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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Christ In Heaven and Christ Within # 2

Christ In Heaven and Christ Within # 2

The Objective Side, continued -

You see, it implies the work that He has done by His Cross, in overthrowing all His and our enemies, meeting all the demand of human need in the matter of salvation, perfecting our salvation. And so He is received up, and is at the right hand of God; and the right hand is always in Scripture the place of strength and honor. He is at the right hand of God because the work which He came to do was finished. That is, our salvation has been perfected by and in the Lord Jesus. There is nothing whatever for Him to add to it. That is the most elementary thing to say, and yet it is so foundational. So many of the Lord's people have not yet entered into the joyful appreciation of that - that the Lord Jesus really has given the last stroke and the last touch to our salvation; that when heaven received Him, heaven set its seal to the perfected work of His Cross; and that He is there in possession of a salvation which has not still to be accomplished but which is final, full, complete, utter.

Perfect Salvation When We Believe

Our salvation rests upon our faith acceptance of that, not of anything subsequent to that. In the day in which we believe in the Lord Jesus on the ground of the perfection of the work of His Cross, we receive perfection of salvation, and enter into all that salvation to its very last degree. We shall never - though we were to live for centuries on this earth, - we shall never in Christ be one little bit more perfect than we are in Him in the very moment that we believe. All that is made good to us in the day that we believe. There are no questions, no hazards, no risks, the thing is settled, it is ours, full and complete in Christ. The Blood of the Lord Jesus has dealt with the whole sin question, root and branch, once and for all, for us. The question of condemnation has been for ever settled. You cannot have anything more utter than this - no condemnation! "There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus." It does not say: 'There is no condemnation to those who have faithfully been going on with the Lord for years.' It says: "to them that are in Christ Jesus." And when are you in Christ? You are in Christ the moment that you believe in relation to His work on the Cross for your salvation, and in that very moment you enter into the place of  no condemnation, and freedom from condemnation cannot be more complete than that.

The tremendously important thing is for us to have that settled in our own hearts. We are saved, we are forgiven, we are delivered from condemnation. In Christ we are perfect. He is our perfection, and that perfection of His is ours through faith. The people who have the purest, clearest, fullest heart-grasp of that are the happiest people, the people who know joy. The people who have not grasped that are disturbed people, they have not the fullness of joy, they are always afraid, anxious, worrying about their salvation, doubting; and the enemy plays many tricks with people who have not settled that once and for all.

Now that is the blessed truth of what is objective in salvation for the believer as in Christ. I am so glad that He is in heaven "far above all" with this matter. If He were here in this world I might think that anything could happen: but He is not, nor is He in any realm where anything can happen; He is beyond all happenings in the matter of salvation. That salvation of ours in its perfection has been put beyond the reach of anything that can throw a doubt upon it, or raise a question about it - beyond the touch of anything that can bring it into uncertainty.

The Perils Of The Objective Apprehension

But there are perils associated even with that blessed truth, because it is only one side of the truth. It is the first side; it is the thing which must come first, but it is only one side, and therefore it is just possible to make salvation one-sided by putting all the emphasis upon that and not giving due place to the other side.

1. The Peril of Shallowness

What are some of the perils? Well, we begin with the simplest, the peril of superficiality, of shallowness. What Christ has done for us may be a matter of very great joy and rejoicing and satisfaction; but contentment in that realm and with that side alone may just prevent that deep work which is necessary, which comes by the complementary side of the truth of Christ's work, the subjective. Thus it is found that many people, who are rejoicing to the full in the finality of their salvation in Christ, are living very much upon the surface, and not learning a very great deal about the deeper realities and fuller meaning of Christ. That is in the first and perhaps the simplest form of peril.

2. The Peril of Delayed Maturity

Closely related to this is the peril of making the Christian life static, settled, where it has reached the point of accepting all the objective truth by faith and staying there, and not going on beyond that in spiritual experience. The truth is there, but it is objective, external, although there is great joy, and assurance in the heart; but the Christian life has stopped with that, it has settled down. That is a very real peril, and you find it marking a great many of the Lord's people. Their attitude is, "I am saved, nothing has to be added or can be added to my salvation; I need have no more doubt of my salvation, I am accepted in Christ, and I am perfect in Him; what more do I need? I just rest upon that and enjoy that day by day." Well, that is very good, but you see it can bring a check, so that you live on one side of things, and the whole of the Christian life stops there.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 3)

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Adrian Rogers (and other devotionals)

BIBLE MEDITATION:
 “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” Romans 13:14

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
One of my favorite stories is about a father who leaves his son at home one Saturday afternoon because his son isn’t feeling well. He tells his son, “Don’t go swimming with your buddies.”

