Google+ Followers

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Great Transition From One Humanity To Another # 8

The Great Transition From One Humanity To Another # 8

The Tragedy of The Carry-Over of The Other Humanity

Well, now having said that, we are going further with this this morning. I want to take you over to that part of the New Testament which focuses this whole issue more than any other part; which brings into view on the one side, the exposure of the one kind of humanity and on the other side, the Other Humanity which the Christ is. I have often been asked the question, for example in Romans 7: "Is that the history of a "born again" man or an unborn again man?" I have had the question asked me since I have been here, and I have proposed to postpone the answer until now.

"The first man is of the earth, earthy ..." and so on. Is that an unconverted man, a man before he is born again, or is that a born again man? That is a born again man, make no mistake about it. Paul is writing to born again people in Corinth. He opens his letter with an address to the saints which are in Christ Jesus - saints by standing through faith in Christ Jesus, and all that is in those letters is addressed to Christians; but it is a horrible exposure of something about Christians. I confess to you I have more than once in my life in reading that First Letter to the Corinthians asked myself: "Were these men, these people, really born again? Can we classify them as Christians?" Yes, the address is "to the saints by standing through faith that are in Corinth."

The tragedy in Corinth was the tragedy of the carry-over of relics and remnants of the other humanity. There is something here in the New Humanity, but there has been a carry-over of the old in the Christian life; the result: confusion - confusion in judgment, confusion in behavior, confusion in relationships. And if you think that word is not justified, I want to remind you that they wrote to the Apostle Paul on one occasion asking him ten elementary questions about the Christian life, about what Christianity is. They were in confusion about the elementary things of Christianity.

I am not going to stay this week with all those questions, but there they are. There is confusion, terrible complications in Corinth. There is weakness - weakness in life, in a living testimony. There is shame, reproach. The apostle has to say some very strong and some very hard things to Christians because of a carry-over of the old humanity into a relationship with the New without the clean cut. Is that why the apostle, after his introduction in the First Letter says, "I made up my mind, I determined, I resolved, to know nothing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." Oh, we are going to meet "Christ crucified" repeatedly through these two letters, at critical points in their spiritual life. "Christ crucified," Paul says, "that is the foundation on which we are going to build, you Corinthians, you who have carried-over some of the old humanity into the realm of the New and find that the two thing will not go together - immediately there is confusion and defeat."

Well, here we are in these letters to the Corinthians, and these more than any other letters in the New Testament represent the battleground of the two humanities. Right there at the beginning of the First Letter as a heading, this is carried right through. The battleground of the two humanities - that is with the Corinthians.

May I mark one thing before I go further. Paul came to this situation to deal with it, in Corinth,and said in doing so: "In coming to you, I made a definite, positive, conclusive resolve to know nothing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." What did he do when he said that? What does that mean? "I am not coming to you people who are philosophically minded and are so interested in philosophy, I am not coming to you with a new philosophy, I am not coming to you with a new religion, I am not coming to you with a new system of teaching. I am not coming to you with a new order and form and technique. I am coming with everything gathered up and focused in a Person, in a Man."

You see the force of that? It is forceful In essence, Paul said, "No, I am not interested in any of these other things that you may be interested in. For me it is this Man, Christ Jesus, this different kind of Man and this Man Who is crucified to all the other kind of man: crucified to this world, crucified to old humanity, crucified to all these things that you think so much of, that are so important to you, crucified to the whole realm."

It is a Man, and a Man only, a kind of a Man, that is the point of this letter; all is focused, gathered into a Man. Now from that point onward, the whole thing develops. There is on the other side that man that they have tried to bring over and are still nursing here at Corinth, and there is on the other side this Other Man. You read  right on and find: "If any man be in Christ, there is a New Creation, the old things have passed away; and behold all have become new." The great divide is at the Cross. Well, this is Corinth, and the old and New Humanity is the real battleground; and what a battleground it is.

