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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

God's Reactions to Man's Defections # 23

The Altar, The House, the Name (continued)

The Incorruptibility of the Blood

The next related factor in the Blood as the Life is its incorruptibility and indestructibility. These elements go together and are one. What is incorruptible is indestructible. This is a life over which death has no power. Death has been met in the power of this life. hades has been entered and plundered in the power of this life. satan and his entire kingdom have had their might exhausted by the power of this life. He Who was and is this Life, now lives for evermore, as the Testimony to the universal triumph of His own Blood over every force that has stood in the way of God's end.

By this imperishable life He has perfected salvation. Nothing of old was ever perfect, because the mediators constantly changed by death; death breaking in all the time meant no completeness. But this High Priest perfects for ever, because He lives after the power of an endless, "indissoluble", life. Therefore He is able to save to the uttermost, i.e., the ultimate and final end (Hebrews 7:16, 23-25).

By this imperishable life He has bound His own to Himself. They share this life by new birth, and they will never die. Death is not cessation of being; it is something spiritual. Life triumphant over death is spiritual, and means ascendancy over sin, self, satan, death. In other words, it is power and victory.

By this indestructible life the Lord Jesus has inaugurated a ministry and a work which will persist to its ultimate consummation, in spite of every force of earth and hell which may be hurled against it. Mighty empires and powerful hierarchies have been brought to ruin in setting themselves against that which He said He would build. "The gates [counsels] of hades" have not prevailed, intensely as they have striven.

It is a blessed thing to be in and a part of that work which shall abide for ever. For a man's work to go to pieces when he is withdrawn is no compliment to him. It only means that it was man's work, not God's. Like kingdoms, men rise and wane. Are we seeking to make a name for ourselves? This is very short-sighted, at best. The testimony to which God is reacting relates to a work which stands and persists when every destructive force has spent itself. This testimony, and such a work, are in virtue of the Blood of the Lord Jesus.

There are all kinds of alarms today because of rapid and drastic changes. Historic creeds are being treated as mere scraps of paper, and that by leading ecclesiastical representatives. Institutions and traditions are rapidly losing their hold and influence. Organized Christianity is markedly on the wane. The maintenance of the religious system is demanding all the resource, acumen, wit, ingenuity and even cunning of men. There never were so many "attractions", schemes, popularizing methods, etc., to keep up the "church" (?). Even in fairly evangelical quarters the appeals for help are so numerous that it is becoming - as someone has said - a matter of not being able to afford to go to church.

All this and much more speaks of failure and defeat, but the Lord will have that in the earth which is His triumph. To "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3) is something more than to contend for orthodoxy of doctrine; to champion an evangelical creed; to be a  "fundamentalist". It is to recognize and fervently seek to secure for God that upon which His own heart is set: namely, a people of the Altar, the Cross, the Blood. A people who have been crucified with Christ in spiritual reality and apprehension, and whose life is an abiding testimony to Calvary's victory over all Christ's foes, within and without, and from whom there flows to the ends of the earth the stream of Divine, holy, mighty, energizing and indestructible life.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 24 - (The Testimony of the Blood continued)

Overcome By the Blood of the Lamb

But they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. (Rev 12:11)
When James and John came to Christ with their mother, asking Him to give them the best place in the kingdom, He did not refuse their request, but told them it would be given to them if they could do His work, drink His cup, and be baptized with His baptism.
Do we want the competition? The greatest things are always hedged about by the hardest things, and we, too, shall find mountains and forests and chariots of iron. Hardship is the price of coronation. Triumphal arches are not woven out of rose blossoms and silken cords, but of hard blows and bloody scars. The very hardships that you are enduring in your life today are given by the Master for the explicit purpose of enabling you to win your crown.
Do not wait for some ideal situation, some romantic difficulty, some far-away emergency; but rise to meet the actual conditions which the Providence of God has placed around you today. Your crown of glory lies embedded in the very heart of these things—those hardships and trials that are pressing you this very hour, week and month of your life. The hardest things are not those that the world knows of. Down in your secret soul unseen and unknown by any but Jesus, there is a little trial that you would not dare to mention that is harder for you to bear than martyrdom.
There, beloved, lies your crown. God help you to overcome, and sometime wear it.

“It matters not how the battle goes,
The day how long;
Faint not! Fight on!
Tomorrow comes the song.”

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, regarding the affliction that happened to us in the province of Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of living. (2 Cor 1:8)
But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me. (2 Cor 12:9)

God allowed the crisis to close around Jacob on the night when he bowed at Peniel in supplication, to bring him to the place where he could take hold of God as he never would have done; and from that narrow pass of peril, Jacob became enlarged in his faith and knowledge of God, and in the power of a new and victorious life.
God had to compel David, by a long and painful discipline of years, to learn the almighty power and faithfulness of his God, and grow up into the established principles of faith and godliness, which were indispensable for his glorious career as the king of Israel.
Nothing but the extremities in which Paul was constantly placed could ever have taught him, and taught the Church through him, the full meaning of the great promise he so learned to claim, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”
And nothing but our trials and perils would ever have led some of us to know Him as we do, to trust Him as we have, and to draw from Him the measures of grace which our very extremities made indispensable.
Difficulties and obstacles are God’s challenges to faith. When hindrances confront us in the path of duty, we are to recognize them as vessels for faith to fill with the fullness and all-sufficiency of Jesus; and as we go forward, simply and fully trusting Him, we may be tested, we may have to wait and let patience have her perfect work; but we shall surely find at last the stone rolled away, and the Lord waiting to render unto us double for our time of testing.
—A. B. Simpson

~L. B. Cowman~

Monday, December 29, 2014

God's Reactions to Man's Defections # 22

The Altar, the House, the Name (continued)

The Holiness of the Blood 

We are familiar with the injunctions concerning the spotlessness of the offerings of old - "without spot, or blemish". There was a sense in which the priests were expert fault-finders! Their business was to find fault if they could. The discovery of a blemish in a proffered sacrifice meant its immediate rejection. Their eyes were as the eyes of God in this matter. A beast was passed only after the most scrupulous investigation when the formula "It is perfect" was pronounced over it.

