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Sunday, August 12, 2012

God's Spiritual House # 5

Assurance As to God's Rest and Satisfaction in Christ

Ephesians 1:5-6, 12; Ephesians 2:10; John 17:5

We are at this time being directed to take account of God's spiritual house, and in our previous meditation we were thinking of the first and preeminent feature of this spiritual house, in which we, in Christ, are living stones, as being the proclamation or setting forth of the exaltation of God's Son. We noticed that everything, so far as God's house is concerned, takes its rise from that exaltation. What happened on the day of Pentecost was the spontaneous outflow of that  exaltation of God's Son to the right hand of the Majesty on high; and the secret of life, of power, of victory, in those first days of the Church's life and history was this very fact. Its life flowed out from this; its testimony was this, that Jesus as God's Son was exalted to the throne on high. You know that was the testimony of Peter on the day of Pentecost. You know that was the note of Stephen. You know the Apostles continually testified to that great fact, that Go had made Him Lord and Christ, that He was exalted. I repeat, everything came out of that, and it resolves itself into the great element of assurance, something which is always very necessary; and never was there a tie when it was more necessary than now.

The Assault Upon Assurance

In our previous meditation, we referred to the fact that the great spiritual enemy has pursued his ambition for world dominion along the line of the propagation of a lie, his great "fifth column" propaganda, and he has made great headway by the campaign of lies to the undermining of assurance and confidence.

There is another thing which he has done and is doing in a spiritual way, which is so clearly seen at present working out along temporal lines, and is indeed the confessed and published strategy of those who are now being driven and used and governed by satan toward world domination by the elimination of Christ. They have put it on record that their strategy is to work secretly within the national life of their enemies steadily through the years, with a view to bringing about internal disintegration by the breakdown of confidence; and how they have done it and are doing it! I do not want to dwell on the earthly, temporal and political side of things, but it does disclose the principles of satanic activity, this working subtly and secretly behind the scenes with the life of their enemies with a view to destroying confidence, and so bringing about collapse from the inside. Indeed, the phrase which in in print in that connection is, 'We will make our enemies defeat themselves!' Well, they have done it in many countries!

Now, take it as a clue to what is happening spiritually. Oh, how satan has pursued that course right through history, to destroy confidence; for confidence is a tremendous factor. You see how nations seek to bolster up and stimulate assurance within their own borders in order to secure strength against their enemies. What will they not do to reassure people, to put confidence into people? satan knows that an assured people set him the biggest problem and represent the most impossible situation for him. Now, if you look at those first days of the Church's life, one outstanding feature was this assurance. They were men without questions, people without doubts. They could speak with authority because their hearts were settled; they were not divided inwardly. There were none of the seeds of internal disintegration. The basis of that assurance and settled position was just this, that the Holy Spirit had come and in them had mightily registered the fact that Jesus was on the throne. "Jesus ... by the right hand of God exalted." They had no question about that, and therefore all doubts were set at rest. The exaltation of the Lord Jesus, when it becomes something settled in our own hearts, is a mighty factor in testimony, in life, in service, and unless we have it we are altogether at a discount.

Now, in days such as these in which we are living, the strategy of the enemy is to undermine assurance. I am not speaking about worldly things now, but spiritual assurance. The House of God is therefore built by this means, the assurance that Jesus Christ is exalted, and you cannot build without it. In the case of David and Solomon, we noted how the bringing in of that house for the Lord God which was to be exceedingly magnificent, all sprang from the fact that God had secured both His king and the throne for His king. God made a covenant with David. God took an oath with David that of the fruit of his loins should one sit upon his throne, and his throne should be established for ever. Now, that is transferred, as you know, to the Lord Jesus. It only had a merely figurative and very imperfect fulfillment in Solomon. Solomon came to a shameful end, but in the days of his glory he was a figure of another. Thus in the Book of the Acts we have those words quoted from the Psalm:

The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet (Acts 2:24-35)

The Apostle uses those words in connection with this other word to David: "David ... being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins he would set one upon his throne; he foreseeing this spake of ... the Christ," spake of this One; and God has fulfilled His word, noting a shadow, not in a type, but right up to the hilt in this greater Son of David.  David's greater Son is on the throne of thrones, and out of God's securing His King in glory and exaltation, the history of the Church begins, and the supreme note by which the Church is built is the note of absolute assurance which comes from what God has secured in glory in His Son.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 6 - "God's Rest in His Son")

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