If you are thinking objectively and historically, stop,stop at once, come over your two thousand years, bridge that gap, get away from geographical Corinth or historical Corinth, and come right here. We belong to that same humanity by nature; but by grace, we belong to Another Humanity. And this is where Christendom is all in confusion today and in defeat, so that we read in papers, Christianity has had its day, it is not counting, it really does not matter, it is no impact upon world conditions and situations, and so on. That is the conclusion of this natural man because of what he sees in Christendom.

We have to agree to a very large extent, even though we do know something else. Nevertheless, Christendom has got into that terrible plight today for this very reason - it does not understand the cleavage which the Cross of Jesus Christ has made between the two humanities. It does not understand that there is no bridge tolerated by God between these two. The Cross has cut right in between these two humanities, and as I was saying, it may not all happen once, but through a lifetime, the Holy Spirit will be teaching us, if we are teachable, if we are sensitive, if we are walking in the Spirit, the Holy Spirit will be teaching us: "That is you, that is not Christ. That is you, that is your way of talking, that is your way of thinking, that is your way of going about, that is just you, that is not Christ."

Oh, it would take a long time; but, oh, it would be so profitable to study this Other Man as He walked in this world and see the principles which governed His life, which were all heavenly and all spiritual and made Him absolutely incalculable in this world.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 9 - The Dividing)

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Great Transition From One Humanity To Another # 7

The Great Transition From One Humanity To Another # 7

Wanting To Have

We hurry on and come nearer, nearer to the center of the circle, we come to Judas Iscariot. You cannot use that word, that name now, can you, without a frown, almost a sneer. "Judas" - when you want to say the worst thing that you can say about anybody, you say "he is a Judas." It started somewhere in a very simple way, it started in a day when either the Lord Himself (Who knew what He was doing, mark you) or the other disciples, said to Judas: "Look here, people will give us gifts to help us along, we have to have somebody to look after the gifts. Judas, you, you have the bag."

A simple beginning, but what happened? Being in that position drew out something that was deep down in that humanity. Perhaps not even Judas knew it, but this drew it out. You know the end. A man who again goes beyond the point of return and recognizes at last that he has been betraying the Lord. Everything was put in his way of glory, the heavenly order; and there is nothing else to do but to take his own life.

What has been exposed? What is it in this humanity that is down there in the root of things and comes up and up if only given an opportunity? I heard Dr. Campbell Morgan once say in preaching that we are capable of anything if only we have the opportunity for it. That is searching. What is come out? Covetousness, that is all. Wanting to have; and my friends, while you shrink from the name Judas, be careful, this is in us all, even in the work of the Lord. Covetousness to be recognized, to be given opportunities of service, wanting for ourselves even in the things of God. As disciples, the root may be there - this wanting to have, to make ourselves something. Covetousness, which the Word says is idolatry. The Cross will discover what is in us, it will bring it out - Well, that is Judas.

A Man Who Did Not Know Himself

Now let us come nearer still, perhaps to the innermost circle. Simon Peter. Simon Peter is a man who did not know himself and who thought so differently about himself from what was true: "I will never forsake Thee, I will go with Thee even unto death. Though all men forsake Thee, yet will I not. I will not," - "I will "I."  Where did that begin? You have heard this before. Blinded by this ego, this self-hood, oh, Simon Peter, you do not know yourself, but the Cross is going to uncover you,find you out, and expose you and devastate you. You will go out in despair of yourself and shed many tears. The Lord will have to send someone searching for you with a special message: "Go to My disciples and to Peter ... I know what is happening there, I know where he is and what is happening."

Poor, poor Simon Peter. What was happening? Well, the Lord told Simon Peter what would happen, and Simon Peter did not understand it until afterwards. "Simon, Simon, satan has desired to have thee, that he may sift thee as wheat" - strip off that false covering of self-hood that covers. Really, Peter, what is there, you do not know ... sift you as wheat.

