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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Unveiling of Jesus Christ # 7

Revelation 1:1

A Challenge to Christians

Asia is the venue of the vari-sided message, or - if you like - the seven messages. Asia was representative of first century Christianity: that is, Asia had received all the primary and essential apostolic teaching. Paul called it "the whole counsel of God." But some thirty or more years had passed since Paul wrote his great circular letter to Asia and so soon after completed his ministry. In that period - only about thirty years - serious decline had set in in the majority of the churches. The character had changed. Divergence had taken place. The standard had lowered. Measure had been forfeited. The churches were living on a past. The fine gold had become dim. Form had taken the place of life, and works went on without the primary love. It is painful to have to accept the fact that, in even the fullness of the apostolic times, such a change could take place in a comparatively short time. It surely says that, to have had so much is no guarantee of final consistency. This is an age-long peril; the peril besetting the path of anything which had a great and wonderful beginning under the hand of God! It is not difficult to find all over the world the dead shells of what once was a mighty testimony to the sovereign movement of God; a "candlestick of pure gold." We do not dwell on this aspect for the moment, but move on with the positive method of the Lord to meet it.

So we are brought back to the introduction: "The unveiling of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to shew unto His servants" (1:1). While the whole statement as to the "shewing" is immediately related to "the things which must shortly come to pass," it is essential to note that this whole unveiling is based upon, and issues from, an unveiling and presentation of the Person of God's Son, Jesus Christ. All that follows in the whole book is intimately connected with the personal presentation. The phrase: "to show unto His servants" come to relate - at least in the first place - to the churches in Asia, and, of course, to John. This full-length presentation of Jesus Christ will occupy us in this present consideration. Note carefully that the Person - in His full and meticulous delineation - is so closely linked with the churches as to "hold them in His right hand" (1:16, 20), and also "walketh in the midst..." (2:1). The point here is -

The Intimate Association of Christ With Conditions

It is not a contradiction or confusion to see Christ in Heaven and at the right hand of God, as Paul and Stephen speak of Him, and then to hear John say that He is imminent and immediate in the churches on earth. And this is shown to be so even when the churches - the true churches - are in a poor and bad condition. It may come to be that because of certain conditions, as in the case of Laodicea, where Christ is represented as on the outside of the door; nevertheless, He has not deserted and abandoned. We shall see that the real force of this first section is the deep and pained concern for His Church in her state of declension.

At this point we should sit back and allow ourselves to register the forceful impact of a serious fact. Taking not one whit from the Lord's command and commission to evangelized the whole world, it was after the world that then was had been evangelized that practically the entire New Testament was written to Christians who had responded. After "Acts" there is not one book of the subsequent twenty-six comprising the New Testament which was written to the unevangelized and unsaved. This surely is forceful enough (apart from the contents of the books) to convince us that the Lord is - at least - as much concerned with the "follow up", the saved, as He is to evangelize! The law of God, both in nature and in grace, is "full growth," and anything less than that is either abortion or stultification; it is sub-norman, or un-normal, and it speaks of defeat and frustration of purpose and design. God is not like that, and Himself suffers in any such condition. We shall come on this again later, but it must be from this consciousness that we begin. If that has impressed us sufficiently, and only if so, we can proceed, and in doing so we shall at once be confronted with -

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 8 - (God's Ultimate Standard)

Who Are the Meek?

Who are the Meek?

by Greg Laurie

Meekness is not weakness. Sometimes we confuse the two. But the difference between a meek person and weak person is this: a weak person can't do anything. A meek person, on the other hand, can do something but chooses not to.

Jesus said, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5). The word meek from the original language was used to describe reining in a stallion. It is the idea of a horse being controlled by a bit and bridle. The horse is choosing to submit to authority. That is meekness. It is power under constraint.

Although Jesus said, "Blessed [happy] are the meek," we don't celebrate meekness in our culture. Instead, we celebrate assertiveness. We celebrate getting things from other people, sometimes even taking advantage of other people. When is the last time you saw a movie that celebrated the virtue of meekness? When is the last time the big buildup for the movie was the moment when the good guy meekly restrains himself, even though he was wronged? We don't want to go to a movie like that. We want to see a payback movie in which the first half consists of bad things happening to the hero, and the last half consists of bad things that come to the people who did those things to the hero. That is what entertains us. That is what our culture celebrates.How different this is from what the Bible teaches. The Bible celebrates meekness. The biblical worldview says last is first. Giving is receiving. Dying is living. Losing is finding. The least is the greatest. Meekness is strength. The idea is that we are living by God's truth—not by what our culture says should make us happy.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Unveiling of Jesus Christ # 6

