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Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 41

The House of God: The Greatness of Christ and His Church

We return to that which was revealed to the Prophet Ezekiel; and I am sure that as you ave read these six chapters (Eze. 40-46), you have found very great difficulty in getting a clear picture of the whole. I have tried many times to draw a plan of this house with all its details and its correct measurements. Up to the present time, I have not succeeded. That is not because it is impossible. I expect that there are some architects here who might succeed, but I have come up against the Lord in this matter, or the Lord has come up against me. I have gotten my paper on my board, and I have gotten all my instruments, then again and again I have started on this plan, and I have not found that I could get very far. It was as though I was trying to do something that the Lord did not want me to do. I wonder if you have had that experience, if you have tried to do something, but you have just had no life in it at all. The thing becomes dead; and if you are spiritually sensitive, you just have to say, "Well, the Lord is not in this." And that has been my consciousness every time I have tried to reduce this thing to a plan on paper. This the point at which I begin, because I believe that contains a very important principle.

As we read these chapters, we find ourselves in the presence of a great mass of detail. It is very difficult to cope with all the details. If we were to try to deal with that in these sessions, we should find that we had undertaken an impossible task. For one thing, we would have to be here for quite a long time; and for another thing, we might begin to lose our sense of life in it. My point is this: it would be very easy for us to fall into the very mistake that we must most carefully avoid, and that is to resolve spiritual things into a technical system, to be taken up with the technique of the House of God. That is a very great peril! And I do want to emphasize that.

Here this great mass of material and detail is altogether beyond our power to handle. If we were to resolve this into merely a technical system, we could easily destroy the life! I therefore urge you brethren to be very careful on this matter, be very careful not to reduce the House of God to a technique. Immediately if it is resolved into a system, then it is in danger of losing its life. That is the very thing that has happened again and again in the history of the Church. Before you get to the end of the Book of Acts, you find that that thing is happening! The whole present system of Christianity was beginning; and, as you know, Paul wrote his last letters to Timothy to restore the spiritual nature of things. He sought to show that the offices of the church are not just offices; that is, elders are not officials, they are spiritual men.

The House of God is not a system - it is a spiritual House. In Timothy's day, men had already begun to make spiritual things into an earthly system, and that has happened many times during the past centuries. God has done something of a spiritual character. He has given a fresh revelation of the spiritual nature of things, and for a time things went on in that spiritual life, and then men took hold of it and reduced it to a fixed system. They brought it out of the heavenlies onto the earth; and, in doing that, they killed its spiritual life. That is the  history of so many things in Christianity on the earth today. Many of them did begin in real spiritual life - they were in spiritual power - and out from them went a river of life. But then man took hold of them and organized them into a  system and introduced a technical element into things; and, in doing that, they killed the life. I do urge upon you to be alive to that peril, and to guard very carefully against it, especially those of you who have responsibility in leadership.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 42)

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