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Friday, December 4, 2015

The Cross, the Church, and the Kingdom # 11

The Spiritual Resources of the Church (continued)

b. Spiritual Knowledge of the Lord By Revelation, not Intellectual

The same thing holds good in the matter of spiritual knowledge. No amount of natural, accumulated, studied knowledge can touch spiritual things. There is a value in Bible study, there is a value in accumulating knowledge of things in relation to God's Word and God's work. Oh, do not despise that and do not let anything I say turn you aside from diligence in that; but, after all, though you have a vast amount of such knowledge: though you know your Bible throughout: though you be what is called a Bible scholar: all that, at its fullest, stops short of spiritual effectiveness. It does not matter how much of that you have when it comes to the question of registering upon those spiritual intelligences, there is no natural knowledge that can touch them. You will never overpower the forces of darkness with natural intelligence and accumulated information, however great it is. Spiritual knowledge is of another kind. You may have the intellectual - I say, do not despise it - but you must recognize the need of something extra. Yes, I know the Bible in a way: that is, I know what is here in actual words and sentences and paragraphs; but that will get me nowhere when I come to deal with spiritual things. I have got to have something extra to do that - a spiritual understanding, spiritual knowledge. Something has got to come from God by way of illumination and revelation into my own heart concerning God's thoughts in this Book. How can we explain that? It is so difficult, but there it is - perhaps you understand what I mean. Spiritual knowledge is of another order. It is only God Who knows in the way that can meet the spiritual intelligences.

So this people who count for something in that ultimate realm - that realm where there is the only true accountability - this people will have to be a people of spiritual knowledge and of spiritual understanding. Paul prayed that "the God of our Lord Jesus Christ ... may give unto you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him; having the eyes of your heart enlightened, that ye may know ..." (Ephesians 1:17-18); and it is not without significance that that prayer for spiritual revelation and knowledge precedes what he writes concerning the wiles of the devil and "Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers ... of this darkness" (Ephesians 6:11, 12). There is no training in any seminary or institution which can of itself equip you against the wiles of the devil. This requires spiritual training.

Spiritual Training Practical, Not Academic

Let me put here this parenthesis. Some of you who read this may be concerned about your life, your future, and you are wondering whether the Lord would lead you into His service. Some of you are definitely feeling that He will. The question in your mind is, how will you get your training, what about your preparation? Let me say this, that, while sound instruction in the Word of God will be a necessary foundation, do not think that that alone is your training for the work of God. That is not an adequate training, or qualification. The work of God lies in a realm where, though you may have all that, you may be at a discount altogether; you may be frustrated, broken, defeated, as many servants of God are today because they have not got the spiritual goods to meet the situation. Your really vital training will be practical, in the spiritual realm. That is, the Lord will deal with you in such a way as to develop you as spiritual men and women who know spiritual life and have spiritual knowledge, and that will only come by a very practical handling of your life on the basis of the Cross. There are many who are not willing to go through that kind of training. They will go to Bible studies, theological lectures, and all that kind of thing; they are ready for that, but they are not so ready to be put into situations where it is extremely difficult to live, to get on with other people, where you find you are rubbed up the wrong way all the time, and everything goes against the grain. In such circumstances the one drive upon you and the one longing of your soul is to get out of it, to run away and find some other place, some other circumstances; and yet to do so would be to take yourself right out of the hands of God. To remain in His hands means to stay in that situation until the Cross has done its work and you are glad to be there, you are triumphant there, you have gained the ascendancy spiritually there, and the power of the enemy over you there has been broken. That is your training for the work of God. God can put you anywhere if He has you like that, and you will count; but all the rest may be nothing without it.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 12)

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