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Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 43

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

So, we must see it like that and always guard against the peril of reducing Christ and the Church to our own size; that is, the size of our knowledge of it. You and I have yet to learn far more about the Lord and His Church than ever yet we have seen, and the realization of that fact should always save us from littleness. Here, then, is the compass of Great Fullness - this fills all things, and all things are to be filled into it. This House is to affect all things to the uttermost. That is what we come to when we come to the river. The river is the influence, or effect, of this House. It is what goes out from this House to the world, and it is to affect the whole world, so that stored up in this House there are all the potentialities to affect the uttermost bounds of the earth.

Now you will notice that this House,  the whole dimension of the House, is square. It has four sides, and all the sides are equal. I am speaking now about the whole area of the temple; the whole temple area is one great square, four sides which are equal. You remember what we said about the number "four" when we are beginning. We pointed out that the number four is the number of creation. Four embraces the whole creation, and this House represents the new creation in Christ. Paul tells us that Christ is to fill all things and all things are to be filled into Him, or to use another phrase of Paul's, in Ephesians 3:9, "to make all men see what is the stewardship of the mystery."

Do take note of that. "To make all men see what is the stewardship of the mystery." That does not necessarily mean that all men will accept it, or understand it. We must be very careful that we do not confine Church truth, as we call it, to just a few. We must not be those who say: "Now we are the people who have seen the Church, we stand on the ground of the Church, we hold the truth of the Church, we have seen the meaning of the Body of Christ. Many other Christians have  not seen it, they do not stand on that ground; therefore, what  conclusion do we draw? We must be the Church, and they are not!" You see, that is a very artificial conclusion. We have got to be very careful of that danger. There may be a difference in apprehending the truth, there may be a difference of position as to the Church, but the Will of God is "to make all men see what is the stewardship of the mystery." You cannot get outside of  all men because that is the range of God's Will, and we must enlarge our heart and our mind to God's measure. You cannot make Christ too big. You cannot make the Church too big, provided it is God's Church and not man's church. So, here we have the comprehensiveness of Christ.

I said that Paul was overwhelmed with that consciousness. He was constantly crying out over that tremendous overwhelmingness of the greatness of things. He spoke of all "the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His ... ways" - he spoke of "the exceeding riches." Paul was overwhelmed with this greatness of Christ and His Church. What it amounts to is this: that the real apprehension of the Church of Christ will make us big in spirit, and not small. There is nothing that will save us from littleness more than a true apprehension of Christ. If we become little, or if the work becomes little in its mind, it has not really apprehended Christ. So that is the first thing that we see represented here in Ezekiel's vision of the House. How great this House is. It represents the whole of a new creation. In the ages to come, it will fill all things; and all things will be affected by it. That is a glorious vision. We must, therefore, be very big people, big in spirit and big in heart.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 44 - ("The House: The Place of God's Glory")

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