The son says, “Yes sir!”

The dad returns by way of the swimming hole and notices his son frolicking with the other boys. He stops the car, calls his son over and says, “I told you not to go swimming.”

“But I didn’t intend to go swimming. I just came down to watch, and I fell in,” the boy said.

The dad began feeling sorry for his son until he noticed he had his bathing suit on! The son explained, “I brought that along…in case I was tempted.”

ACTION POINT:
Friend, don’t make any provision for the flesh.
~Adrian Rogers~
_______________________________________

Consider carefully how you listen!(J.C. Ryle)"Consider carefully how you listen!" Luke 8:18 
We learn from this verse, the great importance of right hearing. The words of our Lord Jesus Christ ought to impress that lesson deeply on our hearts. He says, "Consider carefully how you listen!"
The degree of benefit which men receive from all the means of grace--depends entirely on the way in which they use them. 
Private PRAYER lies at the very foundation of religion--yet the mere formal repetition of a set of words, when "the heart is far away"--does good to no man's soul. 
Reading the BIBLE is essential to the attainment of sound Christian knowledge--yet the mere formal reading of so many chapters as a task and duty, with out a humble desire to be taught of God, is little better than a waste of time. 
Just as it is with praying and Bible reading--so it is with LISTENING. It is not enough that we go to Church and hear sermons. We may do so for fifty years, and be nothing bettered, but rather worse! "Consider carefully," says our Lord, "how you listen!"
Would anyone know how to listen aright? Then let him lay to heart three simple rules: 
For one thing, we must listen with FAITH, believing implicitly that every Word of God is true, and shall stand. The Word in old time did not profit the Jews, "not being mixed with faith in those who heard it." Hebrews 4:2 
For another thing, we must listen with REVERENCE--remembering constantly that the Bible is the book of God. This was the habit of the Thessalonians. They received Paul's message, "not as the word of men--but the Word of God." 1 Thessalonians 2:13 
Above all, we must listen with PRAYER--praying for God's blessing before the sermon is preached, and praying for God's blessing again when the sermon is over. Here lies the grand defect of the hearing of many. They ask no blessing--and so they receive none. The sermon passes through their minds like water through a leaky vessel, and leaves nothing behind.
Let us bear these rules in mind every Sunday morning, before we go to hear the Word of God preached. Let as not rush into God's presence careless, reckless, and unprepared--as if it did not matter how we listened. Let us carry with us faith, reverence, and prayer. If these three are our companions--then we shall listen with profit, and return with praise!
____________________________________


Never let us read any portion of God's Word without looking up for divine teaching!

(James Smith, "The Evening Sacrifice; Or, A Help to Devotion")

"Open my eyes--that I may behold wondrous things out of Your law." Psalm 119:18

God's Book is a book of wonders! It is a wonderful record . . .
  of God's power in creation,
  of His wisdom in providence,
  and of His grace in redemption.

It has the stamp of infinity upon it. We cannot penetrate its heights, fathom its depths, or traverse its lengths and breadths--but as we are taught of God. The Holy Spirit, who composed it and inspired holy men to write it, must unfold and reveal it to our minds--or we shall never . . .
  see its glory,
  be impressed with its majesty,
  or rejoice in its divine truths.

Never let us read any portion of God's Word without looking up for divine teaching. Never let us imagine that we know all that is contained in any one verse of God's blessed Book--for there is afullness in the holy Scriptures not to be found anywhere else.

Oh, ever blessed Spirit of God, who has given us Your holy Word to . . .
   instruct our intellects,
   sanctify our hearts, and
   regulate our lives--we beseech You to . . .
enlighten our minds to understand it,
open our hearts to receive it,
give us faith to believe it, and
enable us to reduce it to practice in our every-day life!

O may we be given grace . . .
  understand the sublime doctrines,
  believe the precious promises, and 
  practice the holy precepts of Your blessed Word!
Lord, unveil to us the types, unfold to us the prophecies--and apply to our hearts, the consolatory portions of the sacred Scriptures. May we hide the Word in our hearts, that we may not sin against You. O to catch the meaning, taste the sweetness, and feel the power--of Your holy truth! O Lord, open our eyes, and unfold the truth to us this night! O Lord, soften our hearts, and bring home Your Word with power!

