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Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 33

The Messenger Must Be the Embodiment of His Message (continued)

"Son of man" (continued)

So, the principle of manhood is taken up for the people of God, and that is where Ezekiel comes in. It is not the person, but the function; it is the principle, so that "Son of man" speaks of two things. It means bringing into view God's original thought and pattern. That was a principle that the Lord was wanting to have realized in Israel. Israel is a man in God's eyes, but in this book of Ezekiel Israel is not the man that God intended. In this book of Israel is a man which has been marred, and God is moving along the principle of manhood to recover that idea in Israel. Later we shall find that He was unable to do it in Israel as a whole, and He therefore sought to realize it in the remnant. However, the Old Testament closes with this idea as a complete failure in Israel.

When we move into the New Testament, we find ourselves in the presence of the one new man, that is, the corporate man which is the Church. But we are not going on to that this morning, we are just with the principle. In principle, "Son of man" means speaking in relation to an original thought and pattern of God. You have got to recognize that as the key to the whole of these prophecies. What is it all about? What does this whole book mean in all its parts? Well, this title "Son of man" is scattered right over the whole book, and it means that the governing thought of God is this conception of man according to God's mind. If God sends this collective man into captivity, it means that man cannot stand before Him any longer. God must have another kind of man. The great illustration of that, of course, is the valley of dry bones - bringing up out of the grave of Babylon a new man with a new heart, and a new spirit.

Now I think that is enough to indicate the meaning of this title. God is moving for the recovery of His original thought. That thought has been lost. This is what Paul meant in speaking to Timothy as the "man of God." His appeal to Timothy was, "O man of God"; that is, God's man - that is what God is after.

We must take this up as to our ministry, and that brings us to this: What are we here for? What is the meaning of our ministry and our work? It is that God may have his corporate man according to His Own Mind. That is the meaning of Ephesians, chapter four:

"Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ."

God is working towards this corporate man. We must remember that God's idea is man. I would emphasize that because so many seem to think that God's idea is some organization, some institution, some thing that is called the Church, a way of doing things, a certain teaching - a whole system - and God is not after that. God is not after the Church just as the Church. The expression of Christ! The Church is the Body of Christ. It is not a system of teaching. It is not a special form of practice. It is a Man, and it is Christ in corporate expression! We shall come to that later in this book of Ezekiel, but w take up this principle. It is a very important thing for us to recognize the corporate Man!

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 34)

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