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Monday, October 26, 2015

Illumination is by the Touch of Christ (and other devotionals)

We who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly circumcised. We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort. (Philippians 3:3 NLT)

The fact is this, that what God is after is not to do things for you and for me, not to impart things to you and to me, not to show things to you and to me, but to bring us to some fresh apprehension of God in Christ. The whole matter is a divinely personal matter. It is the realization of the Person which is going to result, firstly, primarily, and for evermore, not in doing things, not in activities, not in rejoicing in truth, but in worship. Worship is the first, the continuous and the final factor in the knowledge of God in Christ, and is basic to everything else in our relation to Him. True worship only springs from a heart discovery of Himself.
Take your Bible, especially the New Testament, and especially the forty days after the resurrection (if you want that narrowed down to something that you can grasp), and see if that is not true. It was not because He did or said certain things that they worshiped, but because they discovered Him in a way in which they had never known Him before. God’s dealings with us are governed by this supreme aim: that He might make known to us Himself in Christ; but this comes by illumination, and that illumination is by the touch of Christ.

By T. Austin-Sparks

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I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. But I have this against you.... (Revelation 2:19 ESV)

Oh, that we should get some better idea of what the service of the Lord is than that it is platforms and pulpits and open-air meetings. Beloved, service for the Lord is just as important when it is rendering some kindly act of helpful service to some rather depressed child of God in the ordinary domestic things of daily life; just as valuable as getting on the platform and giving a message. You see it is strengthening the hands of the Lord's children, it is coming in to check the crushing overweight of the adversary, coming alongside to lift up the testimony in some life or home where the enemy is trying to crush the testimony out – and the testimony is something maintained in domestic relationships, in family life, private life. There are too many who want to give up their domestic service and go to Bible College, failing to recognize that that service there may be just as valuable to the Lord as their going out to the mission field. It is spiritual, not technical, not organized, and you may be as much a priest of the Lord in going round to some home tomorrow where the enemy is pressing in, and giving a practical hand in helping with the washing, as you may be a priest in standing on the platform....
There are many priests of God whose voices have never been heard in public, who have never been seen in a public way, who are unknown, hidden very often in the assembly and yet in secret history fulfilling a most valuable ministry. Get adjusted over this thing. We have to come to the point where we deliberately decide as to whether the Lord is worthy of this, and abandon ourselves to it because of our appreciation of Him, the Master. You see, this servant abandons himself freely, voluntarily, for all time to the service of his master because he has come to love his master.

By T. Austin-Sparks

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You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. (Philippians 2:5-7 NLT)

We have got to draw a very broad distinction between doing a lot of things, as we think "for the Lord," rushing about and being busy and organizing and conducting and speaking and preaching and taking meetings and classes and all this, and we call this "Christian service." We have got to draw a very broad line of difference between that and real service to the Lord. Real service to the Lord is the emancipation of a people from this world for Him and the formation of that people according to Christ for a heavenly vocation, and a heavenly vocation now, not afterwards.
You can test your service by this: the measure of the emancipation of the people who come under your hands and the measure of the formation of Christ that is going on. These are things which are service. And then you will discover that, whereas the other line of things with all the movement and activity and feverish and excited work does not call for very much patience of this kind. It does not call for much real self-emptying, no, it does not call for a great deal of meekness: rather I think it ministers to the opposite. It makes us self-important. It makes us proud. It makes us self-sufficient. It makes us self-assertive. It makes us jealous for our position and our ministry, and resentful if it is interfered with. Yes, Christian work does that with many. The true service can be tested by these things, and the true servant can be tested by the measure of those virtues of Christ: utterly selfless, self-empty.

By T. Austin-Sparks


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