"Then He opened their understanding--that they might understand the Scriptures." Luke 24:45

"Behold, God is exalted in His power! Who is a teacher like Him?" Job 36:22
  

Monday, October 9, 2017

Contentment

Contentment

Charles Naylor

Contentment is one of life's greatest blessings. But contentment is not something that can be sent down, nicely wrapped up like a Christmas gift from Heaven. It is a state of mind and heart. It is not dependent upon our situation or our circumstances. Many people are contented and happy in circumstances — where others would be thoroughly discontented. Some people are discontented under the most favorable circumstances. Contentment is a structure we build ourselves. It is a state of mind we develop. It is an attitude toward things which comes to us through careful cultivation. It is something which lives inside us — not something that circumstances and conditions create.
If happiness has not its seat and center in the heart — we may be wise, or rich or great — but never can be blessed.
Contentment is sometimes spoken of as a lazy virtue. Perhaps that is because some people are content with things with which they ought not to be content. We should never be satisfied to permit things to exist, which ought not to exist. We should never be satisfied to be less than our best. There are wrongs which need righting. There are conditions which need improving. There is progress which needs to be made. A sort of contentment that can view these things with indifference, ignore responsibility, evade duty — should be called by an entirely different name. When we have done our duty, met our responsibility, corrected those things that need correction so far as is possible for us — then we may have real contentment. Contentment does not mean surrender to conditions. It does mean being satisfied in the circumstances and conditions which exist, for which we are not responsible.
Contentment is a lesson to be learned. Paul said, "I have learned in whatever state I am therewith to be content." (Philippians 4:11). He goes on to tell some of the things he has learned. "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." (verses 12, 13).
Paul had learned a great secret. It was the secret of adapting himself to conditions, and being at rest in those conditions. He could enjoy to the full, the things that afforded him enjoyment. He could suffer patiently, the things that came upon him to suffer. But whether rejoicing or suffering — he had that inner contentment of spirit — the calmness and peace of which enriched his soul and made quite tolerable a life that otherwise would have been intolerable.
We, too, need to learn the lesson of contentment. The command to Christians is, "Be content with such things as you have" (Hebrews 13:5). Speaking further upon this subject Paul says, "Godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out. Having food and clothing, let us be therewith content."
A godly life is productive of contentment — but there are many Christians who at least in some respects are discontented. This discontent produces a constant urge to rebel against things.
It is a singular fact that many of the most contented people are those who live in poverty. In fact, the working people are the most contented of all people. Those who live on the common levels of life, are the truly happy — provided they have the attitude of contentment.
There are many things people desire which can never give them contentment. One man says, "If I had a million dollars — I would be contented." Another thinks if he had political preferment — that would satisfy his ambition and he would be content. Another has another thing to attain to make him content. These things when attained — do not bring contentment.
As already pointed out contentment is a lesson learned, a state of the heart, an attitude toward things.
Riches do not bring contentment. Andrew Carnegie, known to all for his wealth and a man who should have known what he was talking about, said, "Beyond a competence for old age, and that may be very small — wealth lessens rather than increases human happiness. Millionaires who laugh are rare!" Many of us would do well to pause here and carefully study this saying of a wise and prudent Scotchman.
Jesus told his disciples not to be anxious about food and clothing and such things and added, "After all these things, the Gentiles seek" (Matthew 6:32). Possession of worldly things, is a goal set before them by the unsaved. The question asked about a man often is, "How much money does he have?" His supposed happiness is usually rated by the size of his bank account. No greater error in the choice of a standard for measurement of happiness, could be made. The command of the Scriptures is, "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness." We should put first things first. If we do this — then our needs will be few, and our desires not much greater.
The basis of contentment is simplicity of desire. One of the things that is ruining more happiness than anything else, is the desire to excel others. "We must keep up with the Jones," is an attitude of mind fatal to contentment. It has caused more heartaches, destroyed more happiness, ruined more homes, produced more divorces, perhaps than any other one thing! This strife to excel, often leads people into sin.
The wife would outstrip her neighbors, so she makes large demands upon her husband for money. Thus pressed, he sometimes adopts business methods that are highly improper. In many cases it has led to shame and disgrace. In any event, it leads to unhappiness for both husband and wife and for the whole family. Through envy, jealousy of others, and coveting what they don't have — many people have been brought to bitterness of soul and utterly to hate life. Better contentment in a cottage — than discontent in a mansion!
Very often prosperity in temporal things destroys the happiness which has already existed in a less prosperous condition.
Years ago in one of our northern States, a man engaged in the lumbering business in a small way, built a cozy cottage on the shore of a bay into which he brought his bride. They both worked, he in his sawmill, and she in her cottage — and were both happy. The years passed. He prospered in business and became rich. Then he built a fine mansion in the city and moved into it. After living there for some time and mingling with the society into which his riches gave them entrance — in speaking to a friend one day he said, "We are not as happy as we were in our little cottage on the bay."
A few months ago I heard Charles M. Schwab make an address over the radio. In that address he told of his big house in New York City and of another great house which he owned in the country. He said, "I don't own them. They own me. The only satisfaction I have in them, is that I have enough money in the bank to pay the taxes on them." He has to look to other sources rather than to his possessions, for contentment and happiness.
Contentment is not built of gold or of precious gems. It is not constructed of honors or fame or the applause of the multitude. It does not come from out shining others. These may bring a sort of satisfaction — but not contentment. Contentment belongs to the meek and lowly in spirit. Pride is destructive to it. Arrogance annihilates it. Covetousness curses it. Hatred poisons it. Malice thrusts a sword through it. Contentment can thrive only with the Christian virtues. Faith, hope, and charity abide with it. Peace broods over its domicile. Blessed forevermore is he who has a contented spirit.
So many nourish discontent. They are all the time looking at the things they do not possess — and coveting them. They are always reaching out, stretching themselves to gain something which they cannot attain. They find fault with the things they possess — instead of enjoying them. They minimize the simple good in things. They see all the faults and failures. They often feel that their rights are being trespassed upon. There is a frown in their hearts — and a frown upon their faces.
Who is to blame for all this? The individual himself! He has adopted a wrong attitude of mind and heart. He is facing the wrong way. He has the wrong standard. He cannot be happy. He needs to turn about, face the other way, adopt a different attitude, look at things from a different angle, and set different standards for himself. He needs to learn the secret of the simple life — simple desires, temperate aspirations, bridled ambitions.
In the valley of contentment — is calmness, sweetness of spirit, and rest of soul. Through it flow the peaceable waters of quietness. In this valley, the song-birds joyfully sing. The heart mounts up to God in praise. In it lies the spring of joy which bubbles up in gladsome song.
The valley of contentment is not a place of inactivity. When we have learned to be content with such things as we have, and in our situation in life and in our circumstances — that does not mean that we lose all aspirations or that all effort ceases. By no means. To be content with today, does not mean to be content with the same thing tomorrow. The right sort of contentment demands continual progress in the lines in which progress is possible. In fact, we cannot be contented not to make proper progress. In the valley of contentment, we are not to sit down idly dreaming away our days. On the contrary — there is a path which runs through this valley, and we are to walk in this path, ever forward, ever upward.

