternity. The first chapter in the Epistle to the Ephesians will tell you when. We believe in God’s eternal election, we believe that God has a right to choose men, to choose to save whom He will. This, we believe, lies as the great purpose behind the work of Jesus. He knew for whom He died; so that Isaiah could say, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all,” and Peter could say, “Ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” We believe that Jesus died, “the just for the unjust, to bring us to God.”
We also believe that the third day He rose again from the dead –
the great and grand proof that all He had done was crowned with success; that His Father had approved and accepted all that He had done. We see in this the great proof that His words were true when He said upon the Cross, “It is finished.” It was finished. We see in the resurrection of Jesus Christ that the Father looks upon the work of His Son. He sees the travail, the agony, the deep sorrow of His Son’s heart – and is satisfied. These things we most surely believe;
that His resurrection was a real bodily resurrection; not some kind of spirit resurrection so as to deceive the disciples – no! He says, “Look, here are my hands. A spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have.” This we believe – the bodily resurrection of Jesus.
We believe that He ascended up into heaven, and we believe the message of the angels that as He ascended up into heaven, He “shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.” That we believe. Though it is centuries since He left this world and all its sorrows; though it is centuries since He ascended to the right hand of the Father, yet to Him a thousand years are but as yesterday! Oh, that day is fast coming when He will return from heaven – in His glory; in His power. Paul, preaching to the Athenians said that the Father has appointed a day in which He will judge both the living and the dead, by that man, Jesus Christ, and the proof is in the resurrection of the Saviour. These things are most surely believed among us.
Now, finally, a few words about the application of the Truth; a few words about the personal experience of the Truth, for we believe that real Christianity is not just a matter of saying, “I am a Christian.” – real Christianity is not just a matter of coming to some kind of mental conclusion about the Bible, We believe that real Christianity is a work of God. We believe that when Jesus spoke to Nicodemus He was teaching a vital point of truth when He said, “Ye must be born again.” Now we are certain that if ever you are to know anything of God, of God’s works and ways, anything of God’s blessings, His mercy, grace and love; if you are ever really to know the Lord Jesus Christ as the true Saviour of your soul – then, “ye must be born again.” For Jesus said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God;” he has no conception of spiritual things unless he has spiritual life. “Ye must be born again.”
Now we surely believe that there is such a work of God carried on today; that God’s power is still known in the lives of men and women today. You say, what sort of things shall we see when a man is born again? Well, I will tell you. You will see a man who has a different attitude to God, a man who has a different attitude to God’s Word, and a man who has a different attitude to God’s Son. Those are things you will surely see. You will see a man who has a different attitude to himself; you will see a man who has a different attitude to his sins, and you will see a man who has a different attitude to the sins of the world around him. You will see a man who has a different attitude to life; you will see a man who has a different attitude to death; you will see a man who has a different attitude to
eternal life. Those things you will surelv see: That is how great this work is: that is why I say it is a work of God. and not a work of man’s human, natural ability. Oh, we must be “born again.” and the Lord says of the work of the blessed Spirit, “The wind bloweth where it listeth,” (or chooseth, or where it is sent) and thou hearest the sound thereof: but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” It is a sovereign. gracious work of God. These things we believe
Two things were always stressed by the Apostles in their teaching. The first was – repentance. Paul, in his preaching at Athens says, “God now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” Jesus said, “Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish;” stressing the absolute necessity of repentance. Repentance is a change of heart, a fundamental change within us; it is a change of direction in our heart and life, in our believing, in our thinking. It is a change which takes place regarding God. Paul says to the Thessalonians, “Ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.” There is one part of “repentance” – turning to God from idols to serve the living and true God. Repentance is seen in your change of heart also in regard to the Lord Jesus Christ, because Jesus said the Holy Spirit shall “reprove (or convince) the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. Of sin, because they believe not on me.” Repentance will be seen in a change of your heart towards the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance will be seen in a change of your heart towards the ways of sin and shame and unbelief; the ways of the world and all that the world counts so important. Paul said as he looked back at his past life, “What things were gain to me, I counted loss.” The things that I thought were so important, I throw them on one side. “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” Repentance is a real deep spiritual change; and, friend, repentance flows into a sinner’s heart by the sovereign grace of God, because Jesus is exalted, a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance and remission of sins.