Such, likewise, then, was the blood, and this is the testimony of the holiness of the life of the Lord Jesus, and consequently of the nature of  that Divine deposit within the born-anew child of God. We are not perfect or spotless, but the life from His in us is, and by its vital activity through faith and obedience we are to be conformed to His image, and are assured that one day we shall be like Him. Blessed be God, we have the earnest of perfection. This precious Blood does cleanse.

This leads us at this point to say a brief word on -

The Shedding and Sprinkling of the Blood

If we are not mistaken, the shedding relates to the whole question of sin, guilt, death, judgment; and by the shedding there is remission, and the whole ground of salvation is secured.

The sprinkling is that by which we are brought into living vocational fellowship with God. The Tabernacle and priesthood of old represented, not only Israel's salvation, but Israel's priestly ministry in the nations. They were meant to be "a kingdom of priests", and God's ministering instrument among and to all nations.

Hence there was a special significance given to the sprinkling of the blood. Although the Tabernacle was perfect as a structure; although the "pattern" was carried out to the last detail; although the priesthood was complete in number and adornment: nothing and no one could function until every part - altar, laver, table, curtains, candlestick, golden altar, mercy-seat, vessels, instruments, ear, thumb, toe, etc. - had been sprinkled with the blood. It was regarded as a higher function to catch the blood for sprinkling even than to slay the sacrifice and thus shed the blood.

Nothing lives in the service and ministry of God, save in virtue of sprinkled blood. Oh that men would see this today! The most perfect structure, the most complete outfit, the most ornate edifice, the most extensive organization, the most fastidious order, and the most devout purpose will all fail to function in the eternal interests of God, apart from the virtue of the precious Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit - the Fire of God - is indispensable to spiritual life and energy, and He only comes where that Blood has been sprinkled. The Blood and the Spirit are one, and always go together - one as the preparation, the other as the attestation. Calvary precedes Pentecost. The Cross is the way to the glorifying. To be crucified with Christ is to have put away that "flesh" upon which the Holy Oil may not come. God is never going to quicken and vitalize what He has for ever put away; neither will He glorify and use in His service that which is of man.

Whatever the means and methods or necessities which come in their course, the one all-inclusive object of the Divine reactions is to have that in the earth which is wholly and undividedly of God.  To this end it is essential that the Cross be wrought so deeply into the experience of the Lord's servants that they shall come to utter despair as to themselves and all else, and send up a full heart-cry for the fullness of the Holy Spirit. To such a crisis the Lord will work by all manner of means, slowly breaking down all other ground of confidence, and writing "failure" on all other resource.

The testimony of the Blood, the Cross, then, is the testimony of that which is uniquely, wholly sacredly of God in absolute holiness.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 23 - (The Incorruptibility of the Blood)

The Noble Army of Modern Missionaries

I tell you the solemn truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces much grain. 

Go to the old burying ground of Northampton, Mass., and look upon the early grave of David Brainerd, beside that of the fair Jerusha Edwards, whom he loved but did not live to wed.
What hopes, what expectations for Christ’s cause went down to the grave with the wasted form of that young missionary of whose work nothing now remained but the dear memory, and a few score of swarthy Indian converts! But that majestic old Puritan saint, Jonathan Edwards, who had hoped to call him his son, gathered up the memorials of his life in a little book, and the little book took wings and flew beyond the sea, and alighted on the table of a Cambridge student, Henry Martyn.

Poor Martyn! Why should he throw himself away, with all his scholarship, his genius, his opportunities! What had he accomplished when he turned homeward from “India’s coral strand,” broken in health, and dragged himself northward as far as that dreary khan at Tocat by the Black Sea, where he crouched under the piled-up saddles, to cool his burning fever against the earth, and there died alone?

To what purpose was this waste? Out of that early grave of Brainerd, and the lonely grave of Martyn far away by the splashing of the Euxine Sea, has sprung the noble army of modern missionaries.
—Leonard Woolsey Bacon

“Is there some desert, or some boundless sea,
Where Thou, great God of angels, wilt send me? 
Some oak for me to rend, Some sod for me to break, 
Some handful of Thy corn to take 
And scatter far afield, 
Till it in turn shall yield 
Its hundredfold 
Of grains of gold 
To feed the happy children of my God?
“Show me the desert, Father, or the sea; 
Is it Thine enterprise? Great God, send me! 
And though this body lies where ocean rolls, 
Father, count me among all faithful souls.”

~L. B. Cowman~

Sunday, December 28, 2014

God's Reactions to Man's Defections # 21

The Altar, the House, the Name (continued)

The Altar and the Blood (continued)

This is God's new work in reaction. We have not gathered in every instance, but only enough to indicate, and perhaps establish a recognition of, the principle. We leave the matter of the altar there for the time being, while we consider the essential element in the altar, which is the Blood.

The testimony of the altar is the testimony of the Blood. As we approach this sacred thing, may we urge our readers to give it the most careful heed? Here we touch the heart of everything. There has been nothing so assailed as the testimony of the Blood: by ridicule, by a sneer, by intellectual superiority, from one direction; by an ignorant and false refinement which pretends to be shocked, from another; by a merely rationalistic and philosophical interpretation, which sees no more than a crude system of ritual and rite by which a universal religious instinct expresses itself - a form and idea which belongs to times of immaturity and unenlightenment - from yet a third; these and many other modes of assault from its opponents. Then from its would-be friends it suffers in numerous ways, ranging from the ritualistic and sacerdotal debasement, which has names and forms without life and power, to the other swing of the pendulum, marked by a superficial, cheap, frivolous, noisy, jazz-chorus singing about the most holy and sacred thing - "The precious Blood."

There is nothing in the universe more bitterly hated and more terribly feared by the adversary than the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ! But if it is to be a mighty operative factor in life and service, faith must have as intelligent a basis concerning it as possible; and we are especially concerned with the vocation of the people of God here! Let us then see what the Blood stands for.

The Meaning of the Blood

There are two aspects of this whole matter of the Blood. One (concerning which we have already said something) is that a death has taken place, and in that death one whole kind of humanity has, in the mind of God, been set aside. This relates to "him Who knew no sin ... made ... sin on our behalf" ("in our stead") (2 Corinthians 5:21).