If we would be truly happy, if we would sing the songs of the joyous life — then we must learn the lesson of contentment. We must learn what desires to gratify — and what desires to repress. We must learn what things can bring contentment — and what things destroy it. We must avoid the latter, while we seek the former. We must cultivate our hearts. We must trust in God. Then and only then, shall we have that source of contentment and happiness within, which inspires us to sing the song of glad rejoicing!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Christ In Heaven And Christ Within # 1

Christ In Heaven And Christ Within # 1

The Need for Balance

"Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places" (Eph. 1:20).

"To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27).

"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? 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. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin" (Romans 6:1-6).

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8: 1, 2).

"Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's 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" (Romans 8:33, 34.)

We feel the importance of saying a word with regard to Christ in heaven and Christ within the believer, that is, what is objective and what is subjective. It is tremendously important that we should keep a proper balance of truth. A very great deal of our trouble is because of there being an unbalanced emphasis upon some aspect of truth. It is good to know the truth, and it is good to rejoice in it, but it is just possible that even truth may get us into trouble. There are many perils lying in the direction of truth, even spiritual truth; and there are not a few of the Lord's people who have fallen into those perils. It is not that they suffer from want of light, but they are suffering very much because they have not got their light properly adjusted and balanced. Thus it becomes very necessary for us to get things in their right perspective and proportion. Preponderance on any one side will always lead to spiritual injury, and very often to disaster. The history of many instrumentalities which have been raised up and used by the Lord is eventually the sad story of a loss of power and effectiveness because of striking an unbalanced emphasis, of putting some side of truth in a place out of proportion to that which is complementary to it.

Complementary Truths

It is not just a matter of being all-round, that is, of having everything and being in everything; but in the constitution of a body we find that one law is balanced by another. All the laws, of course, are necessary, and it is important to give due place to every function in our bodies; but there run parallel laws and functions, one balances the other. There is that which is complementary to something else. There two things are, as it were, twins, running together, and to over-emphasize or overdevelop one means to throw the whole order out, and to bring about quite serious limitation and weakness,and to make things far less effective than they should be.

So it is in spiritual matters. There are always balancing truths. There is one thing, but there is something which goes with it, and which keeps it in its right measure, and causes it to fulfill its purpose and to serve its end most effectively. There is this order in the Divine creation - one thing is necessary to another to make that other fulfill its purpose to the full. That is where balance has to be observed and maintained.

