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Monday, August 25, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 59

"The Lord Is There" (continued)

Now you must study that with your New Testament in your hands. When Jesus went to His baptism, He said to John the Baptist: "Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." His baptism was, as we know, a type of His Cross. Therefore, His baptism and the Cross represent the fulfillment of all righteousness - that is, through judgment the death of one man and the putting of a New Man beyond the reach of judgment. That is where we are by faith in Jesus Christ. That is where the Church is. In the beginning of the Letter to the Ephesians, the Church is seated together with Him in the heavenlies. The Church is seen as on the other side of judgment because it has been raised together with Him. For the Church, all judgment is fulfilled. That is the first thing that makes way for glory in the Church. All judgment fulfilled, and that makes the way for God to commit Himself.

Now to another aspect of God committing Himself: it is where Christ is glorified. God will commit Himself where Christ is glorified. Here is a law of God. If Go is to give Himself by His Spirit, then Jesus must be Glorified. When the glorifying of the Lord Jesus is our only object, then the Father will come in by the Spirit.

Then there is this third aspect. God will commit Himself where Jesus is enthroned in government. Where His Man is on the Throne and is Himself Governing, then God will commit Himself. Where all the authority committed to His Son is recognized and accepted, there God will commit Himself.

And then there is a fourth thing. God commits Himself where things are "according to Christ," where things take their measure from Christ. You see, these things are in this book of Ezekiel. We have been just looking at the House. We have not studied it in any detail, but what we do know about the House is that it was measured by the Man of brass. Where things take their measure from Christ, there God will commit Himself.

And then just one more thing: God will commit Himself where the Cross governs. We saw how the altar governed everything within and without the House. So where the Cross governs, God will commit Himself. The Lord Jesus is the great example of all this. God committed Himself to His Son. The Word says that God did not give His Spirit by measure to Jesus; that is, He gave His Spirit fully without any reserve to Him. When the meaning of the Cross has been laid down and established, then God commits Himself. That is God's ground.

You notice how Jesus measured everything according to heaven. We have so often pointed this out. Jesus would never be governed by the mind of man. He would never do anything, say anything, or go anywhere at the advice of man. He was all the time pushing away from Him the suggestions of men and women. He did that with regard to satan. He did it with regard to everything. He pushed back everything that would come from man. He would only take His way and His words and His works from the Father. He measured everything according to Heaven. His was the closest walk with heaven. For every detail in His life, He took the government of heaven. Therefore, the Father committed Himself to the Son of Man.

And then we have His perfecting. He said: "I must work today and tomorrow, and the third day I must be perfected." We are told that He was made perfect through sufferings. Of course, we understand that this was not moral perfecting, for He was already perfect. It was not the making perfect of His nature, it was bringing Him to fullness, the fullness of the Will of God. He was walking every day in the Will of God. He said: "Lo, I come to do Thy will." But the Will of God was making ever greater demands upon Him until, at last, the Will of God requires that He should drink the cup, that He should go through Gethsemane to the Cross. He was being made perfect or complete as to the Will of God, God gave Him that fullness for the Church. "God gave unto Him the Name which is above every name." God committed the fullness of Himself to Him. I think that is all quite clear. Jesus is the great Example!

Now we bring this study to a close. We do so by noting three necessities for the end of God to be fully and finally reached. The Church must have three things. First of all, it must have  a clear apprehension of God's purpose. It is absolutely necessary that the Church sees what God's purpose is. That is why Paul prayed that great prayer for "a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him," that the Church might have "the eyes to (its) heart enlightened." It is absolutely necessary that we have a clear apprehension of God's purpose, that purpose being that the Church should be the fullness of Him that filleth all in all, that God should have a full place in the Church. That is the first necessity - that we should see that, and that we should be governed by that vision. So it is a matter of spiritual vision or spiritual understanding, a revelation of God's purpose concerning the Church. This is why we read those scriptures at the beginning that the Church should be "a habitation of God through the Spirit," that God should be resident there and that it should be said, "The Lord is there," a dwelling of God. Unto that, we must see what God's purpose is.

The second thing is a clear apprehension of God's Way to His End, which is a clear apprehension of His House, a House suitable to Himself. That is an absolute necessity for God's End. And, thirdly, it is essential that the Church has a clear apprehension of the Cross. These three things are essential to the end that God shall be there!

Further, there are two aspects of those three things: there is the present progressive and the future perfect. Just at this present, this is not all fully true, and yet, what is in the Letter to the Ephesians has a present application. At present, this is only progressively true. That means that the Lord is more or less present as these things are true. Where there is a clear apprehension of His purpose, where there is  a clear apprehension of His House, where there is a clear apprehension of the Cross, there you will find the Lord! At the present, these things determine the measure in which the Lord is present, but the time is coming when these things will be complete, when He shall come to be Glorified in His saints. Then He will be manifested in His Church in fullness. And so you notice that at the end of Ezekiel, it is the city that is mentioned: "The Lord is there." The city represents the vessel in and through which God is present in government.

Well, we have given a broad outline. We have tried to make these lines as clear as possible, but comprehended in this outline there is a tremendous amount; and as I pass it over to you, I do say to you, "Go away and pray over it, do not just take it as some Bible study. Everything must have spiritual and practical value. So I say, brethren, pray over it, think over it, and ask the  Lord to make it all true where you are.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(The End)

(Next: "The Watchword of the Son of Man)

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