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Friday, August 8, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 42

The House of God: The Greatness of Christ and His Church (continued)

Now we come back to the House of God as presented in Ezekiel. Of course, this whole presentation does show how exact and how careful God is. It shows how particular the Lord is about the smallest details. We recognize that is a law of the House. God is most particular about the smallest things. Every little thing has its own measurement - it is a measurement which is given to it by God. We are not allowed to make that smaller or larger, it must exactly express the Mind of the Lord. As we have said, there is a tremendous mas of detail here, but every part of it represents God's particular concern to have things according to His Mind. We recognize that, but we must at the same time recognize that it is not a system that is presented. In this vision of the House, God was not presenting a system. He was not presenting an organization. He was presenting a Person. This is the Person of His Son. This is a spiritual House, not a system of truth, and the supreme characteristic of this House has to do with life.

Let us look at that from both sides. Life will demand exactness in behavior, Life will demand exactness in order; but we can have the order without the Life. It is possible for the system, or the technique, to destroy the Life. It does not necessarily follow that because you have things according to the Bible in technique that you have them according to the Bible in Life. It is possible to resolve Christianity into a legal system, just as much as Judea. The law of this House is Holiness of Life. We therefore have to come to view this temple in Ezekiel in an objective way. That is how Ezekiel first saw it. You will see that there were two views of this temple given to Ezekiel. First of all, he saw it as a whole, as from a distance; he was given to view it from the very "high mountain." He saw it comprehensively in that way. He saw its broad outline, he saw its boundaries and its inclusiveness. And then the Spirit took him in, and he saw it from the inside. He was shown all the details from the inside It is important that we see it in that way.

The first thing that we see from this heavenly standpoint s the great size of this House of God. The whole area of the House was revealed to Ezekiel, and it is, as we saw earlier, a very great thing. We must be very careful not to make Christ, or His Church, smaller than it really is. We must not make Christ smaller than God has made Him. We may not make Him just our Christ, our little Christ, the Christ that belongs to us, careful that we do not make Christ smaller than what God has made Him, and we may not make the Church smaller than God has made it. This is not our little Church, it is not anybody's little Church. This is much bigger than our thoughts: it goes much beyond our imaginations. This is a very Great Christ and a very great Church.

Here again we must guard against a peril; that is, the ever-present peril of reducing the size of Christ and the Church, reducing the Church to the measure in which we have seen it. The measure of the Church is not our measure of understanding it; the measure of the Church is not our measure of comprehending it. Th prayer of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians concerning the Church was that they should have an enlargement of comprehension. He prayed that the Church might know "what is the breadth, and the length, and the height, and the depth." This is knowledge which surpasses all human knowledge. If there was one thing about the Apostle Paul more than another, it was just this thing: he was always overwhelmed with the Greatness of Christ, and the greatness of the Church.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 43)

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