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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

God's Supreme Interest in Man # 15

Now these are the things that characterized true manhood. Things set against all evil that works in the direction of death to counter it, to destroy the enemy's plots and purposes to bring death among the people of God. It is a hazardous business; so much so that Haman got his eye on Mordecai to destroy him. But here is the interesting thing, and this is so close to what we are saying, it says that "Haman was afraid to engulf Mordecai." If he can destroy the corporate man he will destroy the Man Who is at the heart of things. By destroying the Lord's people, what a blow is struck at the Lord Himself. The corporate man involves The Man. But here is the point: "the man Mordecai waxed greater and greater," the man, that is the phrase, "the man," manhood is doing this. And so we could go on. It is all very interesting, but it is also instructive. You come to The Man and look at Him, He is meek, above all men, even meeker than Moses. Yet in His meekness, He is active in two directions: for life against death.

Now, you see, these are statements that can be taken objectively as belonging to something else, but let us bring them right home to ourselves. What is the effect of my Christian life? Is it, on the one hand, a studied, considered and determined registration against all those things that would produce spiritual death? And is it like Isaac, something committed to bringing out the life which the enemy has tried to smother in the wells? This tests our real Christianity, and the effect of our spiritual man. Meekness, yes, but all working against the work of the Philistines, the enemy out to rob the Lord's people of the means of life, and working quietly, prayerfully, diligently against the works of the devil to engulf the Lord Jesus in a bad testimony among His own people.

You see, the Book of Esther leaps into that one inclusive issue. The ninth chapter of Esther is a wonderful chapter. The Jews were delivered: "When it came to the king's attention, he commanded by letter that His (Haman's) wicked scheme which he had devised against the Jews, should return on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows" (verse 25).

THE FEAST OF PURIM WAS SET UP FOREVER: "The Jews ordained, and took upon them, and upon their seed all such as joined themselves with them, so as it should not fail, that they would keep these two days according to their appointed time every year; and that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed" (verses 27, 28)

THE ENEMY'S WORK WAS OVERTHROWN: "As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor" (verse 22). And it says, "They had a good day." The Lord's people had a good day over against the evil day that the enemy had plotted. But it was a kind of manhood that brought that about. You see, through this kind of man, the Lord needs His man, not only as in His Son: the Greater Mordecai, but in the people who are according to or after the manhood of the Greater Mordecai.

May I underline something that I have said: that the whole of the people of God embody the testimony of The One Man; and He stands, He stands as representing the Body. And what happens in His Body affects Him tremendously. Well, anything that speaks of death and disruption is set against the Lord Jesus, and we must take that to heart, and let us ask the Lord to put us on the line of Isaac. Isaac is not made a great deal of in the Bible characters. Abraham, yes, Jacob, yes, and we will put Isaac in between, we will sandwich him somewhere, but we will not say very much about him; but Isaac, the man brought back from the death, the man who is the embodiment of resurrection, and who proves it by undoing the works of the enemy and opening up the fountains of life for the people of God, and providing bread for them. The Lord make us like that, a people really on positive lines. And, Lord, also like Mordecai, who are alive to the activities of the enemy, and who work against them for the sake of the Lord's people.

Now I want to close by bringing this where it ought to be brought: this great, this wonderful conclusion of the Apostle to the whole: "Where Christ is ALL, and in ALL." I wonder, dear friends, what you covet and pray for more than anything else. For my own part, my coveting, my praying is for more than anything else, a fresh and mighty captivation of the Lord Jesus, a captivation of Christ. Oh, it is quite true, and we know it, that He is our life, He is our Saviour, He is so much to us and we are right when we say that we could not live without Him, and yet, is there not some margin between that and what I am calling an absolute captivation with Christ? Such a captivation with Christ that He is a passion in our lives, that He is a dominating power in our lives; that He has just so captured us, so utterly captured us, that not only is He our life in the sense of we could not get on without Him, but that He is a passion for living. This man Paul who wrote these words, "Christ is ALL," look at him in this way. Oh, somehow he had seen Christ at the beginning of his life; and through his long years of fellowship he had seen more and more of Christ. Paul, with all his adversities - cataloged in 2 Corinthians - with all those terrible sufferings and afflictions and sorrows and disappointments that had come upon him through those years with Christ, and right at the end, with him in prison, he says: "Christ is more than anything - Christ is that to him. Christ will be ALL, and in ALL." Now I say, language fails me, I cannot put into words what I mean, but oh,for the positiveness of this passion of Christ!

I do not know if you have read F. W. H. Meyer's great poem, "St. Paul." It is very largely an imaginative thing as all poetry is of course, but there is a fragment, a line or two, in that great poem, depicting the life of the Apostle. And he in an imaginary way, finds Paul meeting a pagan woman in all her misery, possibly one of these temple women, like the woman in Philippi, the demon possessed woman of the temple. And Meyer's pictures such a woman in her misery, in her frustration, in her hopelessness and in all her sin, degradation, she is before him, when Meyer in telling of all this about her, puts into Paul's mouth these words: "then I preached Christ." And brothers, if you saw it, he said, "Never had my Master been so wonderful to me until I saw what He could do for a woman like that." How she leapt out of her misery, her wretchedness, her frustration, all the horrors of her life, into new hope. He said, "I saw my Master in a greater way than ever I had seen before."

Now I say, that may be poetic imaginary, but there is an essence of truth in it. What Meyer's is trying to say through that wonderful poem is: "Oh, the captivating power of Jesus Christ in the life of that man Paul, the mastery of Christ." Oh, dear friends, to desire that it should be like that with us also: "Christ, seeking out Christ, making the most of Christ, increasing Christ, all Christ." "FOR ME TO LIVE IS CHRIST!"

You may think that is true of you, but how we fail, how we really fail. How little after all has Christ gripped us? And if this is true where "Christ is ALL, and in ALL" that is the End, that is how it is going to be. How vastly great Christ must be, if He is going to give character to the whole humanity composed of a vast multitude, which no man can number, ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands. Well, if Christ has given character to that, to that in a universe of redeemed humanity, how great He must be: in character, in work, in power. Oh, how great He must be!

I leave it with you, but this is the kind of knowledge unto which we must be renewed. Such a seeing, a grasping, an apprehending and being mastered by the Greatness of the One to Whom, by the grace of God, we have been united by being called into the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ. May it be more than a mental grasping of Christ that we know He is Great. May be believe His Greatness, because we have experienced something of His Greatness in our lives. May our hearts even more than our minds be mastered by This Man Jesus Christ. And may we be His abject slaves in worship and adoration. HE IS SO GREAT!

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(the end)

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