Simon Peter found that the Cross is a very searching and a very devastating thing to any kind of self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-interest, or anything of self. It is going to simply desolate that kind of humanity.

Man Without Anything Left

Now I take just one other instance after He, Jesus, is crucified, after that part of the drama is completed. Two of them, two of His disciples, went on that day to Emmaus, a village. You know the story in Luke 24. As they talked sadly, this stranger drew near to them (their eyes were holden that they should not recognize Him) and He said: "What manner of conversation is this that you have as you walk, sad?" They replied: "Are you only a visitor to our city, have you only just arrived, have you not known what has been happening in the last few days?" Then the Lord inquired: "What things?" He is drawing them out - "What things?" They said: "The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth. He was a Prophet mighty in Word and in deed. We hoped that it had been He that should redeem Israel, but our rulers crucified Him." In other words, they said, "Our hope is all gone, all our expectation is destroyed. We are men without anything left."

Then this stranger took the Old Testament (I do not think He had it in His hand, they knew it, they had it in their heads) and He started at the beginning and worked His way all through the Scriptures. And as He opened to them the Scriptures, their mouths opened, their eyes opened, and when they arrived ... you know the end, they sat down to a meal. He took the bread, the loaf, and blessed it. Eyes were opened, they knew Him, and then He disappeared from their sight.

What has been disclosed? What has been exposed? This - you can have your head absolutely full of the Scriptures and know them up there, and they will never save you in the day of crisis. The very thing that is written by God for our salvation does not save us when the Cross is planted right at the heart of our lives; it is a crisis in which we collapse. That is a terrible thing. You can know all the Scriptures, and yet when it comes to the test of some tremendous experience, some devastating experience, all that we have read and heard and thought we knew is no good to us.

Of course, there is a lot more in this story than that, but this is my point - what a disclosure of the human heart. What an exposure of this other man, how he can be a disciple, how he can go about with the Lord for years, how he can know all that the Lord has said, and seen what the Lord has done and how he can have the teaching in his head and then when it comes to the real test of the man, he cannot stand up to it, he collapses. We had hoped (with our Bible in our hands) we had hoped, and they are in despair.

Another Humanity Altogether

The devastation of that one humanity under every kind of test is essential to the Other Humanity which Christ is. How different He is - Another Humanity altogether, Another kind of Man in Whom there is nothing of this at all, nothing of this. The apostle once said to the believers: "You have not so learned Christ"; in other words, "If you had learned Christ, you would not be doing that, you would not be like that."

Now let us get hold of the issue before we go further. What is it? Oh, it may not all come at once - it could not, this devastation; it is spread over a whole lifetime, but it has a beginning, mark you, a beginning; and this is the course of a truly spiritual life. You will mark spiritual progress and spiritual growth and spiritual maturity by this one thing: how little the individual thinks of themselves, how little they are in the picture, their own picture and other people's picture of themselves. Or shall I put it the other way: how much of Christ do you meet in them and not themselves? That is the test - how much the Cross has devastated them in their own natural life. It is the essential and inevitable way to spiritual fullness, to Christ, and the fullness of Christ, which is something altogether different from what we are.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 8 - The Tragedy of The Carry-Over of the Other Humanity

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Great Transition From One Humanity To Another # 6

The Great Transition From One Humanity To Another # 6

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 kind 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.

The Heart Which Says No To God

But now we come actually up to the time of the Cross, the hours before the crucifixion, and the hour itself; and you have gathered around that Cross a representation of every aspect of the human race. From the inner circle to the wider circle, they are all there; and the focal point is the Cross of Jesus Christ. And what is that Cross bringing to light? Let us take a few cases and instances of this. We will begin with the highest representation of the highest religious system and order that history has known.

