"Lord, we know that we have just used the words which one of old, long time ago, used, but did not understand that it was the Lord speaking. (1 Samuel 3:3-10) He thought it was a man, though a man of God, until he was brought face to face with the fact, No, it is not man that speaks, it is God; and then directly with thyself he said, "Speak Lord, Thy servant heareth." We pray that we may have that enablement to discern when the Lord is speaking, when it is not just a man but the Lord. And oh how much hangs upon the Lord is speaking, when it is not just a man but the Lord. And oh how much hangs upon the Lord speaking to us as it did with Samuel. We would be like Samuel, that mighty power among the people of God. We ask Thee that we may truly hear Thee hear inwardly the voice of the lord ... that we may go down before Thee and receive whatever instruction or commissions Thou wouldst have us receive. So help us, Lord, this morning, for Thy name's sake, Amen
There is a hymn in one of our hymn books; some of you will know it, others will not. And it runs like this:
My goal is God Himself.
Not joy, nor even blessings,
But, Himself, my God.
Tis His to lead me there;
Not mine, but His, on earth,
At any cost, dear Lord,
By any road.
Young Christians without much experience sing that with a good deal of enthusiasm. Older, more mature Christians sing it holding their heart. I wonder if you would commit yourself to those last lines: "At any cost, dear Lord, by any road." You say, "Yes." If you do, then you are prepared for what is coming, for on that very ground I am quite sure we are going to meet a challenge this morning. It will bring a challenge of a real crisis upon which so very much for us all will hang, far more than we are aware of.
Well now, having said that, let us go on. In this hour of our sessions, we are occupied with the two humanities, and especially with the great transition from one humanity to Another: the humanity of the first Adam (an inclusive word and term: collective as well as individual) to the last ADAM, Who also is individual and collective.
Later in the week we may have something more to say about the collective aspect of the New Humanity, but we have a lot of ground to cover before we get there, to the place where I think a very big adjustment has got to be made in our mentality and conception of that corporate aspect - we call it the Church. I am certain that we have got to make some mental changes over this Church conception; however, we leave that, and this morning we come back to this transition, this passing from one humanity to Another, with which the whole Bible is occupied, and particularly the New Testament.
I weigh my words; I am very careful. I am not a bit concerned with or interested in just passing to you a lot of teaching and information. I am too old for that. [this was given just before Rev. Sparks passed on to His Lord in Heaven.] Everything has got to contain something vital upon which destiny hangs. So I weigh my words, and I want to repeat this: the New Testament in its entirety is occupied with one thing (there are many things about the one thing contained in it) but this is the one thing: the transition from that one humanity, kind of being - mankind, to Another. The Other being Christ, the First of this New Race and Order of mankind upon which God's heart has been set from the beginning. This New Order of humanity is of far greater importance, as we said and pointed out yesterday, than even angels. As little children, we used to sing a little hymn: "I want to be an angel." Do you? Well, God has a far greater destiny for you than that of angels. "Angels desire to look into these things"; it says: "they desire to look into this." "Not unto angels, but unto MAN". This is the supreme conception of God's heart in this creation of which Christ His Son is the First - the Beginning.
Change-Over: In the Control of the Holy Spirit
Everything therefore that you will find in your New Testament in one way or another has to do with this changeover, and everything that we shall find in our own spiritual experience, if we are really in the hand of the Holy Spirit, has to do with this. You say: "Oh, I am going through this experience or sorrow, of perplexity." Whatever it is, it is all in the control of the Holy Spirit related to this transition, movement from one ground to Another, from one personal kind to Another Personal kind. The focus is right now upon the situation that you are in, whether it be a good one or a bad one: "by any road, at any cost."
And here it is that we begin what is not going to be in the first place pleasant to contemplate. What is it? The absolute necessity for the practical devastation of one kind of humanity. I underline the word "practical", not doctrinal, not theoretical, not theological, not philosophical, but "practical" devastation of our old humanity.
I wonder if you have recognized that the Old Testament throughout is occupied on one side with this: the exposure of the inability of that humanity under the most favorable conditions to satisfy God. God took out a people, related them, attached them to Himself. While they remained on His ground, He blessed them with every, not spiritual, but temporal blessing in the earthly. They had only to be obedient to the commandment and blessed was their balm and their store and their basket and their family and their business and their everything prospered on this earth. He gave them a marvelous economy under His sovereignty right through from the garden, through Israel. And what have we when we close our Old Testament? The failure of that kind of humanity under every condition, and every favorable condition that God could give temporally. It is a tragic story, and the Old Testament has to close. No, it has not attained: it has failed. You have to write on that side the big word "FAILURE" over that whole history of mankind in relation to God.
Now when you come into your New Testament, what do you find happening? This whole issue is being headed up to its climax in the New Testament. God has stepped in with an intervention and along one line said: "We are going to definitely and positively bring this thing to a culmination and a climax; but to do it We must let people see and know, and all history and all time, recognize why it is necessary for us to bring about this culmination and climax of that humanity." Oh, note this, while we are not interested just in fascination, there is something fascinating about this. It is gripping, when once you begin to see.
God's Kind of Man: This Other MAN
So, not in the order of time or chronology, we have our four gospels as they are called, and what are these four gospels? They are two things; of course, they are the introduction of God's king of Man. He is put there, and then alongside of God's kind of Man, the other kind of man is arranged. You cannot read these gospels from that standpoint without being shocked. It is the only word for it - shocked - at the exposure of man alongside of this Other Man, this MAN that God has put down in the midst. Read your gospels again in this light: the reactions of men to this Man. Are they not terrible? You wonder sometimes how on earth they got the cleverness to note some of the things that they bring up against this Man.
Now, steadily moving on in the gospels, moving on in that way and uncovering, exposing, there is a manifestation of that kind of man intensifying. Note the point where it seems a new intensification comes in in this malice, this hatred, this prejudice, this wickedness - against Whom? Why, what has my Lord done? What means this rage and spite? Intensified, until you come right up to the days of the Cross. You remember of course, He has been moving on the ground of the crucified Man from His baptism onward, and that is a significant fact when you carry it into the unseen realm, where the forces of antagonism are at work.
(continued with - "The Heart Which Says "NO" to God")