The other, about which we shall now speak more particularly, is that which sets forth the inherently incorruptible life of God's Son made flesh. If all that is said about the Blood relates only to death, then its sacredness cannot be understood, but becomes a supreme problem. We have dealt with this aspect in the book entitled "The Centrality and Universality of the Cross", but we will point out the essential elements here:

Firstly, let us note the sacredness of life as in the blood. We are now familiar with the scriptural teaching that "the life ... is in the blood" (Lev. 17:11), and "the blood is the life". There is a tremendous emphasis in Scripture upon the sacredness of blood. Indeed the word "soul" is often used interchangeably with both "blood" and "life", and all the characteristics and values of the soul are associated in the same way with the "blood" and the "life". But the blood as the life is related in a peculiar way to God as representing His specific prerogatives. Thus the whole matter is gathered up in a reservation and a provision as laid down in Leviticus and in John's gospel.

In Leviticus the Lord repeatedly stresses that blood is not to be drunk. This rule would be broken under a penalty of death (Lev. 7:26-27; 17:10-12). The law concerning blood and its sacredness was carried so far that if a man went hunting and killed a quarry, he was to pour out the blood on the ground and cover it over with dust (Lev. 17:13). He was not to leave the blood exposed, but honor it, show it the same reverence, as he would the body of a fallen man.

Now does it not strike you with a great force of significance that, when we have repeatedly read: "Ye shall eat no manner of blood ... Whosoever eateth any blood ... shall be cut off", then we turn and read in John 6:53: "Except ye drink the blood of the Son of Man, ye have no life"? Surely the very first thing which this implies is that the whole question of life has been shut up by God to the Person and Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the life of the Person, and gives to the  Person a uniqueness and distinctiveness which no other in history has ever had. Then it gives to the Cross of the Lord Jesus a unique and supreme meaning and value, in that it was there that He shed His Blood and poured forth His life; releasing that life to be received by all who believed on the Person and accepted the meaning of His Cross.

The spiritually blind Jewish religious leaders of John 6 would naturally be very scandalized at His words about drinking blood, and would revert to the tradition of the Letter of Leviticus. This would be because on the one hand they did not realize the meaning of that reservation, and on the other hand they did not recognize Who Jesus was. To recognize the Lord Jesus is to be lifted above law into life.

The thought of the sacredness of the Blood as the life is that of the Divine relationship of it: that is, that it is bound up with the Lord and no man can touch it. All of a piece with this is - 

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 22 - (The Holiness of the Blood)

Victory Over Unforgiveness

Immediately after teaching His followers to pray, Jesus gave a warning about allowing unforgiveness to reside in the heart. He said that those who refuse to forgive others won't be forgiven by the Father.

Do not misunderstand Jesus' meaning here. Believers don't lose their salvation when they refuse to forgive. Rather, they break fellowship with God because their unrepentant attitude gets in the way of regular confession and repentance. The Lord cannot ignore sin, and His Spirit will bring wrong behavior to the believer's attention until he or she deals with it.

Forgiveness is an act of the will more than an act of the heart. Often people don't feel like being merciful to someone who has wronged them. But a resentful spirit grows into a terrible burden. The Lord knows that forgiveness is best, even when it is difficult.

You won't deal with a sin until you see it as God does. So assume full responsibility for your unforgiving attitude, and acknowledge that it is a violation of His Word. Claim the divine mercy He offers, and ask Him to enable you to lay aside anger and resentment against the other person(s). As part of the decision to move forward in grace, make a habit of praying for those who hurt you. And if God so leads, seek their forgiveness for your wrong attitude.

A bitter and resentful spirit doesn't fit who we are in Christ. Nor is it healthy to carry an angry attitude through life. That's why Scripture emphasizes the need to forgive. Choose to be liberated from your burden--Jesus promised to make us free when we release our sins to Him (John 8:36).

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Saturday, December 27, 2014

God's Reactions to Man's Defections # 20

The Altar, The House, The Name

Let us now gather up in a positive presentation - even at the risk of some repetition - what we believe to be the essence and substance of that testimony for which the Lord has ever reacted, and would now react, in a day of declension. There are three words which represent this testimony, and these three words may be clearly seen to govern and interpret the whole of the Scriptures. There is no part of the Scriptures which does not relate in some way to one or more of the objects which these words denote. They are, in the Old Testament: THE ALTAR, THE HOUSE, THE NAME; or, in the New Testament: THE BLOOD, THE CHURCH, THE SOVEREIGNTY.

The Altar and the Blood

Every reaction and new beginning that has come from God has been by an altar. The first of these was that of Abel, although there must have been an earlier shedding of blood, when the consciousness of being uncovered led to God's clothing or covering the expelled two with skins of animals. Then, when that world was  wiped out in judgment by the flood, a new beginning was made with Noah's altar. When there was nothing of a distinctive character speaking for God in the days of Abram, the Lord laid His hand upon him, called him out as an elect instrument, and brought him to an elect land; and there, with the man and the place of His new beginning brought together, an altar was erected. There was a brief lapse when Abram went down to Egypt, but on his return the original ground was re-taken with a reconstructed altar.

Thus a distinctive seed was marked out; and some four hundred years later, that seed being constituted a corporate testimony against world-wide misrepresentation of God, an altar was the conspicuous factor, initially and continuously. It is significant that, although many thousands of lambs were slain on the night of the separation of that people from Egypt, the record always speaks on the singular, never in the plural. It was always "the lamb" or "a lamb." In God's sight there was only One Lamb, and although every threshold was an altar, there was only one Altar in Heaven's view. (The word in Exodus 12:22, translated "bason", is in the Hebrew "threshold.")

This truth of new beginnings with the altar can be clearly seen afterward in the case of the receiving of the Law and the pattern of the heavenly things by Moses. The great altar of the Tabernacle and Temple governed the life of Israel for many years, until the times of declension set in, and then each movement back toward God was marked by the altar coming again into its place. It was so in Elijah's stand, in 1 Kings 18; and it was so with the revival under Hezekiah, in 2 Chronicles 30. It was so again with Josiah - 2 Chronicles 35. But hardly had Josiah passed off the scene that his work fell in ruins. Judgment fell, Jerusalem was destroyed, the Temple burnt, and the people went into captivity. After seventy years a remnant returned, and we read in Ezra 3:3 that the first thing that the remnant did was to "set the altar in its place."