Caiaphas, the high priest of Israel, in whom the race is officially centered and gathered up - he is representative of the nation. You read the story put together from these accounts where Caiaphas is the chief actor on the stage of this drama. No words of mine or of man can describe, really, that man with this Other Man in his presence. I think the only description, the only words that approach the description of this man were long before prophesied by Isaiah. You remember? You are so familiar with them in Isaiah, chapter six, when the prophet has made his response to the Lord's appeal, "Who will go for Us? ..." said Isaiah, "Here am I. Send me!" What did the Lord say to him?... and He said (the Lord said): "Go, and tell this people, "Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn again, and be healed." That sounds terrible. "Lest ...lest... lest they turn again." Make it impossible for them to do so, take away their ability to go back upon their course. Is not that terrible?

But what are you dealing with - you are dealing with a hardness of heart which has been hardened and hardened and hardened again against the Word, against the prophets, against all the revelation that God has given, a hardening, a hardening until they have gone beyond the point of no return and God has said: "You have so hardened your heart and said so positively 'No' to My Ways, that it is beyond now remedying." That is Caiaphas and Israel at the Cross; the heart which says "No" to God.

What a heart, what an exposure, what a revelation of human capacity in the Presence of the Highest Privilege. Yes, it is coming out now, what has gone on. It had perhaps a very simple beginning, but it grew and grew - there was no turning back when it was possible - until it reached the point when God said: "Take away their capacity for hearing and seeing." The judgment of the hard heart of man, even under all those appeals and pleadings and sobs and tears of God, comes out at the Cross - what the Cross reveals about what is possible in our hearts!

You say: "That is Caiaphas, that is not me." Oh, you do not know the human heart if you say that. You do not know the human heart if you have never had any rebellion in your heart, if you have never had the capacity for saying "No" to the Lord and had to have a battle over it. It is there: it is not Caiaphas, it is Adam: this is Adam following through by coming to development.

What An Opportunity This Man Had

In the high place of religion you come from Caiaphas and move over to Pilate. Pontius Pilate! What an opportunity this man had. Oh, what has history said about Pilate? We do not think of Pilate without some feeling of disgust. Pilate, who had the opportunity of humanity in his hands, and what is do doing? Well, you say, he is vacillating, he is moving from one foot to the other; he may at times seem to rocking, but all that speaks of weakness - inability to come right down one hundred percent on one foot and make his full and final decision, trying to pass it over to someone else to make the decision, trying to shed the responsibility ... but why? Why? - he represents a time server ... "If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar's friend." That is it! - Caesar's ability to further my worldly interest: "If I take this line, then all my worldly interests are in jeopardy; my prosperity in business, my good standing with the authorities, those who have it in their power to further my interest." He is a time server, and Pilate goes down in history as the man who handed Jesus over to be crucified from his own inability to make a decision in His favor. "Take Him, you take Him; I have said, I find no fault with Him, but you take Him and crucify Him." The weakness of what? - the awful tragedy of a divided heart, the main feature and factor in which is: "how this is going to effect me and my interest." That finds us out all the way along.

You see, that was the battle that Jesus Himself fought in the wilderness with the devil. The devil was saying how it would effect You if You go the way that You have decided to go, how it would effect You: "You want the kingdoms of this world, You take the line of compromise." - That was Pilate ... what an exposure of what is in man.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 7 - Wanting To Have)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Great Transition From One Humanity to Another # 5

The Great Transition From One Humanity To Another # 5

Practical Devastation Of Our Old Humanity

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 Sam. 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 O 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 through any other voice that may speak ... that we may hear inwardly the voice of the Lord, ... that we may go down before Thee and receive whatever instructions or commissions Thou wouldest 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 may 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. 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, 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 change over, 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. I am having this difficulty." 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.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 6 - God's Kind of Man: This Other Man)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Great Transition From One Humanity To Another # 4

The Great Transition From One Humanity To Another # 4

"Christ", continued -

And as you get on toward the end of that letter to the Hebrews, you have another of these transitory phrases: "You are not come unto a mount, a palpable mount, that burned with fire ... but ye are come ..." - how vast is this movement from that old economy to the bringing in of the New Economy. There is one thing only in your New Testament, introduced by Christ in the Gospels and followed out by the apostles; and in this letter to the Hebrews, the solid object of the whole letter is the transition from one economy to Another. Oh, read it again and glory in it. Read that letter again to the Hebrews. Glory in this: "My, what a thing we have been brought into." Tabernacle? Yes, says the writer, there was a tabernacle on this earth, and for the time being ... until the time. That is all gone, he says, and now we have come into the True Tabernacle not made with hands, which God has made, a Heavenly Tabernacle. See how wonderful the transition is! - the passing over from one economy to Another.