Revelation 1:1

Yes, we are in the Book of the Revelation, the most controversial book in the Bible. This book has set up more schools of interpretation than any other. It would not be profitable even to name these schools. Of them all, no two are in agreement, and each one is uncertain of the rightness of the others. The only safe and profitable way is to find what is certain. This is the Bible's way of solving and answering its problems and questions. That is, interpretation and application by spiritual principles. In passing, we do point this out as a really valuable and satisfying method of approach. Apply it to the first chapters of Genesis and there will be a very great deal of rest from the weariness of mental wrestling with questions and problems there. The same is even more true with 'Revelation.' This is what we shall do in this message. We begin with reference to:

The Apocalyptic Method

It is essential to accept the fact that, whatever actually and literalness there is behind the record here (and of course there is such; it is not a book of myths) it is all presented to us in symbols, figures, resemblances, similitudes, and representations, and not in real and actual things. Dragons, and Beasts, and Bowls, and A Lamb, etc., are not actually such. We ask: why this method?

Well, at least part of the answer relates to the time and condition of the writing. It was a time of terrible and fierce persecution of the Christian Church. The focal point of that persecution was the Christian testimony to the Lordship of Jesus Christ; what the book calls "The testimony of Jesus Christ." That testimony came into direct and immediate collision with Roman Emperor-worship. Caesar took the title of God, and claimed worship as such. The Christians both refused to acknowledge this, and preached Jesus Christ as Lord.

This set up a situation in which it was dangerous to speak in plain terms, names, and definitions. So, in writing to the Church and Christians for their instruction, counsel, comfort, correction, and warning, their spiritual discernment and perception was called into use, and they had to - as we say - 'read between the lines.' No Caesar's name is mentioned, but a representation of him is there. No system is named explicitly, but its character is delineated; and so on.

But the method applies to much more than the immediate historic background, or the prophetic horizon: it is applied to almost everything in the book. That has to do with the nature of the book. Now we proceed to the question - Why the book? In another place we are occupied  with the last chapters of this book. Here it is with the first chapters, and mainly with chapter one. In this part we are met with -

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 7 - (A Challenge to Christians)

The Church Exists to Be An Expression of Christ

To those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. (John 1:12,13 NIV)

What, in the thought of God do Christians exist for? What does the Church exist for? There is only one answer. The existence and the function is to be an expression of Christ. There is nothing less and nothing more than that. Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, and all between! Let that be the starting point; let that be the governing rule and reality in all matters of life and work, and see at once the nature and vocation of the Church. This vast, incomprehensible heavenly system, of which Christ is the personal embodiment, touches every detail of life, personally and collectively. But remember only the Holy Spirit sees and knows how it is so; hence, as at the beginning, there has to be an utter submission to and direction by the Lordship of the Holy Spirit. What the bloodstream is to the human body, the Divine Life is to and in "the Church which is His body." What the nerve system is in the physical realm, the Holy Spirit is in the spiritual. Understand all the workings of those two systems in the natural, and you begin to see how God has written His great heavenly principles, first in the person of His Son, and then in His corporate Body.

As an individual believer is the result of a begetting, a conception, a formation, a birth and a likeness, so, in the New Testament, is a true local church. It is a reproduction of Christ by the Holy Spirit. Man cannot make, form, produce or "establish" this. Neither can anyone "join" or "enroll," or make himself or herself a member of this organism. First it is an embryo, and then a "formation" after Christ. So, all talk about "forming New Testament churches" is nonsense. The beginning is in a seeing of Christ.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Unveiling of Jesus Christ # 5

Revelation 1:1

The Personal Greatness of the Son of Man (continued)

And then, His official greatness. That is seen through this book of the Revelation, and again in the Letter to the Hebrews. His official greatness, as High Priest - what a great High Priest He is, as according to that book; what a tremendous thing He does! Think of it: through century after century, sacrifices of lambs, and goats, and bulls, and other things - blood enough to fill an ocean - all through the centuries, day after day, and never reaching an end in effectiveness where sin was concerned: but He, One Offering - only One! - went far beyond the millions of sacrifices on Jewish altars. How great was His sacrifices, and His priesthood, as He offered Himself without spot to God, once for all!

