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Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Great Transition From One Humanity To Another # 15

The Great Transition From One Humanity To Another # 15

The All-Governing And Dominating Vision: The Seeing of Jesus Our Lord

Lord, we have to appeal to Thee again for Thy compassion. What a pathetic thing it would be if we tried to do heavenly work with earthly means; Divine work in our own human strength. And that is just where we are now. We need Thy sympathy, Thy compassion, for our speaking and our hearing will really profit us nothing, we will have no eternal value. O Lord, help us with Thy Divine help at this time that we may speak under the anointing and with the unction of the Holy Spirit; and also in the same way hear. Anoint our ears, anoint our ears, and give us a hearing that is not just our natural hearing that we may this morning by the power of the Holy Spirit hear the voice of the Son of God and live. Grant us this mercy for Thine Own Name and Glory's sake, Amen

We have been occupied in these morning hours with the great transition from an old discredited humanity as in Adam to a New accredited Humanity in Christ. Our first attention was with the exposure and the devastation of that discredited humanity as we saw it representatively gathered around the Cross of the Lord Jesus in Caiaphas, Pilate, Judas Iscariot, Peter, and the two on the Emmaus Road. Then we saw what a devastation the Cross was or an exposure of the old humanity at its highest, at its best; and there could have been nothing worse when we were finished. Then we went on to the battleground of the two humanities as we have it in the two letters to the Corinthians: on the one side, "the natural man" which is the old humanity; on the other side, "the spiritual man," the New.

We stood and did little more than look into those letters in a general way, pinpointing a few things in the letters whee the carry-over of the old to the New is shown, the conflict being between the natural man and the spiritual man or that which is natural and that which is spiritual, the natural touching so many things of the Spirit, even the most sacred things. The things of the Spirit touched by the hand of the natural man and taken up and used for the natural man's gratification and glory. That is what is in the First Letter to the Corinthians.

There is much more detail, with which we are not going to deal; we have only touched it in order to indicate something. I trust that you have seen the indication of how dangerous it is an with what tragic consequences the touch of the natural man on spiritual things can be. We brought out that most terrible warning, the warning to Christians as in Corinth: to "born again" people called "saints," separated unto God, came that terrible warning where Israel's tragedy in the wilderness is taken as the ground of the warning. They perished in the wilderness, and the apostle uses that to warn the Corinthians that the battle can be lost in the wilderness if there is any compromise between the natural and spiritual. If you are still in Egypt, while being geographically so to speak out of Egypt but Egypt not being spiritually out of you, then you are positionally where the Corinthians were.

Now, that is all the negative side, however we came yesterday morning to point out that the answer the apostle gave concerning the whole compass of things in the First Letter, the answer he gave to the ten questions raised by the Corinthians in a letter to him, was not in a code of rules and laws like the Mosaic, but in principles. And all the principles gathered into one principle which amounted to this: how much of Christ is in this? How much of Christ is in your divisions? "Is Christ divided?"

Paul, pinpointing the whole question of division, said: "Is Christ divided? Were you baptized into Paul?" Christ is the principle of solving that problem of divisions and all the other matters which I am not going to reiterate now. The answer he gave to the solving of these difficulties is focusing on Christ. The answer he gave them was how much does this minister Christ? How much does this represent of Christ? Everything is tested from that standpoint, judged and settled. Paul said these things are answered by principles and the principle is Christ.

"Have I Not Seen Jesus Our Lord?"

Now having come past that, with all there is left in the letters, we come onto the positive side. I want you just to look at one or two fragments from the First Letter to the Corinthians. It is only a fragment found in chapter nine at verse one: "Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?" It is that clause that I want you to take hold of and hold for a moment - "Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?"

And now over to Second Corinthians, chapter four, verse four: "In whom the god of this age hath blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the image of God, should not dawn upon them." And in verse six: "Seeing it is God, that said, Light shall shine out of darkness, Who shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."

"Have I Not Seen Jesus Our Lord?"

"God has shined into our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."

Again I would like to add another fragment, this time from the Letter to the Galatians, chapter one, verse fifteen. It is in a rather large section, but I would like to lift out just a fragment, "But when it was the good pleasure of God to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the nations:" - It was the good pleasure of God to reveal His Son in me.

"Have I not Seen Jesus Our Lord?"

Of course, the immediate context of those words is the apostle authenticating his apostleship and answering those who said that he was not an authentic apostle because he was not one of the twelve. That is connected with that charge, but it has a very much larger and more comprehensive context than that, as you see from these other verses and many more like them. His answer to them: "Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?" "It pleased God to reveal His Son in me." God, the same God Who said in the beginning, "Let light be, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ"; which means, in the Person of Jesus Christ.

The Seeing Of Jesus Our Lord

What we are going to be occupied with this morning is this all-governing, all-dominating vision of Jesus Christ. This brings in four of the greatest matters with which we can have to do. The seeing of Jesus - how comprehensive and revolutionary it is! These four things are major things. Firstly; The place and destiny of man in the economy of God. That comes in with a seeing of Jesus our Lord.

I am glad the apostle added that last clause, "our Lord," and I would like to point out that in the New Testament, the name "Jesus" by itself is only used when it relates to His pre-resurrection life. If the name "Jesus" is used alone, you will find that the context is of His pre-resurrection life. However, after the resurrection, the apostles never called Him "Jesus" alone, they always linked on our Lord, our Lord Jesus, the Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ our Lord. Let us note "Jesus", yes; but "our Lord" and His Lordship came into view after His resurrection and ascension. Right there on the Damascus Road, "and he said, 'Who art Thou Lord?" - "I am Jesus." He knew it was Jesus. "Lord, (not Jesus, what will You have me to do" but) Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" The very beginning of the revolution of a transition from knowing after the flesh to knowing after the Spirit. All that is parenthetical. Let us go on.

The four magnitudes which come in with a true Spiritual seeing of Jesus are:

The Place and Destiny of man in the Economy of God; 
The Nature and Dynamic of Ministry in this Dispensation;
The Nature and Purpose of the Church now and in the After Ages;
The Immense Significance in that Three-fold Context of Jesus Christ Crucified, Risen, and Exalted.

These are four very big things, and they are all comprehended by "Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?" - "It pleased God to reveal His Son in me"; and when He revealed His Son in me, this is what I began to see. That is what the apostle is saying: "This is what I began to see." He does not tabulate these things like that, but I have just taken these four magnitudes as the context and substance of the New Testament.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 16)


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