I must pause to ask, is this where Christendom has gone astray?

Is it still holding on to the old economy?
Is it still in the grave clothes?
Is it still that old Mosaic economy with its forms and ways?
Is it not emancipated into the Heavenlies?!

That is what the Lord wants to do with us here.

From one nation to Another: Abraham to Christ, Moses to Christ. From one sovereignty to Another: we know how full the New Testament is of David and His Greater Son - full of it. But it shows the transition from one earthly sovereignty to Another Heavenly Sovereignty in Jesus Christ.

And so we could go on marking aspects of the transition. And if you want a key to the Gospel by John, remember John wrote the whole of that gospel on one thought only. The key to the whole of that gospel is this transition from one to Christ. He has taken over. That is why the many "I Am's." You notice those "I Am's" have a reflection upon the old. I am not the vine, "I Am the True Vine." Israel was a vine, but He has taken over as the True Vine. Israel was a false vine - did not bring forth the fruit.

Now, I am not going to start with John's gospel, but I give you the key. When you move from the introduction of this Other Humanity in the Person of Christ in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, (and this is the key to them all) and come through the desolation of the Cross, you come into Acts, and what are you in? Oh, this marvelous emancipation - transition, transition - in the Book of the Acts. What desolation was made in that whole system because through the desolation of the Cross, there is the emergence into this Other side - this New Humanity. Watch how the Lord is working on this old humanity to wind it up, progressively now bringing it to where He has put it.

The Climax Of The Full Knowledge of Christ

You know, friends, God always works backward towards something. Well, in the creation, He was working backward. Read it again. Why have we in the New Testament so many words which begin with the little prefix "re," regeneration, reconciliation; all have that little prefix "re," for He is working back.

Things have gone away, gone wrong, got out of God's way, and God is returning to where they went wrong. God usually does that with us. And so what is God's beginning? - It is His Son before the foundation of the world. Right back in the Eternal counsels His Son was made the beginning, God's starting place. Men have all gone astray, because of history, "all of us like sheep have gone astray."

God gets back to His beginning, His Son.
Christendom has gone astray, and the only
way of saving Christendom is to get back to
God's beginning, a true and right apprehension
of His Son.

I do not want to just go on with material. There is an application of this to us. I am convinced, I know it is true, that what the Lord is doing with so many of us is stripping us, stripping us of the things which we have taken on or we have gotten into; He is stripping them off and bringing us down to the place where it is the Lord Jesus or it is nothing! If the Lord Jesus fails, there is nothing to live for, and some of us have come to the place where we have said to the Lord, "Lord, if You are not going to come in and fill this place, please take us away: there is nothing more to live for." Is that exaggeration?

I believe the Lord is doing that with many of His people today, taking away their ministry, taking away the fellowships on which they rested so much, taking away the things, even the Christian things - their work, their preaching. When you start preaching there becomes a fascination about preaching; you get over that as you get older ... you say, "Lord, don't let me preach unless You're going to do the preaching." The Lord is doing that sort of thing, just stripping us, stripping us of things, even Christian things; and He is going to fill the place Himself.