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 21)

Enduring satanic Attacks

Every believer faces temptation. Take a moment to recall a particularly enticing situation involving something that would displease God. Did you realize you were involved in a satanic battle?

The Devil is real. Scripture reveals that he leads an army of fallen angels and is prideful enough to think he can gain victory over God. By definition, a satanic attack is a deliberate assault upon an individual, which is designed to cause spiritual, physical, material, or emotional harm. Satan desires to thwart the Lord's purpose in believers' lives, to rob them of joy and peace, and ultimately to deny God the worship He receives through yielded followers.

As in any war, knowing the enemy's plan helps us prepare for the attack. First, be aware that the battlefield takes place in our minds. To walk in a godly manner with Christ, we must first be sure that our thoughts are in submission to His Spirit. This takes daily surrender and time in God's Word. Second, Satan tempts us during vulnerable moments. Be cautious when you are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired (This is often known as the H.A.L.T.  warning). Third, he is deceptive; we won't recognize the trap as an evil scheme. Instead, it will seem good, and we'll likely wrestle with some sort of doubt.

As Christians, we should walk closely with Jesus. Satan desires to lure us into destructive actions that rob us of God's plan for a good, full life. Stay connected to the Savior: read the Word, pray, and fellowship with other believers. These are weapons we use against the Devil in spiritual war. 

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Friday, December 26, 2014

God's Reactions to Man's Defections # 19

The Overcomer (continued)

The Supreme Effort of satan (continued)

The second thing that comes out of this is that the Holy Spirit always demands the ground of the Cross for His activity, if the glory of God is in view. But then, the Cross registers the removal of all that serves satan. Now, it would take a long time to cover that ground again to see the things that served satan. What was it that served satan in Cain? Covetousness, personal ambition, jealousy, pride! That worked itself out in the murder of Abel - but the murder of Abel as an expression of hatred for God (although Cain may have been blind to the deeper nature of the thing.) What was it that served satan in Balaam? Greed, covetousness, world-gain. The Cross registers the removal by destruction of all that served satan, and for us it is gathered up in one word: SELF.

What a wide word that is - what a comprehensive word! The stronger term is "the flesh." Some people do not know what you mean when you talk about the "flesh." They begin to think of positive vices and iniquities of deep dye. But the "flesh" is only another term for "self." Self is a very subtle thing, a many-sided thing. It includes self-interest, self-glory, self-preservation, self-realization, self-advancement - all those considerations of influence and good-standing and prestige and following, and being understood and spoken well of. The phases of "self" are legion, and they, every one of them, serve satan.

Moreover, they serve him in this other sense, that they divide the rights of God an usurp the place of God: and therefore, wherever there is the slightest suggestion or insinuation of self, the Glory of God is obscured and the Cross has got to be applied there. The Cross is not applied in the work of God just because God wants us out of it for the sake of having us out of it, to humble, to crush, to break us; no, it has this great end in view - HIS GLORY. And our glory depends upon His glory. We cannot come to glory until He receives His rights in the universe; and the Cross is the way there. The Holy Spirit demands the ground of the Cross in us, because the glory of God is in view. The Cross, dear friend, means utter devotion to God's glory. The Holy Spirit only works on that ground - He has only ever worked on that ground. A pure work of the Holy Spirit, completely immune from satan's touch, requires the Cross, which means complete separation from all of the old ground.

Perhaps you have read the wonderful record of what God did in China through His servant, Dr. Jonathan Goforth - a work of the Spirit in mighty revival. I think I have read few things which are more literal fulfillments of words which are often mentioned among us: "Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and will show thee great things, and difficult, which thou knowest not" (Jeremiah 33:3). When this true man of God arrived at a certain place, he was told immediately that he must not expect anything there such as he had had elsewhere, for there were difficulties. But there the Holy Spirit came in, and under His constraint different people got up and confessed such things as were never suspected - confessed them in public - in a mighty movement of God. But the Spirit of the Lord kept very short accounts with His servant, and every suggestion and insinuation of the devil through his "flesh" had to be met.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 20 - The Altar, The House, The Name)

When God Looks on Us With Favor

Believers are always under the canopy of God’s grace and love. Nothing we do can change that. At the same time, our behavior and heart condition do determine whether we receive the fullness of His blessings. Today’s passage teaches us how to experience the Father’s favor.

First, He desires that we have a contrite heart and a humble spirit (Ps. 51:17). For that to be the case, all aspects of our lives must be surrendered to Jesus. Yet some dreams, desires, and people are difficult to release into His hands.
Anything we do not give over to His authority is evidence of pride, the exact opposite of what our Father wants in His children. Remember that “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). Lack of submission proves that we think our way is better than His plan.

Second, God tells us to tremble at His Word (Isa. 66:2). Scripture—the unfolding revelation of Jesus Himself—is living and powerful to teach and transform us. Consider how we treat this treasure. Do we devote time each day to know what the Bible says and how to apply its principles? Do we hunger for more of the Word in our lives so we can know its Author better? One measure of our reverence is obedience: to honor the Lord, we must obey Him.

We all desire God’s favor. Are you living in a manner that positions you to receive His full blessings? Prayerfully consider whether you have submitted all areas of your life—from finances and health to relationships and work habits—to Jesus Christ. Recognize His authority in all things, and revere His Word.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Thursday, December 25, 2014

God's Reactions to Man's Defections # 18

The Overcomer (continued)

The Supreme Effort of satan (continued)

But, ah, the Lord never recognized those rights - just as Mordecai refused to recognize the right of Haman. This is one of the most beautiful things in the Book of Esther. Here is Haman claiming to be somebody; he has gained eminence, and everybody is bowing to him. But Mordecai refuses to recognize any of his glory, and ignores it all. And you remember Haman's story to his family. "I am a great man; I have much goods, many children: but what is the good of it all if this one man will not recognize me?" (Esther 5:9-13). It is a foreshadowing. There is One Who counts more than all the rest, and until He can be captured or got out of the way the enemy's fullness is divided. That One will not recognize satan's rights and That One is destined to bring about his doom.