Secondly, faith, for Jesus said, “Repent ye and believe the gospel.” Faith in God’s Word, faith in the whole gospel, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, in His life, in His suffering, in His death; faith in Him, in His resurrection and faith in Him now as the living Saviour. And we believe that faith is God’s gift. As Paul says to the Ephesians, “By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.” A faith which is entirely a spiritual work of the Holy Spirit of God, and a faith to which there is great encouragement;” Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” There is the united testimony of the apostles. Oh! faith to which there is great encouragement, and faith which is ever joined to what we read of in the Acts of the Apostles as “remission of sin.” Believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, sin is remitted; that is, it is altogether cancelled and sent away. God cancels the whole of our terrible debt as we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. “Believe, and thou shalt be saved.” Believe, and in that believing you will know in your heart
that way of forgiveness; that true joy and peace in believing, because it is God’s appointed way for the remission of sin. “Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity,” Blessed is that man whose sins are forgiven, and that man is the only man who can look death in the face, with peace in his heart. Like the Apostle Paul, when wonderfully blessed with this strong faith – he says, “I have a desire to depart to be with Christ, which is far better.” Do you want to die? Have you ever wanted to die? I do not mean just out of a sense of misery, or just because you are tired of living – I mean because you have a joyful anticipation of the glory of dying;
because you have a glimpse, by faith, of the glory of that eternal kingdom. That was why Paul wanted to die – to be with Christ.
Another point about this very real, personal religion – it is a religion of love to Jesus Christ. This is the shining characteristic of this real religion; it is love to Jesus Christ. Jesus spoke much of loving one another. He emphasized very strongly our love for one another, but we know this truth, that we love Him because He first loved us; and we know that the Apostle Paul felt that in all his life and ministry, this was his concern. “The love of Christ constraineth us,” he says, and he could see Jesus who had died for him, by faith. That was why the love of Christ constrained him. Now, friend, this is what we believe about real Christianity; about the true faith. It is a faith which worketh by love; it is a faith that is animated with an inward spiritual sense of love to the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul could even go so far as to say that when God had separated him from his mother’s womb, He revealed His Son in him. It was as personal as that. It was Christ revealed in him, which is Christ in our hearts, the hope of glory. It is a personal, living, vital relationship to Jesus Christ. The Lord put it another way when He said, “I am the vine;
ye are the branches.” He goes on to say, “Abide in me,” – live, by faith in me, live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved you and gave Himself for you. That is what the Lord meant. May the Holy Spirit do that mighty work for you; reveal in your heart in so personal a way, the Lord Jesus Christ – the only Saviour of sinners. That thou mightest know the certainty of those things wherein thou hast been instructed.”
These things we believe – that those in whose hearts this truth has been made known, are men and women of a changed life. They are men and women with Holy desires; they are men and women who forsake sin; they are men and women who want to do the will of God. You know, it was instantaneous with the Apostle Paul. He was Saul of Tarsus – he was kicking against the pricks. A light shone from heaven; God speaks. The Lord Jesus Christ speaks to him, personally – “I am Jesus whom thou persecutes!.” And what did he say? “What wilt thou have me to do?” He was a changed man. Instead of choosing his own way, determined to have his own will, thinking that he did God’s service – he is a broken man; an utterly broken man; and now he says, “What wilt thou have me to do?” There is the life of a believer – constantly saying, “What wilt thou have me to do? Not my will, but thine be done.
Now, does God direct His children to go into all the filth and
wretchedness of the world? Does the Lord Jesus Christ encourage those who believe on Him to indulge in all the sinful pleasures of this life? You know what Paul said to the Corinthians, don’t you? He said, “Come ye out from amongst them and be ye separate from them, and touch not the unclean thing.” That is, anything which is “unclean” in the sight of the Lord. These things are most surely believed among us – that the free, merciful love and grace of God, the free forgiveness of all our sins, through the merit and blood of Jesus Christ, does not for one moment encourage sin. These things are believed – that we do not live under the threat of an angry God. “Ye are not under the law,” says Paul, “but under grace.” We are under the holy, gracious influence of the Spirit of God. We are not living in a continual fear that the anger of God will break out upon us and cast us into hell. We live under a sense of the mercy and the
love of God, and it is that which moves us in the way of Gospel obedience.
Now, a lot of people today think of baptism in this way. They say, “Now, I am told that if I am baptized I shall be all right when I come to die, and I am afraid of going to hell, so I will be baptized.” Others are taught that if they are baptized, automatically they receive life, spiritual life. These things we do not believe; no, these things we do not believe. We believe that those who are moved by the love of Christ, are baptized because He gave us His example;
that is why – because we see the example of Jesus when He came to John. John was very troubled about what the Lord suggested. The Lord pressed him. He said, “Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.” Now, that is why the believer wants to be baptized. He believes it is right; he believes Jesus has set him an example.
A believer does not do this to gain eternal Life. He does it because He feels indebted to God who has given him eternal Life;
and he does it because in his baptism he can show in an open and public way, his relationship to the Saviour. There are verses in chapter six of the Epistle to the Romans that speak very strongly of this: “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” There is Paul’s explanation of that remarkable relationship. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” It is a sign then, a sign to us and a sign to all who witness it, that here is one whose hope and trust alone is in a dying Jesus. Here is one who is saying, “My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” This is the testimony of a man or of a woman who is saying, “It is only through the death of Jesus Christ that I have any hope of eternal life.” And, it is the testimony of a person who is saying, “It is only through a risen Christ that I have any hope of living a life of faith and walking in newness of life.” Such is a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us – “That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.”