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Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Gospel According to Paul # 30

In His Letter to the Philippians (continued)

The Secret of the Triumph (continued)

How, then? Is there in this letter a key phrase? We have sought in our studies in these letters to together everything into some characteristic phrase from each. Is there such a phrase in this letter that gives us the key to it all, the key to entering ourselves into Christ's great victory and all the value of it? Can we find the key to open the door for us into the position that the Apostle occupied - that everything that this world can offer and that might be placed at our disposal is tawdry, is petty, is insignificant, in comparison with Christ? Is there a key which will open the door for us into what these Philippians had come into? I think there is, and I think you find it in the first chapter, in the first clause of verse twenty-one: "For to me to live is Christ". That is the good news of the all-captivating Christ. When Christ really captivates, everything happens and anything can happen. That is how it was with Paul and with these people. Christ had just captivated them. They had no other though in life than Christ. They may have had their businesses, their trades, their professions, their different walks of life and occupations in the world, but they had one all-dominating thought, concern and interest - Christ. Christ rested, for them, upon everything. There is no other word for it. He just captivated them.

And I see, dear friends, that that -simple as it may sound, explains everything. It explains Paul, it explains this church, it explains these believers, it explains their mutual love. It solved all their problems, cleared up all their difficulties. Oh, this is what we need! If only you and I were like this, if we really after all were captivated by Christ! I cannot convey that to you, but as I have looked at that truth - looked at it, read it, thought about it - I have felt something moved in me, something inexplicable. After all, nine-tenths of all our troubles can be traced to the fact that we have other personal interests influencing us, governing us and controlling us - other aspects of life than Christ. If only it could be true that Christ had captured and captivated and mastered us, and become - yes, I will use the word - an obsession, a glorious obsession! I think this is what the writer of the hymn meant when he wrote: "Jesus, Lover of my soul", and when further on he says: "More than all in Thee I find." When it is like that, we are filled with joy! There are no regrets at having to "give up" things. We are filled with joy, filled with victory. There is no spirit of defeatism at all. It is the joy of a great triumph. It is the triumph of Christ over the life. Yes, it has been, and because it has been, it can be again.

But this needs something more than just a kind of mental appraisement. We can so easily miss the point. We may admire the words, the ideas; we may fall to it as a beautiful presentation; but, oh, we need the captivating to wipe our our selves - our reputations, everything that ONE Who captivates may be the only ONE in view, the only ONE with a reputation, and we at His feet! This is the gospel, the good news - that when Christ really captivates, the kind of thing that is in this letter happens, it really happens. Shall we ask the Lord for that life captivation of His beloved Son?

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 31 - (In His Letter to the Colossians)

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