The Lord Jesus met that all the way through, refusing to attribute to satan one atom of right in this universe. He was out to challenge that, to secure all the rights for God in His own Person, and to come to the Throne Himself with those rights. And when He has done it we see the same thing going on with the Church. It is still the Church's great issue: the worshipers and the worshiped, and the place or the no-place of the enemy. We shall deal with that when we come to speak of the Church.

Now, only the Holy Spirit, in the power of the victorious Christ and by virtue of His shed Blood, can meet that challenge. We do not talk glibly, lightly, frivolously, about this thing. We view the ultimate issue with joy and exultation, but we recognize that it is "not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts" (Zechariah 4:6). And if the Lord Jesus Himself needed that it should be through the Eternal Spirit that this thing was wrought out, oh, how much more do we! How much more do we today! We should not rush into this battle; we recognize that nothing but the mighty energizing of the Holy Spirit could meet this great issue and challenge. But we recognize also with confidence that the Holy Spirit is the Minister of the Victorious Christ, and that His very advent is on the ground of that victory, to work that victory out in the universe; and we thank God for it. Why has the Holy Spirit come? Oh! not that we might have blessings and what we call power and influence and opportunity and service. No, He has come as Representative and Agent of the Christ, Who has secured the rights of God in His own Person. To bring about the recognition and realization of those rights in this earth - that is the work of the Holy Spirit.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 19)

The Peaceful Fruit of Righteousness

Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. - Hebrews12:11

We know that the Lord disciplines those He loves but sometimes I wonder why He has to go to such extremes to love me so much? I have told the Lord that it is a good thing He told us that discipline is based on love because, at times, I would misinterpret the pain as something else.

I have noticed that through the process of chastening, I probably will not remember the circumstance that brought the trial, but I will remember the intensity of the pain. When God really gets a hold of me and starts working on changing me, I feel hallow and empty. During those times, I feel like a pumpkin. God cuts around my handle and scrapes me clean of all the seeds and stringy things. But I liked all those seeds, stringy things and even the dingy environment; at first, I grieve over missing the “old me”. But then, He goes a step further and takes the knife of the Word and starts carving at my hardened protected outside. Now my insides become exposed to the outside, and light has the ability to shine through.  So often, I can barely handle such exposure and I feel embarrassment and vulnerability no matter what angle the light hits.  During these times I cry, yell, pray and beg Him to stop, not understanding why I have to go through this painful process. But in His perfect timing, I realize that the peaceful fruit of righteousness has resulted in me. Finally, I pray for His light to be placed deep within me so others can see His good work.

We need the Lord. There should be nothing else we want to do but to love Him with all that we are and to serve Him with all of our lives. As we continue to walk with Him, we better understand that His purpose for us is best for us. We are called to endure these trials of life as we are becoming more like Christ, and being transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. Jesus needs to become our everything. We need to ask Him to help us yield to His will in the discipline process and to resolve ourselves with His timing, being content with His will. Though the process is painful, He knows what is best and we can trust Him to finish the work He started in us.

Are you dealing with something painful today? Maybe you are wondering why God has put you in such a place. Regardless of the reasons for our sufferings, we must remember that He is our answer. Go to Him today and ask for His strength and guidance to lead you through this time. Begin thanking Him for His purposes in the work He is doing in your life. He will never let you down. 

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

God's Reactions to Man's Defections # 17

The Overcomer (continued)

The Depth of Calvary (continued)

The Holy Spirit is thus the Minister of the Glorified Christ, as He was the Agent and the dynamic for the accomplishment of this great end in the Cross, and the securing of it in the Person of Christ in the glory. He is now the Minister of the glorified Christ to work this out in the earth, and in doing so He will bring us to certain very important issues.

He will bring us first of all to this: that those who enter most fully into the meaning of the Cross - which is the will of God wholly done - will encounter the supreme assault of satan.

Do you wonder that satan hates the Cross? Do you wonder that he by any means will get the Cross set on one side? Do you wonder that those who go into the meaning of the Cross spiritually find that they have immediately come up against the whole system of antagonism from the devil? It is so, inevitably. We have seen Abel in the very earliest and simplest form of the presentation of the meaning of the Cross. When he enters into relationship with that blood, that sacrifice, that altar, he immediately and automatically comes up against the adversary. The Holy Spirit, through John, says of Cain that he "was of the evil one" (1 John 3:12).

So with Abraham, so with Joseph, so with Moses; so even in what might be thought to be the simple case of Esther. Let us pause with Esther for a moment. The Book of Esther has been thought to be a commentary upon, an exposition of, the providence and sovereignty of God. Well! it is that, but there is a bigger background to the book. Here is one who is "come to the kingdom for such a time ..." (Esther 4:14). What time? A time when the testimony of God in His people was so set against by the enemy that he wanted the last Jew exterminated. You know the story of Haman - "Haman the Agagite" - a remnant of that Amalakite seed which had always been against God. Haman the Agagite had become inspired with the further purpose, utterly and finally to exterminate the Jews. Esther came to the kingdom for such a time as that, and put her life in the balances - "if I perish, I perish" - and met that awful deep-laid scheme of satan. It is ever an illustration of the ultimate controversy of the Cross. You meet with that when you stand for the testimony of God in the earth. We will come back to Esther presently.

The story of Daniel is the same thing. Two gods: the god set up by Nebuchadnezzar, and THE God. Who is going to be worshiped? Daniel does not need to deliberate over his decision that Jehovah alone, and no other god, is to be worshiped in this universe; His rights alone are to be recognized. He meets the power behind that world-system and is called upon to pay the price. It is the same issue with Daniel's three friends, Shadrach, Mechach and Abed-nego.

The Supreme Effort of satan

From the very birth of the Lord Jesus, it is known to satan Who He (Christ) is; and the scheme is put into operation to engulf Him in the massacre of a whole multitude of infants. The cruelty of the evil one to murder a mass to get one! He is after One, he is not after the crowd.