Now is not that the real climax revealed?! Put it into these words of the Apostle Paul, "Till we all attain unto ..." what? Oh, what a pity our translators have not given us an exact translation! They have said, "until we all attain to ... the knowledge of the Son of God." NO! it is "to the full knowledge of the Son of God ... to the measure of the knowledge of Christ, the full knowledge of Christ, is our attainment. And what is it? - a kind of a Man which is the reproduction of, if I may put it this way, Jesus Christ the Man. And so we are coming more and more to this - that it is only the Lord: it is Christ.

I Am Christ's, Let the Name Suffice.
Oh, if only we have got a large enough
apprehension of Him!

Well, now I am going to break off here, and if the Lord wills, continue from that point getting nearer to this tomorrow morning. With all this greatness of setting, of background, in which we are if we are in Christ, does not that very phrase open up to this conception of God's purpose that in Christ there is Another Humanity?!

This is what the Lord is doing with you, with me, making something different; oh, it to too slow, I know, for us. We do not seem to be making much progress that way, but He is undoing and He is adding.

But, what do we know? But, what do I know? Oh, I feel worse than ever I did in my life in myself. If it were not for Christ, I would not be here today. No, I would have gone out; I would not be here through all the stresses, all the strains, all the experiences, all the devastations, all those times when down in the dust I have simply said, "Lord, You have a made a mistake, You've made a mistake, I am Your great mistake! You ought never to have brought me into this position." It always seems like that in our experiences; but here we are. We have survived, and more than survived; we are here. And we believe we are here by the power of God in Jesus Christ. That we do know, and so we can say, "It is Christ, it is Christ, and it is a mighty Christ in our history."

Well, this is enough for this morning. See what He is doing?! May He show us that He has marvelous thoughts for what He has conceived - Humanity as His crown and His goal. Shall we pray...

Lord, we do beseech Thee, we entreat Thee, to open the eyes of our understanding. Do not let this be so much more talking, teaching - certainly not an end in itself. But Lord, bow us in Thy presence. We know that the real discovery of whether we are in with Thee at this time will not just be in our attending the meetings; it will be in the prayer that is behind, outside of the meetings, in our rooms, in our hearts. Lead us, we pray Thee. Deep exercise about this matter of what Thou art working toward, and why Thou art dealing with us as Thou art. So help us, by Thy grace, in the Name of the Lord Jesus, Amen

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 5 - Practical Devastation Of Our Old Humanity

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Great Transition From One Humanity To Another # 3

The Great Transition From One Humanity To Another # 3

Humanity Is God's End, continued

When we get under the hand of God, we are going through it. What are you expecting this week? When you go away from here, you will meet friends and they will say, "Have you had a happy time?" I think I told you before of a conference I was at once. At the end, testimonies were asked for from the ministers as to what the conference had meant to them; one and another got up and said, "Oh, I have had a wonderful time; I have had a glorious time; this has been the best time of my life, ..." and so on. And then one man got up, his eyes were red, his face was strained; he said, "I do not understand this; I have had an awful time. This week has meant devastation to me. Everything that I held as important is gone. I am left with a necessity for a new Christ, a bigger Christ than ever I have known." What are you expecting this week? Well, I hope you have a good time! But your "good time," dear friends, in the light of eternity may be a very bad time. When it comes to seeing the real fruit, it may come out of  a devastation.

What is God doing? - He is devastating one kind of humanity. We are going to see that as we go on from day to day. He is doing it. I do not know what your experience is, but I know it is mine. I know it is the experience of many of the most used and blessed servants of God - that they are going through a terrible time. Spiritually they have come to the place, where if the Lord, the Lord does not really stand by  and take over and see them through, it is an end even of their long spiritual experience. All the past will not stand unless the Lord comes in in a new way. Is not that true with many? Yes, that is what He is doing. He is working on this very ground of the two humanities - one being that which we are by nature; and the Other, that which we are in Christ.

