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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Into the Mind of God # 18

Another Vessel (continued)

The next thing that we must come to in the Pattern is what we may call 'the take-over of the Holy Spirit.' That which is born of God is taken over by the Holy Spirit. I do not want to make difficulties for anyone, especially for our young people, but for those who know their Bibles, you will remember that there is always associated with the resurrection of the Lord Jesus the idea of sonship. Now it was when the Lord Jesus came up out of the waters of Jordan that He was attested the Son of God. Be careful! I am not saying that it was then that He became the Son of God - He WAS the Son of God. But on the resurrection side of the Jordan heaven attested Him the Son of God, and the Apostle Paul says: He "was declared to be the Son of God in power ... by the resurrection from the dead" (Romans 1:4). There is a spiritual sense in which that was the new beginning.

Then do you notice what happens immediately after? The Holy Spirit from heaven takes over.

Now the Church went down into the Jordan when Christ was crucified. It certainly did go down into death. But when Christ was raised from the dead the Church began to live again, or, anyway, move toward life. It was like the dry and scattered bones of Ezekiel's vision beginning to move together. Something is happening in those forty days after the resurrection - there is a sound of movement among the dry bones. Then "they were all together in one place" (Acts 2:1) and the Holy Spirit came upon them. Although the Church was an eternal thing, it was born historically on the Day of Pentecost. The eternal had now come into time, and the mark of the birth of the Church was that the Holy Spirit took over. I am very careful when I use that phrase: 'He took over.' The Holy Spirit took everything out of the hands of men into His hands. That is why it is said: "A sound as of a rushing mighty wind" (Acts 2:2), and you know that when you get into the grip of a mighty, rushing wind, things are taken out of your hands and you just have to go where the wind is going. So Jesus said to Nicodemus: "The wind blows where it likes, and you cannot tell the wind where it is to blow.' Some of us heard the wind coming down the mountains last night, and if you had been in the course of that wind it would have been silly for you to say: 'Now, wind, don't blow this way. Blow the other way.' You just have to go the way of the wind and accept that it is the master. "So is every one that is born of the Spirit" (John 3:8).

What did this mean in the case of the Lord Jesus as the Pattern? It meant that all His acts, His words and His ways were governed from heaven. There was a mystery about it. People could not understand why He did what He did and why He did things in the way in which He did them. They certainly could not understand His words. Apparently He was like other men, and that was their problem. As they looked at Him they did not see anything different from the other men around. He was Himself as a man, but He was also someone else, and something else.

Now, when we become mastered by the Holy Spirit we do not lose our personality. We remain ourselves and we can be distinguished among one another because we are all ourselves. And yet we are someone else. There is another who is different from what we are. In a sense, there are two personalities about us. There is what we are naturally, but there is someone else - what we are spiritually. So it was  with Jesus: He was two beings, so to speak. Under the government of the Holy Spirit we are more than ourselves, and that is how it was with the Lord Jesus. When people met Him, they met more than Him, and if we are according to the Pattern that is how it must be with us. How I would like to spend a lot of time on that! May I remind you that Abraham was more than Abraham, Moses was more than Moses and Elijah was more than Elijah. When you met Abraham, Moses or Elijah you met all Israel.

You see, "none of us live to himself, and none dieth to himself" (Romans 14:7). As the Lord's people we represent something very much more than our individual life: we represent all the people of God. We are bound up with the whole life of the Church, and the vessel that God is making is the Church as a whole. It is the whole Church which constitutes the one vessel that God is seeking to form, so that our lives are intended to be a part of a much bigger whole. That truth, of course, involves us in a great responsibility.

Now, if you look into your Bible, you will see that that is exactly what it meant when the Holy Spirit took over. On the one hand, these people, Apostles and others, were just themselves. They were not changed into angels or into disembodied spirits. They were just themselves. Peter is still Peter - and yet they represent something very much more than themselves. They have become greater than themselves, and that is what the Holy Spirit will do for us.

These are just some features of the Pattern. There are very many more, but I must leave it with you  to go and learn Christ.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(The End)

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