The Adversary Using God's Work Against Him

Then we must remember that the adversary is always wanting to use God's own work and God's own truth against God Himself. That fact is made very clear in the Scriptures, and we may observe it in experience and in spiritual history. This line of action is more successful for the adversary than perhaps any other, because the result is that he immediately prejudices God's work and God's truth. He closes the door to the acceptance of what is of God simply by using it against God, and one of his most successful methods is that of securing an over-emphasis or an unbalanced apprehension of Divine truth.  You will see what I mean as we go on.

A Peril With Every Blessing

So that with every Divine blessing there is a peril. Wherever there is something which is really from the Lord, that has linked with it its own peculiar peril.

Now these are merely general observations, as leading up to this brief meditation along the specific line of what is objective and what is subjective as to the work of the Lord Jesus for and in the believer. We will look at both of these separately very briefly, seeing what the blessing is and what the perils are.

The Objective Side

We take the objective side first, the Lord Jesus presented to us as in heaven. We know that He is there, and we know that a very great deal is said in the Word about His being there; but why is He there? In the first place: How did He get there? Now you will notice if you look into the Word that whenever the heavenly side of the ascension of the Lord Jesus is presented, that is, whenever the matter is looked at from above, it does not speak about His going up or His ascension, but it speaks about His being received up. In the first chapter of the Book of the Acts it is recorded that as the disciples were looking up into heaven after the Lord Jesus had been taken up from among them, two angels appeared and said to them: "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye looking into heaven? this Jesus, Who was "received" up ..." That is an angelic, or a heavenly, standpoint, and the word "received" represents something more than just the fact that He ascended to heaven. It carries with it this fact, that it would be impossible for the Lord Jesus to be received in heaven if He had not perfectly accomplished the work which He came from heaven to do. In effect, heaven would have been closed to Him; heaven would have had to say to Him, 'But You have not done the work; there can be no reception until You have.' But it was because He had perfected the work which He came to do, and there was nothing more to be added to it, that heaven received Him, and it was a great reception! Psalm 24 gives us some idea of what that reception was:

"Lift up your heads, O ye gates;
and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting
doors: and the King of glory will
come in. Who is the King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty, the
Lord mighty in battle."

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continue with # 2)

Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Great Transition From One Humanity To Another # 28

The Great Transition From One Humanity To Another # 28

Ministry By The Spirit, On The Ground of the Cross, continued -

The writer of the Hebrew letter makes it very simple about Father and children and sons, for it says: "My son, despise thou not the chastening of the Lord." The chastening of the Lord - as a father chastens his son. Well, what about you fathers who have sons, what are you doing with them? Now you may not put it in this way, but this is how the New Testament puts it in meaning: "I am going to make a Man of you. I am out to make a Man of you. Sometimes you may not feel very happy about what I am doing, the way I am doing it, but I am going to make a Man of you." Paul says to these people: "Quit you like men." It is a Man, a Manhood, that the Holy Spirit has come to develop, a kind of Man coming "to full stature of Manhood in Christ." These are Paul's actual words (and this applies to the sisters as much as to the brothers). One Man in Christ, all One Man in Christ. I am sorry the translators have not given us the full translation where it says: "all one in Christ Jesus," but it is "all One Man." It is masculine. "All One Man in Christ Jesus," and the work of the Holy Spirit is to make a Man of us. Oh, yes, but a man according to that Man. Is this according to that Humanity? Everything according to that Humanity. That is why Jesus was here for those three and a half years. A Man amongst men, but different from all others. Everything "conformed to the image of His Son."

The Crucified Church: A Vessel, An Instrument: In Touch With the Throne

Brethren, I am going to close soon, but I want to get very near to the position of the Church, now and in the ages to come; and because this is a very large matter, I am going to focus on one thing to try and help you. We are going to focus upon the matter of prayer. I am convinced that in all the recovery that has to be made, the recovery of prayer, in the way in which I am going to speak of it now, is very, very important.

Have you ever seen, dear friends, what the position of the Church is, if it is in its right position and rightly constituted? Now I am not talking about the Church universal, it applies there, but let us come to a local church. Where is Christ? - "He is seated at the right hand of God." What does that right hand mean? - The place of power, The place of authority, The place of government. The Right Hand - He is there as "Head of the Church, which is His Body." He has been vested, invested, with all authority in Heaven and in earth! Have you sometimes questioned that? Have you questioned Christ's authority here in this world when you see things going as they are going? Have you wondered about that? - all authority in Heaven and on earth? Now, dear friends, if you have a nucleus of the Church in any one place - a nucleus in any one place - rightly constituted on the basis of the Cross and the Resurrection and the Exaltation of Jesus the Lord, you are united with that Throne; and if you get to prayer on that basis, as such an instrument, you are going to touch things in the heavenlies and on the earth. Have we not lost something?