So, what we are occupied with at this time is first of all, to behold the Man, TO BEHOLD THE MAN. And I would pray, and do pray, that when this week is finished, we shall be able to truly express our hearts in those wonderful words of a poet known to many of you. These are some lines from that wonderful poem:

"Christ"

I am Christ's, and let that Name suffice me.
Aye, and for me He greatly hath sufficed.
Yea, through life, through death, through sorrow, and through suffering,
He shall suffice me, for He hath sufficed.
Christ is the end, for Christ was the beginning.
Christ the beginning, for the end is Christ.

Those words express what we would all like to be the issue of this time - Christ. 

A New Captivation of Christ.

A New, Wonderful Appreciation of Christ.

A New Seeing Of the Significance of Christ In God's Universe

Now for these remaining few minutes of the introduction, I want to just pinpoint this one thing. Have you recognized, (perhaps you have without putting it in these words) have you recognized that the very heart and pivot of our Bible is an immense transition? The heart of the Bible is where the Old Testament ends and the New Testament begins, for here are two halves of human history, of humanity. Right there, at that point we come on this great immense transition. The New Testament is wholly taken up with the meaning and the nature, the fact of this transition, this movement from one thing to Another in humanity.

You will recall so much in your New Testament when I just mention these things. First of all it is a transition from one man to Another, from Adam to Christ. We read that in 1 Corinthians 15: "the first man," He called  'him? ..." No, He called "them" man (Gen. 5:2). That is racial; that is humanity. He called them. That is very simple - the first man, Adam. It is the same thing, "Adam" and "man," as you noticed in the margin of Genesis 5. "He called them "man." And the New Testament wholly bears upon this transition from one humanity to Another, from one racial head and inclusive person to Another. It is a New Humanity, going beyond transition then, which is a racial one, from Adam to Christ, from the first man to the last Man.

Secondly, there is a transition from one nation to Another. I  know there is room for a lot of controversy there about Israel; nevertheless, the New Testament and Christ Himself came down on this quite emphatically: "The kingdom of God shall be taken away from you (that is, Israel), and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." Heavenly Fruit, not earthly. Transition from one nation to Another.

And Peter, oh, Peter! I am amazed at Peter, are you not?! That erstwhile Judaistic traditionalist who had a battle with the Lord over Gentiles in Caesarea, going to the house of Cornelius and even saying in a contradiction of terms to the Lord, "Not so, Lord." You cannot put those words together - "Lord" and "Not so." The other man, Paul, you remember when he met Christ, said: "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" But Peter has not got out of his tradition quite yet; and even at Antioch - dissimulation. When James and the elders came down from Jerusalem, Peter withdrew himself from eating with the Gentiles. He has still got a little bit of grave clothes left on him, but marvel of marvels, when you come to his letters he is out. "Ye are the elect race." Who? - The saints scattered throughout Pontius, Galatia, Cappadocia, and Bithynia. An elect race. He is out of the one nation, now into the Other. The transition has been consummated in this man. But it was a battle. Always a battle over this old association with the natural man. We are going to see much more of that.

Then it is a transition from one economy to the Other. Your letter to the Hebrews is one solid argument for this transition. I am so impressed with the constant recurrence in the New Testament of one phrase which leads out with linking words: the phrase is "Not, But." John began that, did he not? Christ said to the woman of Samaria: "Not in this mountain, nor at Jerusalem, but in spirit." (John 4:21, 24). "Not, nor, but" - and you find that occurring again and again.

And here you come to this great transition from one economy to Another, the old economy taking in the great ministry of angels: that is a subject for a morning in itself. The ministry of angels in the old economy. The law was given through angels. Angels came again and again to Gideon, to Daniel. The archangels, marvelous ministry of angels - but the Letter to the Hebrews opens up, "Not unto angels ... but" - "Not, But" - what a change! And the following argument is that this New Economy infinitely transcends the ministry of angels.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 4)

Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Great Transition From One Humanity to Another # 2

The Great Transition From One Humanity to Another # 2

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 this morning 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 can 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 infinitudes of our Christian calling, we would go away an emancipated people. And in that setting then, let us begin.

