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Monday, December 7, 2015

The Cross, The Church, and The Kingdom # 14

The kingdom of satan and Its Overthrow

Matthew 28:18, 19; Ephesians 1:19-23

This passage from Ephesians one is a very wonderful enlargement of the brief statement of the Lord Jesus that all authority in heaven and on earth had been given to Him. The Apostle makes this wonderful exposition of the Lord's own fragment, showing, what fullness was included in that "all authority" - far above all principality, all power, all dominion, all names, all ages. That is the "all authority" in its range and compass and content. Then the Apostle says in effect, that when the Lord Jesus said to His disciples "Go ye therefore ..." -    'for this reason, because of this, go ye' - that selfsame fullness was gathered into Himself as head of the Church; that is, that the Church stands directly under all that fullness. It is intended to be mediated from the head to and through the members. We might well ask, in a sort of paraphrasing of the words of the Ethiopian addressed to Philip in the chariot - 'Speaketh the Apostle of some other Church or of this one? To whom does that relate?' - for it is very difficult to see anything that corresponds to that in the Church that we know. Does that apply to some other entity, or does it apply to us? I say, there is a lot of room for asking that question in the light of how very far short of that comes the Church known to us. But, dear friends, the Church, in the mind of the Apostle Paul - the Church referred to by him there - is the Church into which you and I have been baptized in one Spirit, and that exceeding greatness of Divine power is to usward who believe.

Well, that is only another way of bringing us straight up against the challenge and the need of this hour, the challenge to measure up, and to find out why the Church is so otherwise, and how it can be according to that declaration. We commenced our meditations with presenting ourselves with this question - What has God revealed as His supreme objective resultant from the Cross of Christ? and what we have just read and said is the answer - a Church corresponding to that description, a people answering to that presentation of the Divine mind. Such is what God has revealed to be the supreme outcome of the Cross - all fullness gathered into His Son as vitally and organically related to His Church, His Body, and that fullness in action; the exceeding greatness of His power in action in and through that Body in the whole cosmic realm. At the close of our previous meditation we saw that God is really dealing with us with that end in view, and that we are to regard ourselves as being now in God's training center - in the place where, for the time being, His will has appointed us. Training centers, from the Divine standpoint, are not institutions, nor theological seminaries, but where we are in the will of God - that is our training center; and we called upon ourselves to adjust to that, with this mind, that here God has chosen to equip us for the greatest ministry to which mortals have ever been  called - the expression of the exaltation and sovereign headship of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

I want to follow that up for a little, resuming at that point concerning our equipment for this ministry along the line of personal spiritual experience, discipline, training - equipment for this great Divine purpose of expressing in this universe, and especially in the great realm of spiritual powers and intelligences, the sovereignty of our Lord Jesus, firstly in terms of Divine life triumphing in us over the death that is working in us and over our natural life; and secondly in terms of Divine knowledge greater than any other kind of knowledge - the only kind of knowledge that can undo and set aside the far-reaching and deep-rooted deception of the false knowledge which satan succeeded in getting the race to take hold of at the beginning; and then thirdly, in terms of spiritual influence - the registration of something which is not to be accounted for by any human magnetism or personal impress or anything at all that belongs to man or woman - a spiritual, Divine influence.

These are the things which constitute the curriculum of the spiritual training which God has undertaken to accomplish in you and in me with a view to meeting that spiritual realm, and that is the service, above all other service, to vindicate the Cross of of Lord Jesus.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 15 = (God's Quest - Spiritual Personality In Terms of Christ)

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