I think I have told you before of a personal experience on my first visit to the United States in 1925. I was just learning then, just learning the great principles of the Church, the Cross and the Church; and I had come to speak at a church convention in Boston. I went into my hotel, into my room, and as I got there an awful sense of conflict and darkness and evil came over me. This was so terrible, and I had to go almost immediately to minister. I said: "I'm no good, I can't go and minister like this, something's got to happen." It was really awful. Abraham knew what he called "a horror of great darkness." That is what it was for me. And I began to use what means I knew of fighting the enemy,such as using "the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God" against the enemy and pleading the blood, but nothing happened. Nothing happened. I walked up and down in that room trying to fight this spiritual battle and never getting through. I cried to the Lord: "Lord, what does this mean? What are You saying? Have I got out of Your will? Ought I not to be here? What is it, Lord?" Then it came to me so clearly: "Just stand into the prayer for you of the Lord's people." Now that is very simple, but I stood there in my room and said:"I stand by faith into the value of the prayer of the Church on my behalf, in the Name of the Lord Jesus." And  just like that the whole thing went! We went through!

Now that is not the end of the story. I wrote back to my brothers in London, and I told them of my experience. One brother answered and said: "Will you please let us know exactly the time that that happened, making allowance for a difference of five hours between London and Boston; will you give us the very hour when that happened?" So I wrote back and said: "In that very hour, we were met for prayer, we felt that you were having a great battle, and we felt that we had to take up that battle for you and pray it through, and we did."

Now do you see what I mean? Forgive the personal reference, but see the principle; now three thousand miles away - five hours difference in world time, but at that very moment the Church prays, far away something happens: the enemy in the heavenlies is touched - Authority on earth, the Church in touch with the Throne! Do you not think we want something like that now? Are there not forces of evil in the heavenlies that need to come under the impact of that "All Authority in Heaven?" Are there not situations, even in the Church of the churches, where that "Authority in the earth" needs to be brought in to change them? And the Church is the vessel of that, the instrument of that! Oh, for local companies on that ground, the Power of the Cross and the Authority of the Risen and Exalted Lord! That is a great need. Ask the Lord about that when you get back where you are. Oh, be careful about a "technique" which is called "prayer warfare" and attacking the devil direct. Be careful, he will make a mess of you, he will wait his time. Get hidden in the Cross. Remember that this is not your strength, your wisdom: it is a crucified vessel that is going to do this.

But oh, the Lord does need recovery of that kind of vocation, and it is not going to stop here. I have said the vocation of the Church in the ages to come - oh, it may not be then against the devil, but I quoted a scripture the other day and told you, I do not understand what it means: "Know you not," said Paul to the Corinthians, "we shall judge angels?" We shall judge angels? That does not mean that angels are doing wrong and are going to be brought into judgment by us in eternity: it means government, telling them what to do,what is required of them. Oh, it means, I do not know what all it means, but it says, "We shall judge angels." It is the Church that is going to be the administrative instrument of Christ through the ages to come: - and the Church has got to learn administration now.

We are in a school of learning, a wonderful school, learning to fulfill such a vast vocation in the ages to come... in the ages to come. This school is for that. And if we are really through the Cross, under the Holy Spirit, under the Anointing Spirit, and if we are all "baptized in One Spirit into One Body," if that is true, if that is true, then we are now under the Holy Spirit's tuition. This is a practical tuition, and not a theoretical one, under His tuition in order that we shall graduate when the Lord comes - graduate into that vocation with which we have been called,unto which we have been appointed from eternity in the counsels of God: to be His governing vessel through the ages to come.

Too wonderful to grasp! Is it beyond you? It is beyond me. But this is what Paul teaches, and it is to begin with us now. "And now," says he, "unto the principalities in the heavenlies may be made known the manifold wisdom of God in the Church." It is a wonderful vocation. Yet how far we fall short.

Now this morning that is enough I am sure for you to lay hold of and wrestle with. Much more could be said, but that is quite enough for now. Be quiet about it, think about it, meditate upon it. All this, dear friends, that I have tried to say to you, that the Lord has tried to show you, does issue from an experimental knowledge of the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. It does. And you have seen now what that Cross means on both its sides. May it not be a subject, a doctrine, a teaching, a theory, but the mighty reality that it is in every realm. May we pray...