We have no record of any efforts of the enemy from that time until the Lord steps across the line which runs between His private life and His public life - and then He meets the enemy immediately. And what is the question? "If Thou wilt ... worship me" (Matthew 4:9). That is what he is after. It is right out - he is betrayed at once; and it is that issue right up to the Cross. "If Thou wilt worship me." It comes in a multitude of different ways. satan 'only' wants an acknowledgment, the ascribing to him of some rights in the universe.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 18)

It Was Good to Be There

He took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray, and as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering... they saw his glory (Luke9:29, 32).

If I have found grace in thy sight, show me thy glory (Exod. 33:13).

When Jesus took these three disciples up into that high mountain apart, He brought them into close communion with Himself. They saw no man but Jesus only; and it was good to be there. Heaven is not far from those who tarry on the mount with their Lord.

Who has not in moments of meditation and prayer caught a glimpse of opening gates? Who has not in the secret place of holy communion felt the rush of some white surging wave of emotion--a foretaste of the joy of the blessed?
The Master had times and places for quiet converse with His disciples, once on the peak of Hermon, but oftener on the sacred slopes of Olivet. Every Christian should have his Olivet. Most of us, especially in the cities and towns, live at high pressure. From early morning until bedtime we are exposed to the whirl. Amid all this maelstrom how little chance for quiet thought, for God's Word, for prayer and heart fellowship!

Daniel needed to have an Olivet in his chamber amid Babylon's roar and idolatries. Peter found his on a housetop in Joppa; and Martin Luther found his in the "upper room" at Wittenberg, which is still held sacred.

Dr. Joseph Parker once said: "If we do not get back to visions, peeps into heaven, consciousness of the higher glory and the larger life, we shall lose our religion; our altar will become a bare stone, unblessed by visitant from Heaven." Here is the world's need today--men who have seen their Lord.
--The Lost Art of Meditation

Come close to Him! He may take you today up into the mountain top, for where He took Peter with his blundering, and James and John, those sons of thunder who again and again so utterly misunderstood their Master and His mission, there is no reason why He should not take you. So don't shut yourself out of it and say, "Ah, these wonderful visions and revelations of the Lord are for choice spirits!" They may be for you!

~L. B. Cowman~

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

God's Reactions to Man's Defections # 16

The Overcomer (continued)

The Two Worships (continued)

It is the story of Elijah, fighting for the testimony in Israel in a day when the glory of God was hidden. On Carmel the great issue is the altar - the Cross, and the fire - the Spirit. The testimony is once more established in Israel; but the reaction of the powers of darkness is then through Jezebel to destroy the man who has restored the testimony. The issue in the word of Elijah is: "How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him" (1 Kings 18:21). You cannot divide the issue - it is one thing or the other. That is the testimony of God having His rights utterly and no one else getting a look in. And let the prophets of Baal, four hundred on the spot - there is a very deep principle involved, a deep principle. The destroying of the prophets of Baal is the outward demonstration of the spiritual principle that there can be no quarter given to that which is not against the Throne of God. Whether it be Agag (1 Samuel 15) or the prophets of Baal, the point at issue is God's rights. Is He having the worship and the honor and the glory in this universe?

That is a very brief survey, through the Old Testament, of the constant breaking in of this evil element along the line of worship.

The Depth of Calvary

Now, the Cross of the Lord Jesus gathered all this up, and "through the eternal Spirit" Christ secured the rights of God in His own Risen Person: so that "through the eternal Spirit" Christ met the whole of this thing in the universe at Calvary - He met it all.

Let us get behind Calvary, ever more and more behind, until we get to the ultimate. The Lord has led us by degrees deeper and deeper into the meaning of the Cross. There was a time when we thought that we had fathomed the Cross, when we saw the "old man" being dealt with, but we find that there are still ranges that we have not before seen. It was the Throne of God that Christ was standing for at Calvary; it was the ultimate and universal glory of God that He was fighting for in Calvary; and He met all this that was set against the Throne, and met it victoriously, and secured those eternal universal rights of God in His own Risen Person: which means that Christ Risen and Ascended has secured in His own Person all the rights of God for the glory of God for evermore. In the Lord Jesus God has His rights secured.

I hope the Lord enables you to enter into that. Jesus Christ, "Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself" (Hebrews 9:14), now standing in the Presence of God, has secured in His own Person all God's rights for ever, and the ultimate filling of the universe with the glory of God is secured in the Risen Person of Christ. There is no longer any doubt about the issue. God is going, without any question, to be universally worshiped, and the glory of God is going to fill the whole universe without any rival, because THE LORD JESUS is in the presence of God, victorious over every other thing that was against the Throne of God. This is something immense. He said: "Lo, I am come ... to do Thy will" (Hebrews 10:7), and the will of God done utterly is the recognition of the utter rights of God, and God becoming possessed of them.

When we talk about doing the will of God and wanting to know the will of God, oh, let us get the immense range of such words. The will of God means nothing else than that God shall be universally glorified and that He shall be the central object of worship in the universe. Read the Revelation again with that thought, and the book will become new. You will find then that the Book of the Revelation is the book of worship, and you will see that that worship, which is there in ever widening circles to the ultimate bounds of the universe - that worship is brought about by the Lamb, "through the eternal Spirit": the Lamb in the midst of the Throne.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 17)

The Passion to Obey

For a sermon I gave several years ago, I jotted down a list and titled it "The Evolution of a Passion to Obey God." That passion doesn't just spring up, full-blown at salvation. We do enter our new life in Christ with a desire to please Him, and that does include obeying Him. But an intensely determined pursuit of His will develops more slowly.
In fact, the first stage--fear of the consequences of disobedience--barely qualifies as reverence for God. But as we progress in our faith and form a commitment to obey the Lord, we eventually reach the final stage, which is love and devotion to Christ. Wouldn't you rather follow Him out of love than out of fear?
Getting from the first stage to the last begins with what you might expect--an increasing knowledge of Jesus Christ. As we dig into God's Word to see how He provided for the saints, we develop a desire for His best. Men like Moses, David, and Paul weren't satisfied with what the world had to offer, and we won't be either when we witness His work in the lives of His followers. So we test out obedience and discover that God's promised blessings are real. As we acquire a record of consistent rewards for doing His will, we recognize the wisdom of obedience.
Can you find yourself on the spectrum between fear and devotion? It is my hope that you have committed to obeying God and that you are reading His Word daily to learn how to keep your promise. God wants your best--your passionate pursuit of His will--because He is giving His best to you.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~

