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Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Positive Drawing Upon the Power of His Resurrection

Resurrection

Next, we must take a positive attitude at all times to "the power of His resurrection" (Phil. 3:10) - the attitude of faith in 'God Who raises the dead' (2 Corinthians 1:9). We must really reckon upon that 'extra,' and that 'other,' which is represented by the power of His resurrection. It is all true - that this is this and that is that, and things are as they are; it is all true. We are not putting on blinkers, trying to make believe that we are not as bad as we are: we know that they are just as bad as they can be, inside and out. But ... there is something more than that - an altogether transcendent factor: and that is, the power of His resurrection. We must take a very positive attitude at all times toward that.

For Personal Life

This means, in practical terms, a definite drawing upon His risen life. But it does not mean that we are thereby entitled to break the laws of God. For instance, if you speak at three or four or five meetings a day, for something like eleven weeks, without one day's rest, you are breaking the laws of God, and God will not protect you. That is exactly what I have known to happen. How long it takes us to learn these lessons - sometimes a whole life! We get drawn out by need and appeal and so on. I believe the Lord is very sympathetic, but, nevertheless, He does not set aside His laws. So I have to say, that, while avoiding breaking Divine laws, the laws of nature, the laws of our bodies (and you can never speak of the laws of nature without meaning God, for the laws of nature are an expression of God, and God is Himself the supreme Law of Nature: that is not Pantheism, but it does mean that the laws of nature bring you right into touch with God) - I say, while not violating God in His laws, in the body and so on, we must deliberately at all times draw upon His resurrection life. We just do it; we must keep a tight hold, so to speak, on the risen life of the Lord, and draw upon it; make a very practical thing of it.

When I was a small boy, I remember my mother telling me something that has remained with me to this day. She was describing to me the death of my grandfather, an old man of eighty-four. She was sitting by his bed, holding his hand, as he was slowly, very slowly passing away. He had been a very strong man, physically, and this is what she told me. 'He had hold of my hand,' she said, 'in a tremendous grip: I was praying for him, but he was gradually sinking away: but I felt as though he was drawing the very life out of me; I felt my very vitality begin sapped; he was pulling something out of me, to hold on to life: and at last I could stand it no longer - I just had to wrench my hand out of his; and when I did so, he went.'

Well, I do not know how much scientific truth there is in that; but to me it is an illustration. We have literally got to draw on the vitality of our Lord. It is an attitude, a grip of faith: we must 'lay hold on life', as Paul said to Timothy (1 Timothy 6:12). It must be something that we do.

I fear we are far too indefinite in this matter of our relationship to our Risen Lord. We believe in the resurrection; we believe in resurrection life; and we be believe that it is for us: but we are not definite enough about t. We must first ask ourselves: 'Do I need resurrection life? Am I in need of the power of His resurrection?' Of course, if you have no sense of need, you will not be definite about it; but if, in any way, you really feel your need of the power of His resurrection, that the Arm of the Lord should be revealed to you in that way, then ask yourself the further question: 'Are that any Scriptures, any statements in the Word of God, which justify me in believing that that life is for me?' Then, if you believe the answer to that to be in the affirmative, say to yourself: 'Let me get to the Word, and find out what it says about this; let me gather up, search out, all that the Word of God says about this matter of resurrection life - for me!'

Do it as an exercise, not just picking out random texts; get a strong foundation of Scripture under your feet. "If the Spirit of Him That raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, He that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall quicken also your mortal bodies through His Spirit That dwelleth in you" (Romans 8:11). That is in the Bible! "Always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus ... that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh" (2 Corinthians 4:10, 11). That is Scripture! Gather up in this way all that you can find; take it to the Lord and say: 'Lord, Your Word clearly says ...' (and here you can quote Scripture to Him if you like: it is a very healthy thing to remind the Lord of His Word). 'Now, Lord, You have said that the power of the resurrection is to be known in Your people, in believers, as a present experience: here is Your Word about it.' Bring it to the Lord; present it to Him, all that you can find, be very definite in this matter. We might see marvelous things, wonderful things, have a far greater testimony of resurrection life, if only we would be more definite about it. It is not just going to 'happen'; it is not going to be casual. Any dilly-dallying about this thing will not find us coming into the good of it. We must be positive; we must be definite; we must make this a very real matter.

For it is not just personal, for our own private good; the whole testimony of our Risen Lord is bound up with this. There is, of course, thank God, the personal application, and this may be either spiritual - for we are surely all, individually, in constant need of new accessions of life spiritually - or it may be physical. Blessed be God, that we can take life for our bodies! We may know resurrection life carrying us through impossible situations, physically. Or it may be that we need a new accession of life, the 'baring of His arm,' in our ministry: for all ministry, if it is to be true spiritual ministry, has to be fulfilled in the power of His resurrection.

For Corporate Life

But then, widening out beyond personal, individual need, it may apply to a company of the Lord's people of which we are a part, or in which we may have some responsibility. Things are going down into death, straightness and dishonor; the situation is not glorifying to the Lord; and we are greatly burdened with the need - Oh, that the Arm of the Lord might be revealed! Oh, that the power of resurrection might be manifested! What are you going to do about it? Well, it requires the same exercise. This resurrection of the Lord Jesus is for every aspect of the life of the believer and the Church.

But ... it does not just happen. I say once again: we have got to take a very definite and positive attitude to this matter. If we will, and if we do, there are those who can testify, from a long history, that this really does work - that repeated miracles of sustenance and enablement and supply, of raising up and carrying on, will result again and again, from a definite laying hold of the fact that Christ is risen  for us. He died for us - He is risen for us. He died in our place  He lives in our stead. He is the living One!

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 1 - "Recovery of Lost Testimony") 

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