We are very conscious, Lord, that when we touch realms like this, there is much that tries to battle and stifle and make it difficult both to speak and to hear. So that now at the end of this course, or this time, we must appeal to Thee as on the Throne to exercise Thyself in Thy Authority, Thy Power, to make these things realities, living realities in us. Not the subject of the convocation in 1968, not the theme that certain people followed in their ministry; but, O God, save us and bring us into the good of what Thou dost say. Make it live, make it a power in us. May it register in earth and in Heaven. In the Name of the Lord Jesus, Amen.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(The End)

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Great Transition From One Humanity To Another # 27

The Great Transition From One Humanity To Another # 27

Ministry By The Spirit, continued -

Paul says, "Here is the wisdom of God" (the wisest thing from heaven) and "the power of God" (the most powerful thing from heaven): "Christ is Crucified." I repeat, the message of the Cross is not just a doctrine, a teaching; it is the message of human life. Before we can teach the Cross, we must know it and experience it. It must have done something in us, and a drastic thing in us. The preacher, the minister, the ministry, must be a crucified minister or vessel. And it must be quite clear that it is not a doctrine of the Cross that is being given, but that the person who is giving it is a crucified person. That searches a lot, does it not?

Oh, let us be careful about our talk on the Cross. Oh, be careful how you speak about the Cross. many people come to me and say: "I came to the teaching of the Cross so long ago. I came to the message of the Cross." Brethren, you see it has become some "thing." How much better if you could say: "The Cross, by the Holy Spirit, did something in me that made it far more than a doctrine, a theory, something to talk about." There is an old saying, an old adage, "You talk so loud that I can't hear what you say": yes, there is something in that adage, but I want to see what you are saying.

Here it is, ministry has got to be a ministry by the Spirit on the ground of the Cross. What will the Holy Spirit allow in ministry? What will He allow in ministry, and what will He disallow in ministry? You learn a lot about that as you go on. In the old days when I was very much in the preaching realm, before a big crisis of the Cross, I worked hard to get good sermons; and I collected everything to make up a sermon, a quotation from this and a quotation from this or that, this poet and that. Later one day I was preaching,and in the midst of my sermon I made a quotation from a certain poet to make a point; and at that point, the bottom fell out of my sermon. Everything went, and I had to struggle to get to the end. I went home and got with the Lord on that,and when I looked up that poet (a very famous poet) the Lord said to me: "Do you know that poet is a modernist,a liberal theologian, that he does not believe in the great truths of Christ's personality and atonement - and you drew him in this morning as your ally to make your sermon a success?" I learned a lesson that day, a life-lesson. And if really we are under the Cross, dear friends, we will know what the Spirit will allow and what He will not allow. We find that the Cross means that, the bottom does fall out of everything in that realm. Am I being too detailed? Oh, no, not for ministry,and I have defined what ministry is (not only pulpit ministry, platform ministry) but the function of the Christian - to minister Christ. That is the ministry, giving Christ, and this ministry must come out of the Cross because there it begins. Paul's ministry began there. The Cross must be the source of all true Holy Spirit ministry.

Now as for the Church, its nature and its purpose, now and forever, what has God in mind from eternity about this elect vessel? What is it? What does the Church exist for in the Divine counsels? Only to be itself the vessel, the embodiment, of all this meaning of the Cross. As with the ministry and ministers, so with the Church, it must be a crucified Church to preach a crucified Christ and to bring by the Holy Spirit all God's knowledge to men. The Church is a crucified Church. Ah, you look at the beginning and see, way at the beginning of these morning meditations, and see the devastation that took place at the Cross - not only in those of the world but with the disciples. We saw how their own humanity was devastated at the Cross. Scattered and desolated, they are men who have got nothing left when they come to the Cross of the Lord Jesus. In the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, the Church begins. He gathers the scattered fragments, and here and there He is putting the vessel together again, but on Other ground. Why did He tarry forty days? Why? - to make sure that they were on New ground, that they had really grasped the significance of the Resurrection as a New ground. And why did He lead them out as far as Bethany and went from them in full view into glory? - to let them know that the Church is on New ground and on Heavenly ground now, on Heavenly ground, and that the headquarters of the Church is not at Jerusalem; it is in Heaven! All is to be governed from Heaven now, because of this Man Who is Exalted. He is the Head, He is the government, but it is Heavenly.