Monday, December 22, 2014

God's Reactions to Man's Defections # 15

The Overcomers (continued)

The Two Warships

From that moment he set up a spiritual system of worship which is perceivable behind the whole record of history. We have the breaking in of this evil element all along the line of worship, wherever and whenever the rights of God are recognized by sacrifice. Immediately Abel recognized the rights of God and erected his altar, slaying his sacrifice and shedding sacrificial blood, in the simplicity of the testimony of faith that here on the earth God has sole rights, there broke in this very thing against that testimony. The murderer came in to withstand and destroy the testimony, with Cain as his instrument, who also set up an altar and made a pretence in his darkened understanding to worship God. But he never got through to God, and that was the very ground upon which the satanic element of jealousy and pride was churned up within him, and he became, because the devil had got a purchase upon him, the instrument against the worship of God. The enemy's scheme is deep laid; he knows what he is doing. Through the other worship he breaks in against the recognition of the Divine Rights, the worship of God; and from Abel onward it is always so.

Noah set up his altar upon the renewed earth, and in so doing that "the earth is the Lord's end and the fullness thereof". But very quickly there broke in the other thing again. Even in that representative one the element of evil rises up to contradict the testimony, and before long the worship of God becomes associated with shame, and the glory is hidden again. We see the testimony on the one hand and the breaking in to contradict on the other.

Abram's life story heads up to the incident in Genesis 15, where the altar is finally set and the sacrifice is offered - and then the battle begins. While Abram holds on to God and waits and stands, the vultures descend, and a mighty conflict ensues for the preservation of that testimony to the rights of God, the worship of God; and then comes the horror of great darkness. When Israel, in the fulfillment of the vision which was then given to Abram in that very hour of conflict, came out into the wilderness and the worship of God was set up, there broke in this very same element, and you find the golden calf.

And so the story goes on. You come to Balaam seeking to curse Israel, but not permitted, and then setting up by insinuation the evil thing, fornication - a form of idolatry - and the Lord's glory obscured once more. It was a beautiful picture that Balaam gave in his prophecy, perhaps one of the most beautiful things in the Old Testament. As Balaam stands, desiring for gain to curse, but constrained by the Spirit of God to bless, and as he speaks concerning this people dwelling alone, wonderful things are said and the glory of the Lord is presented concerning Israel; and then, as round by a back door, for that gain he teaches Israel to commit fornication. The glorious picture fades, and the glory of God is again obscured in Israel, because of this other worship. The rights of God are all the time disputed.

Then we have the wonderful story of Solomon. On the one hand, his building of the House, his setting up of the altar, and the glory of God descending. Here you have the Cross and the Church and the Spirit. On the other hand, the after-story of Solomon. What a tragedy - what a ghastly tragedy! the glory of God contradicted again by the very man who had so beautifully set up the testimony in Israel. The devil is breaking in all the time to take God's rights from Him, to rob Him of His glory.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 16)

The Choicest of His Servants

As many as I love I rebuke and chasten (Rev. 3:19).

God takes the most eminent and choicest of His servants for the choicest and most eminent afflictions. They who have received most grace from God are able to bear most afflictions from God. Affliction does not hit the saint by chance, but by direction. God does not draw His bow at a venture. Every one of His arrows goes upon a special errand and touches no breast but his against whom it is sent. It is not only the grace, but the glory of a believer when we can stand and take affliction quietly.
--Joseph Caryl

If all my days were sunny, could I say,
"In His fair land He wipes all tears away"?
If I were never weary, could I keep
Close to my heart, "He gives His loved ones sleep"?
Were no graves mine, might I not come to deem
The Life Eternal but a baseless dream?
My winter, and my tears, and weariness,
Even my graves, may be His way to bless.
I call them ills; yet that can surely be
Nothing but love that shows my Lord to me!

"The most deeply taught Christians are generally those who have been brought into the searching fires of deep soul-anguish. If you have been praying to know more of Christ, do not be surprised if He takes you aside into a desert place, or leads you into a furnace of pain."

Do not punish me, Lord, by taking my cross from me, but comfort me by submitting me to Thy will, and by making me to love the cross. Give me that by which Thou shalt be best served... and let me hold it for the greatest of all Thy mercies, that Thou shouldst glorify Thy name in me, according to Thy will.

~L. B. Cowman~

Sunday, December 21, 2014

God's Reactions to Man's Defections # 14

The Overcomers (continued)

The House of God and the City of God (continued)

Were we asked what are the major lines and subjects of Divine revelation throughout the whole Scriptures, we should say with considerable conviction that they are:

1. The Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

2. His Cross - death, burial and resurrection.

3. The Church or House of God.

4. The Coming Again of Christ.

5. The City of God.

There are other phases, but these taken relatively are the primary themes, or aspects of one theme.

While the Person of the Lord Jesus as God manifest in the flesh is the sum of all revelations, it requires the Cross to give the full meaning and reveal the full value of that manifestation; it demands the Church to display the full content of that manifestation ultimately; and it calls for the City to define the nature of that manifestation. In leading men on to the appreciation of the Person, God begins with the Cross. If the House is the House of the Divine Son, and if the City is the City of the great King, then the House and the City are based upon the Cross. Moreover, if the House and the City are for the glory of God in Christ and His universal worship,  then the Cross represents the nature of worship and the way of glory.

To put this more precisely: If the Lord has in view a people for His glory, by whom the content of the Son of Man is ultimately displayed to the universe, then this people will be fundamentally a people of the Altar. This we believe to be the all-inclusive theme of Scripture. The Cross is the central recognition of the eternal rights of God. At the Cross and in the Cross all the rights of God from eternity to eternity are recognized and acknowledged. That is central to Calvary. God has rights. God's rights are that the whole universe should render Him undivided, unrivaled, unreserved worship, acknowledged, unrivaled, unreserved worship, acknowledging that all things are His by right, and that no one else in the universe has a right before Him. That great fact is here gathered up in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, and He brings to God in His own Person His rights, offering Himself in the greatness of Who He is and what He is - the rights of God.

