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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The New Testament: The Great Transition

Our Father, Our God, we ask Thee now that Thou, who didst say "let light be," will shine into our hearts at this time "to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." It is that face we together have said we are seeking now. We seek Thy face. We thank Thee hat the veil is taken away. We thank Thee that the heaven is open. We thank Thee that the Holy Spirit has come. What we pray for is our need - so deeply conscious we are of it - our own impotence and helplessness, our inability to do anything, to say anything worthy of Thyself. O Lord, we confess utter dependence upon Thee, but we say to Thee, Lord, we trust Thee. Now make this then a time of entering into the good of that opened heaven, that anointing Spirit, that revelation in the face of Jesus Christ. We ask it in His name. Amen

I want to lay the foundation for our meditation in this session, the first session of this week, by asking you to turn to several passages of Scripture from the Old Testament and from the New. Beginning in the book of Genesis at chapter five, verse two, it states: "Male and female created He them, and blessed them, and called their name man." (ASV). "So also it is written, the first man became a living soul. The last Adam a life-giving Spirit. Howbeit that is not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; then that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second Man is of heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have born the image of the earthy, we shall (or let us) also bear the image of the heavenly".

And then, please, in the letter to the Colossians, chapter three at verse nine: "Lie not one to another;  seeing that ye have put off the old man with his doings, and have put on the new man, that is being renewed unto knowledge after the image of Him that created him; where there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bondman, freeman; but Christ is all, and in all".

And finally, in the letter to the Hebrews, chapter two at verse five, it says: "For not unto angels did He subject the world to come, whereof we speak. But one has somewhere testified, saying, 'What is man, that Thou are mindful of him? Or the Son of Man, that Thou visitest Him?"

As I have said, in this session we are laying the foundation for our meditations. We shall be somewhat general and comprehensive and later work inward to get to the real heart of things; however, first it is necessary for us to have a comprehensive view and vision of what is before us.

I have no doubt that not a few of you who are here at this time have come with problems, and I find that Christians everywhere the world over are full of problems in our time. If it is not problems about their own spiritual life and themselves (as it is in many cases), it is problems about other Christians; or it is problems about the Church generally and, perhaps, locally. Also, there problems about the world. These problems are manifold, and they are apt to drain our spiritual life and get us very much locked up and held up in our spiritual progress. It is like that. A lot of Christians are doing that today. They are missing the glory because their eyes are either turned inward or earthward: that is their problem.

You remember when the people of Israel were going over the Jordan into the promised land: the Word to them was this, "You shall set the ark, a space between you and the ark, of two thousand cubits, because you have not passed this way heretofore." (Joshua 3:3-4 paraphrased). There is a wealth, a mine of profound wisdom, in that simple prescription: "a space of two thousand cubits between you and the ark, because you have not passed this way heretofore." If you get too close to things, you will lose your perspective and you will lose your way. Do not get too near. Keep things in proportion, in perspective.

Now do you not agree with me that we have got too near things, and we have made things the everything? Is that true? Yes, even our Christian doctrine - and it is precious and important and vital and essential - yet, we have isolated our doctrines and made them the everything. We can make even the doctrine of the Cross the everything, and I can mention many other things which are like a circumscribed circle for many Christians today. They cannot see beyond that, and they cannot see anything more than that. If you talk to them, they have no interest in anything but that. They come back to it every time and hold you to it. This loss of proportion and perspective and vision in its entirety is the cause of many of our problems and much of our arrested spiritual life.

Now why am I saying this? For two reasons. You will have to get a larger vision than your personal problems and see them in a related way. I do not know very much about the science of relativity but I come down very strongly on the principle of relatedness or relativity. We must see everything in its relatedness to everything else, and not just things as an end in themselves. I want to share with you today what is on my heart, and what is so much alive to me now is this comprehensive setting of the spiritual life, getting it in its greatness, its vastness, its immensity.

Now immensity can, of course, be awe-inspiring to the point of making you stand still and hold your breath. But immensity cal also be an emancipating thing. You see the greatness of that into which we have been called in Christ! THE GREATNESS OF CHRIST! Oh, if we could this week get a new apprehension, grasp, of the infinitude's of our Christian calling, we would go away an emancipated people. And in that setting then, let us begin.


(continued with "Humanity Is God's End")

[these were sermons given by T. Austin-Sparks at one of the conferences just before he went to be with his heavenly Father in glory.  I give you below, his dedication to us as written:

"This is a series of messages given at a conference in 1968, by our brother T. Austin-Sparks just shortly before he went to be with our Heavenly Father in glory. Having received so many spiritual benefits from these messages, we feel that God would have us to share them with the Church, His Body.

Therefore, in an effort to retain the Holy Spirit's anointing upon  them, we have sought to preserve these addresses in their original spoken form, with very little grammatical correction. We feel our brother Sparks has left behind an abundant spiritual legacy for the members of Christ's Body because we have found these messages have brought us into a fuller and greater revelation of the Heavenly Man. And so it is our sincere prayer to God that these articles will help furnish in His Body what is needed until we all come to see what Paul saw in the Heavenly New Man of glory.

[T. Austin-Sparks - for those of you who have forgotten - from past posts - would NEVER allow anyone to copyright his Christian materials - ever. He always said: "Freely received, freely given."  After his death, his family also declared that none of Rev. Sparks materials would ever be copyrighted! Rev. Sparks was an anointed man, a great Christian minister and writer. These articles are given, by me, as a token of my small efforts, to everyone who is in need of pure, true, godly, and in-depth Christian teaching.]

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