Am I using language that you do not understand or is it too familiar to you? Christ is installed in Heaven as the Representative of this New Humanity, and the Holy Spirit sent down from Heaven is to govern everything, deal with everything, work in everything and in everyone. Firstly, on the relegation to judgment of the old humanity and its development; and, secondly, the initiation and the development of this Other Humanity. That is what the Holy Spirit is here for.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 28)

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Great Transition From One Humanity To Another # 26

The Great Transition From One Humanity To Another # 26

A Cosmic Cross: A Cosmic Death, continued - 

Brethren, I must not start with too much detail, but the Cross of the Lord Jesus is a very practical thing. The Cross is not just an historic thing. The Cross is not just something in the Christian creed. The Cross of the Lord Jesus is a devastating thing, a terrific thing, and it takes us a lifetime to learn how much that is true. However, the fact is here from the beginning: it is the zero hour of the Adamic race. And furthermore, the Cross is the registration of the subjection of the prince of this world. "Now the whole world lieth in the wicked one," says the apostle, "the whole world lieth (is in the lap of) the evil one." By nature, we are in that realm, in that kingdom, but the great and mighty work of the Cross is this transition - "hath transferred  (or transitioned) us out of the authority of darkness, ... into the kingdom of the Son of His Love." By nature we are within that kingdom of the prince of this world, but at the Cross Jesus said, "Now is the prince of this world cast out." Now what did Christ mean? He did not mean the annihilation of the devil. We know that quite well. Not that he ceased to be a being or to have power, but something better than that. Perhaps you know there is such a thing as victory, and there is something more than victory; there is being a conqueror, and there is being more than conqueror. What do I mean?

Many of you can remember, although in America, perhaps, you did not take much account of it and do not know much about it. bit some of us lived through the great Boer Wars in South Africa, and you know how that went on and on, and what devastation and desolation that Boer War saw in South Africa. At last, the British gained the upper hand and captured some of the Boer generals, and among them was General Botha: does that name mean anything to you? He was one of the great generals of the Boer army; and they captured him, and they put him in prison. He was conquered. As Botha watched the British, as he watched their way, their life, and learned the truth about them, he began to change. At last, to make the story short, he became one of Britian's best counselors and allies. The life of General Botha is a wonderful thing - how highly he was honored and respected. even into the First World War he came as a helper, a great helper on the side of the British. What had happened? Ah, yes, he was conquered - but there was more than conqueror; the enemy was made an ally.

Oh, you say, "Is satan for us then?" No, he is not for us. I supposed the analogy breaks down here, but what do we find in the New Testament? "I would have you know, brethren, the things which befell me have fallen out for the furtherance..." And those things which befell were satanic activities, and the Lord has taken hold of satan's work and made them serve His End. That is more than conqueror.

Perhaps we would rather that the Lord would wipe him out, wipe out his resistance altogether; but it is better that the Lord in His All-Authority in heaven and on earth makes the enemy in the long run serve His Purpose. That is more than conqueror. You and I know that he is an unwilling servant, but you have this all the way through your New Testament, such as: "saints in Caesar's household..." etc.

You see, the Cross was the registration of this subjection to Jesus Christ of the prince of this world. The Cross was the sentence of death upon the world itself, (I am keeping to Paul again), the sentence of death upon this world which lies under a curse. Jesus Himself as He came to the Cross knelt in prayer and lifted His heart to His Father in the presence of some of His disciples and said, "They are not of this world, even as I am not of this world, I pray not that Thou shouldst take them out of the world, but keep them from the evil one." The world is banned, the world system, the world spirit, the world influence is banned by the Cross. There is no such thing as a worldly Christian. And if you are worldly, you are contradicting your Christian life. However, here it is, the Cross pronounced the death sentence upon this world.

That is the negative side, but the Cross as Paul saw it in Jesus Christ was the D-Day of the New Creation. "D-Day" - what is that? Deliverance Day! Peter must walk in here and say to us:

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath begotten us again into a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God."

The D-Day - a New hope for a New Creation: a creation that breaks into New Life, New Hope through the Cross in the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

Ministry By The Spirit - On the Ground of the Cross

Now surely all that does give us a much larger conception of the Cross. And I am not going to be able to cover all the ground of these three things, so I will mix up the next two, the ministry and the Church; mark you, issuing from the Cross, inherent in the Cross. No Church without the Cross. No ministry without the Cross. So hence, the Cross is the ground upon which the Holy Spirit encamps for ministry. Therefore, you can understand why it is that there has been such as assault made upon the Cross, to get it out of the preaching, to put other complexions upon it that are not true of it.

If you in the power of the Holy Spirit live the life of the Cross, and minister Christ crucified, the Holy Spirit comes on that! You want to know where the Holy Spirit encamps, where He takes up His position for cooperation? - He takes it up always on the Cross, and you will never come through to a genuine, true knowledge of the fullness of the Holy Spirit unless the Cross is the foundation. The Cross is the only safety, the only safety, in the midst of many things that are false and counter things. And what I want to know about everything is what place the Cross has there, not as a teaching, a theory, doctrine, and something in the Bible, but where is the Cross in the life there? That is the Holy Spirit's camping ground, Christ crucified, as preached in the power of the Holy Spirit.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 27)