God, by His Son, created the world for His glory. The Holy Spirit was Agent in the creation of the world for the Glory of God, in order that the whole earth should be full of His glory. The Holy Spirit is likewise Agent in the redemption of the world for the Glory of God. It is of perhaps deeper significance than we have recognized that the great song of the redeemed at the end, when the work of Calvary is consummated, is gathered up into one sentence: "Hast redeemed ... to God" (Revelation 5:9). Redemption is unto God: it is bringing back to God His rights, and the Holy Spirit is the Agent in this redemptive work which has the Glory of God as its objective, just as the Holy Spirit was the Agent in creation for the same end.

Worship, then, with all its depth and fullness, is the key word. In the great consummation when God is to be worshiped in the whole universe, and the different songs of worship break forth - the song of one company, " a hundred and forty and four thousand", worshiping God and the Lamb (Revelation 7:4), and then the song of the 'great multitude which no man can number' worshiping God and the Lamb (7:9) - there is the unveiling of the worship of the beast, and that is another consummation. The two consummations of worship are there unveiled.

The worship of the beast s one which has been going on ever since lucifer secured a following, a reverence from angels in high estate in heaven. When he found it in his own heart to make a bid for the place of the Almighty - to exalt his throne above the clouds, to ascend into the heavens, to be equal with the Most High (Isaiah 14:13-14) - he managed to gather to himself a company, all with the intent of drawing heaven's worship away from God to himself; and ever since that lifting up of his heart in that infamous ambition another worship has been going on. He drew that company with him, the company of angels "who kept not their own principality", and are "kept in everlasting bonds under darkness" (Jude 6). Then he appeared on the earth, and sought again to usurp the place of God in the worship of His Creation here; and in this he succeeded, and became, by reason of a conquest and the consent of man, "the god of this age", "the prince of this world."

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 15 - (The Two Worships)

Submission to the Divine Will

As I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God... and the hand of the Lord was there upon me (Ezek. 1:1,3).

There is no commentator of the Scriptures half so valuable as a captivity. The old Psalms have quavered for us with a new pathos as we sat by our "Babel's stream," and have sounded for us with new joy as we found our captivity turned as the streams in the South.

The man who has seen much affliction will not readily part with his copy of the Word of God. Another book may seem to others to be identical with his own; but it is not the same to him, for over his old and tear-stained Bible he has written, in characters which are visible to no eyes but his own, the record of his experiences, and ever and anon he comes on Bethel pillars or Elim palms, which are to him the memorials of some critical chapter in his history.

If we are to receive benefit from our captivity we must accept the situation and turn it to the best possible account. Fretting over that from which we have been removed or which has been taken away from us, will not make things better, but it will prevent us from improving those which remain. The bond is only tightened by our stretching it to the uttermost.

The impatient horse which will not quietly endure his halter only strangles himself in his stall. The high-mettled animal that is restive in the yoke only galls his shoulders; and every one will understand the difference between the restless starling of which Sterne has written, breaking its wings against the bars of the cage, and crying, "I can't get out, I can't get out," and the docile canary that sits upon its perch and sings as if it would outrival the lark soaring to heaven's gate.
No calamity can be to us an unmixed evil if we carry it in direct and fervent prayer to God, for even as one in taking shelter from the rain beneath a tree may find on its branches fruit which he looked not for, so we in fleeing for refuge beneath the shadow of God's wing, will always find more in God than we had seen or known before.

It is thus through our trials and afflictions that God gives us fresh revelations of Himself; and the Jabbok ford leads to Peniel, where, as the result of our wrestling, we "see God face to face," and our lives are preserved.

Take this to thyself, O captive, and He will give thee "songs in the night," and turn for thee "the shadow of death into the morning."
--Nathaniel William Taylor

Submission to the divine will is the softest pillow on which to recline.
It filled the room, and it filled my life,
With a glory of source unseen;
It made me calm in the midst of strife,
And in winter my heart was green.
And the birds of promise sang on the tree
When the storm was breaking on land and sea.

~L. B. Cowman~

Saturday, December 20, 2014

God's Reactions to Man's Defections # 13

The Overcomer (continued)

Harbingers in Every Sphere (continued)

Really, the focal point of this whole matter is not the two or more raptures. The fact is that the Lord has shown unmistakably that He has made no provision for a 'second-best' in the life of a believer or of the Church, but has called all His people to the fullest degree of faithfulness and devotion. There is a second-best, as seen in 1 Corinthians 3:15, etc. Let us not fasten upon unscriptural labels, such as "partial rapture' or 'selective rapture,' but upon the facts - that there are such people as 'overcomers', and also, evidently, those who are not, and that there is a difference of no mean importance between the two.

It is all just an appeal to take no chances - "make no provision for the flesh" - but to be utter for God, whatever it costs.

We are now able to come to the more definite consideration of the nature and function of this peculiar vessel for God.

There is a great difference between a people moved by mere disaffection, discontent, 'disgruntledness', difference of opinion, personal dislike or preference, and one moved by the constraint of a great Divine vision - by the inwrought reaction of God, registered with pain in the heart.

This inward heart-longing expression long ago in classic words: 

"By the rivers of Babylon,
There we sat down, yea, we wept, 
When we remembered Zion.
Upon the willows in the midst thereof
We hanged up our harps ...
How can we sing Jehovah's song
In a strange land?
If I forget thee, O Jerusalem,
Let my right hand forget her skill.
Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth,
If I remember not thee;
If I prefer not Jerusalem above my chiefest joy."
(Psalm 137:1-2, 4-6)

The implications of these great heart-yearnings represent the crystallizing of the Divine purpose from before times eternal. The ultimate thing in the heart of God, and that into which all the interests of those in real oneness of spirit with Him will be gathered, is presented in what is known as -

The House of God and the City of God

When we speak of the ultimate thing, we mean that which is to be the eternal consummation of all the Divine method and means. The thing which is primary and final is the place, worship and glory of God in the universe. This factor will be implicit in all that we have to say. 

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 14)