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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Cross and the Eternal Glory # 21

The Urgency and the Way of Spiritual Reality 

Read Ephesians 3:14-21

And, then, a few short sections from other Epistles. Beginning in Romans 8:28, just the last sentence of that verse: "Them that are called according to His purpose."

And verse thirty: "Whom H foreordained, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified."

1 Corinthians 1:9: "God is faithful, through Whom ye were called into the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord."

Galatians 5:13: "For ye, brethren, were called unto liberty or for freedom."

And then finally: 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 14. "But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, for that God chose you from the beginning unto salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: whereunto He called you through our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Our chief passage is that passage in Ephesians, which begins with these words, "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father." The apostle has a reason for being very concerned; he is very urgent and very earnest about a matter, he is right down on his knees before God over it. And the matter which is concerning him is a matter, which whether we realize it or not, also concerns us very seriously. I am going to call it the urgency and the way of spiritual reality. And you notice we insert the word and the way, because if something with God is of great importance, of great account, He always provides the way to it. You know the Word of God is always the Word of His grace. He does not just say, 'Now, go and do it.' Rather does He say, having shown us what He wants, 'I will do it.' Yes, there is not only an urgency for reality, but there is a way to it.

I think we all who are here today want things to be real. I do not think we would spend an afternoon sitting here unless we felt there was something of great importance bound up with it. We want things to be real. And I think we know that in the world today nothing but reality carries any weight. It is a very critical world and in some ways it thinks itself a very enlightened world, and it watches. And so many people today look at Christians, look at us, and perhaps they turn away. Perhaps they have to turn away a little disappointed, they say, 'No, I do not think that is it.' We want that to be reversed so that in our simplest and least way, whatever else it is, it is real. As Paul puts it in 2 Corinthians 4:2, "...Commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God." Whether people like us or not, whether that this is it, this is real. And God is working with us to reduce everything to the thing itself, not to the ideal, but to the actuality.

And so what is this great burden? This great urge in the heart of the Lord's servant? Well, it is just this: that the Supreme Reality which he has recognized and seen as existing, that Reality should be transmuted into a people who accept it. Because the revelation, that is to say, the unveiling, the eye opening that Paul has had, is to see the Reality behind everything! The Greatest Reality, the Supreme Reality, is Christ Himself. Remember how He said, even in the days of the flesh, "I am the Truth." You cannot get beyond Me. "I am the Reality." And, dear friends, there is something unreal, there is something temperate, something flimsy, about everything that is NOT Christ. So, when everything else  passes away, He Abides. The only bit of reality about us is the bit of Christ that is in us.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 22)

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