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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Recovering of the Lord's Testimony in Fullness # 7

The Object - the Wall

And in the third place, this wall represented a defense. It was something which was placed as it were in a position of responsibility. It was responsible to protect the Lord's interests and the Lord's people from that which would invade, which would attack, which would corrupt, which would change the character. The Lord needs a testimony which challenges everything, a testimony which will not let anything pass that is not wholly of the Lord. That is where things have gone wrong with the Church, with the people of God, with the Lord's interests. So much has been allowed to creep in, to have a place, that is not of the Lord, and there has not been a sufficiently strong testimony to what is of the Lord to meet it.

Again, in your New Testament you find that at the beginning, when the spiritual wall was first built, it was such a strong, clear thing in the power of the Holy Spirit, that first of all there were many that did not join themselves - they did not, they were afraid. The situation was such that fear was created in the heart where things were not right with God. On the other hand, people coming in fell down on their faces and said: 'God is in the midst of you.' The Lord needs a testimony like that, does He not? - something clear, so strong, that those who do not mean business with God are afraid, and in our common expression, just 'clear off.' "They went out ... that they might be made manifest that they all are not of us" (1 John 2:19), and that is a very healthy sign. Things are in a good condition when that happens. Ah, yes, but when things are in a bad condition you are afraid to lose anybody - you hold on to anybody. The Lord said: 'No, don't try to hold on to everybody, don't try to bring in everybody.' This testimony, this wall, is a defense, a protection against anybody, anything. How necessary it was to Jerusalem in Nehemiah's day! The whole book shows that. You look at these other people, and see what this wall meant to Tobiah and to the rest of the company. They knew the implications of this wall; they knew that they were not getting into this.

Well, that is the meaning of the wall in the first place. But let us go just a little further in the matter. The wall represents Christ on two sides. On the one side, it represents Christ outwardly to the people of the world and the nations. On the other side, it represents what Christ is to the Lord's own people themselves. In a phrase, the wall is a testimony in fullness to the Son of God: what the Son of God means, as seen in this world, to the world and to the people of God.

The Need For Repairing the Wall

It is necessary that I should put in a word here, lest there should be a misapprehension of our meaning. Nehemiah was not building the entire wall all over again from the foundations. If you look closely, you will see that it is the repairing of the wall that is going on, the repairing and making complete of what had been broken down. Why do I say that? Well, it is not given to us, we are not called upon, to build this thing from the foundations. Thank God, the foundation was laid, and thank God, the wall was built, in the beginning. The Book of Acts shows the wall, the testimony, in fullness and completeness, and in glory and strength and grandeur: a mighty defense, a mighty revelation of Christ to the nations and a mighty meaning of Christ to His own people. It was there at the beginning. Nehemiah did not come to commence, to initiate this thing. He came to a scene whee what had once been full, clear, perfect, was broken down, ruined, and his work was to repair it and make it complete again; and that is where we are. If we are called into anything, we are called into that. We are not called upon to do what the Apostles did. They did their work, and it stands; but since their time there has been a good deal that speaks of the conditions of Nehemiah's day - a good deal of collapse, of breakdown, of disintegration and of spoliation; and the Lord calls in to recover, to recover what was. That, surely,is the work to which we are called.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 8)

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