Humanity Is God's End

This morning we have read many passages in the Bible, and I would have liked to have added many more of the same kind, but these are enough as a starting point. Do you recognize what they are all about? From Genesis, the beginning, right through the Scriptures, it is one thing: man. No, it is two men, and what we are going to be occupied with is this double humanity, or two humanities, for they are the subject matter of the whole Bible. The Bible is the story of God and man, and everything is gathered into that; nothing is in the Bible but what relates to that.

Of course, the Bible begins with God: "In the beginning God..." First we have the fat of God. This is where you start, and you are not far along before you come upon man. Human history begins with God, God a a fact - God initiating everything, taking the initiative; God at work - God's mind working out in action, in what He does. Remember that is a Bible principle. If you want to know the mind of God, you will come to know it by what God does and not always by what He says to do. More often, God's mind is revealed by how He deals with you than by what He says in words in your ear.

God is speaking in His actions, speaking very loudly in His works. God's mind is being revealed in His actions; God is at work, at work preparing everything for man. When He has made that preparation and brought man in, God says: "There is nothing more to do; at this stage, We can rest." And God is at rest when He has man introduced into his prepared place and scene.

That man Adam, the New Testament tells us, is a figure of Him that was to come, in Whom God will ultimately find His full rest. Man constituted; the man conditioned; the man environed; the man probationed. All God's interests are centered in humanity; not in things, as such. No thing is an end with God. Man is God's end. Humanity is God's end.

With this thought, we are right back there in the very center of the interests of God, humanity. But that man Adam disappointed God, failed Him, and was rejected by God. And at that point, God reacted, reacted with the intimation of Another One. Another Man, a Representative Man, Whom God had foreordained before the foundation of the world. This Man is foreordained and then forecast, foreshadowed; and that line of the reaction of God toward the Man, against this other man, runs all the way through like a red line through the Old Testament. In figures, in type, in prophecy, in the spiritual history of an elect line, all moving on toward that Other Man, that Other Humanity, the different Humanity, until we reach the New Testament.

The New Testament is the crisis of humanity. Have you thought of Christianity like that? Or have you thought of Christianity only in its parts, its fragments,such as the Atonement for a man's sin, man's personal salvation, man's securing of eternal hope and glory. There are all parts of salvation, and we have made so much of them. Well, you cannot make too much of the parts, of course, until you reach the point where the parts become less than the whole; and, dear friends, we have got to readjust our conception and idea of Christianity at this point to see that with the coming of the Lord Jesus, a crisis in the whole history of humanity is reached. It is the crisis of the final word of rejection of a humanity, a kind of man, and the introduction of an entirely different kind of Humanity with the Person of Jesus Christ. When you grasp that, your whole Bible is going to come alive; it will come alive.

What have we come into? What is regeneration? You call it conversion, being "born again," or you call it regeneration. What is it that we have come into? - It is generation into Another Humanity altogether different as a member of a different race of creatures, a different species of Humanity. With the New Testament, this immense crisis in human history is introduced, a crisis of humanity. Another Humanity is introduced with our New Testament, the full and final type of Humanity that God is going to have; and, the tremendous thing is, all that belongs to the perfection of man is found in this Representative One. That is introduced with our New Testament.

Jesus stands in a unique relation to the human race, and do you not see how rays of light focus upon this great fact? What is it that God is doing? - with you, with me, as a bit of this humanity. What is He doing? What is He after? What is the explanation of our experience under the hand of God?

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 3)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Great Transition From One Humanity to Another # 1

The Great Transition From One Humanity To Another # 1

This book contains a series of messages given at a conference in July, 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 this book 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.
________________________

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 that 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 morning 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."

Now come over to the New Testament in the First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter fifteen, verses 45-49.

"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 earthly, such are they also that are earthly: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne 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 doing, 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 art mindful of him? Or the son of Man, that Thou visitest Him?"

As I have said, in this morning 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 are 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" (Josh. 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 proportions, in perspective.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 2)