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Monday, February 16, 2015

God's Reactions to Man's Defections # 69

The Testimony of Jesus (continued)

Expressing the Nature of Christ

And then it is to be the expression of the living nature and character of Jesus in the Holy Spirit. That is far too large a matter for us to consider fully here; it can only be stated. But it must be stated, because, both in these letters to Timothy and in the Revelation, much is made of this matter of the expression of the Lord Jesus in His character. The decline was from a level of character, the departure was from an expression of what Christ is in His nature. We can never, never overcome the world, nor the devil and all his powers, if that same devil has got a foothold right in our being, if there is something there that is of himself in moral failure or delinquency. In the power of the same Holy Spirit, you and I have got to exemplify Christ - the Church must exemplify Christ, express Christ - express what Christ is; not merely give out facts about Christ, but be the embodiment of Christ's nature.

That is why John, coming back at the end of the apostolic age, has so much to say about this matter of love. 'You don't know the Lord,' he says, 'if you don't love your brother. It is no use you saying you love the Lord, if you don't love your brother - that is all nonsense'. In other words, it is hypocrisy. 'How can a man love God, Whom he has not seen?' (1 John 4:20). That is John's argument. It is a matter of 'walking in the light as He is in the light' (chapter 1:7). So much of John's writings touches upon this thing. Look at those letters to the seven churches. What they are concerned with is state, condition, with lost spiritual life, in the sense of expressing what Christ is like in His nature. That is the testimony of Jesus. The testimony is lost if you and I are unChrist-like. It is no use using phrases, and making claims: these have to be substantiated by what we are like, and what we are like must be what Christ is like. The Church is for that purpose. It does not merely consist of a set of doctrines to be upheld - although the doctrines must be upheld; not of a number of ordinances to be maintained and repeated, not of congregations of Christians having meetings and conferences. It is to be the embodiment of Christ by the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit Governing From Heaven

Now, coming back to the matter of the point of changes that we mentioned earlier, the Church in which we find ourselves today, with all its break-up and division, its sectionalism and so on, is so different from what we have just described. How are we going to get over this? Well, it just depends where the seat of government is, does it not? As things are today, there is no one government of the Whole Church on this earth, is there? We do not admit the claims of Rome. But it is not true for any section that the headquarters of the Church is "any place." The headquarters of the Church is in Heaven. The "seat" of government of the Church is in Heaven; it is nowhere else. And the Lord will not allow it to be anywhere else. When Jerusalem was beginning to assume the character of a governmental headquarters for the expanding Church, the Lord scattered them to the ends of the earth. No headquarters on earth! Headquarters is in Heaven.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 70)

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