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Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Stewardship of the Mystery # 85

The Corporate Expression of the Heavenly Man (continued)

Authority In Christ

"And He gave some apostles ..." (it does not say "to be" apostles). Then we need to know what the apostle represents as a measure of Christ. What is his value in bringing the fullness of Christ by way of the Body, the Church, the corporate Heavenly Man? It is impressive to recognize that the apostle stands first on account of the value associated with the apostle. What are apostles? There is one word which expresses the meaning of apostles, and that word is "authority." Authority comes first.

We know that grammatically speaking the word means "one sent." But look again to see its significance in the Word of God. Take the word wherever you find it and see what is in it. Look, for example, at the parable of the house-holder who planted a vineyard. He sent unto them his servants to receive of the fruit. They came with his authority, and the wicked husbandmen, in slaying the servants, wholly repudiated the master's authority. You see, the application to Israel there is so piercing. The point of the parable is that they were refusing to acknowledge the authority of God in Christ. When the owner of the vineyard comes himself to deal with the situation he will miserably destroy the husbandmen. On what ground will he do this? Because he did not get his own personal gratification in the fruits? No! Because they had refused to recognize his authority in his son - ... he sent unto them his son ..." Wherever you find the "sent" of the Lord, you find the authority of the Lord. That is an apostle.

As you carefully consider the matter of apostleship, you will see that everything that constituted an apostle represented what made for authority. An apostle was a specially constituted servant of the Lord. There was a very rigid law governing apostleship (so far as the Twelve were concerned), that an apostle must have seen the Lord in resurrection. He could not be an apostle if the Lord had not appeared unto him, for he had not had first-hand knowledge of the risen Lord. That first-hand knowledge of the risen Lord invested him with an authority. It was a matter of the Lord having Himself appeared unto him.

If you turn to the Letter to the Hebrews you will find that the Lord Jesus is spoken of as God's Apostle and High Priest. The very phrase at once carries us back in thought to the writings of Moses, and we mark how it combines what God has set forth in Moses and Aaron respectively. Moses as the apostle, and Aaron as the high priest, represent two aspects of the Lord Jesus. Moses represents authority. From the beginning of God's using of Moses, right to the end, Moses represented the authority of God. The rod which was Moses' rod, became the rod of God, and by that rod the authority of God was displayed. The authority of God was so much vested in him that God was able to say to him, regarding Aaron, "...thou shalt be to him as God" (Exodus 4:16).

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 86)

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