And here, in this book, as the other side of His official greatness, we have His description as "King of kings, and Lord of lords"! What a thing to say, in a day when that tyrant at Rome was dominating the world, assuming lordship over all lordships, and seeking to subject to himself every power, not only in earth, but in heaven, since he claimed deity. In that day, the unveiling of Jesus Christ is "King of kings" - yes, and Nero amongst them! - "and Lord of lords."

To sum up: I believe we would have very much better converts if they were presented with a very much greater Christ. To anyone who does not know in their own life and experience salvation in Jesus Christ, what it really means to be born again - to be really a "child of God," and to know it - to be able to join in heartily with this apostle John when he said, "Beloved, now are we the children of God ... Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God, and such we are! - to any such I would say this. While Jesus would be your Saviour, the Forgiver of your sins, and many other things to you, He is far, far greater than anything you can imagine. Salvation takes its greatness from the measure of the Saviour. If you want a great salvation, see what a great Saviour He is. And remember that because of what He is, you need have no fears in putting your trust in Him; you need not fear that you may not be able to "keep it up"! No, you won't, but He will; He will be able to keep you up - He is great enough! We need an unveiling of the greatness of Jesus Christ, to get a better kind of Christian.

For the recovery from our spiritual losses and declensions and failures, and deliverance from all these things which are so abhorrent to us and to Him, there is only one way, and that is, really to see His greatness. If we do that, we cannot live on a "little" level. I recently went to the Planetarium in London. The thing that was with me, while listening to the lecture, and afterward, was, how ever can anyone be "little" when they are dealing with these things all the time! I suppose it is possible even for a fellow of the Astronomical Society to be a "little" man in character (I am not implying this about this man, but it is possible!) But it is not possible to have a revelation of the greatness of Jesus Christ and remain a little person! Oh, for our enlargement, our ennoblement, our deliverance from our pettinesses, and all this which is so despicable! What is the answer? A new grasp of His greatness - that is all!

And then, if we are suffering; if we are knowing adversity and trial; if the clouds seem to be gathering, and increasing, how will we get through? Only by getting away, and asking, seeking, pursuing in prayer a new heart revelation, a new unveiling, of Jesus Christ, and that will surely do it.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 6 - (The Apocalyptic Method)

Are You Sure You Are In the Great Purpose of God?

May He equip you with all you need for doing His will. May He produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to Him. (Hebrews 13:21NLT)

So long as we are in line with God’s purpose His work can go on in us. What matters is not first of all our activity. God is more concerned with what is done in us than what we do for Him. He often reaches His end with us much better when we are in a state of inactivity than in times of much work. The hand of the Potter was upon Moses when he was in the wilderness where he could not do much. During forty years he was just looking after a few sheep. That is not very grand. No doubt he wondered sometimes to what purpose he was there, whether his life had any value. But principalities and powers saw something and wondered at God’s wisdom. God knew how to equip this man, how to get His way in that life. That is true in the case of many a servant of God. God is working for good, He is shaping His vessel. There is wisdom in all His dealings with us. But we have to see to it that we have no plans or personal ambitions of our own. The clay has to be completely in His hands. If we are really here for God, we can be assured that He will reach His end, that He may work out His purpose in us. And there we shall find strength.

Are you sure you are in the great purpose of God? Everybody has some part in it. Paul, when speaking of the church, illustrates it thus: “that all the body is fitly framed and knit together through that which every joint supplies.” No part of the body is without function. Each and every one has to be in God’s purpose. Some parts may be very small, they nevertheless are equally important. We have to remember that God has called us for a purpose which will be realized as we abandon ourselves to Him. Whatever it may be to which He has called us, let us be ready and do it. A Holy Spirit possessed life is always marked by purpose. Nothing can be lost in such a life; let us not believe in mere generalities. That is not good enough. There is something far more definite in God’s thoughts for our lives. Let us abandon all personal desires, and be filled with the Spirit of urgency – “straight away.” Those who know that they are called of God, and who definitely recognize the purpose of their life, will be wholly given up to it. Such no longer have any interest for the things of this earth. They have no time to lose. They must buy up their time.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Unveiling of Jesus Christ # 4

Revelation 1:1

The Personal Greatness of the Son of Man

Now here He is presented in the Revelation, and He is not presented in the language of Deity, although it runs very close. At some points, you cannot distinguish between the humanity and the deity. You do not know whether John is speaking of God or of Christ at certain points. The fact is, he is speaking of the One Who is both. But the title, as we have already seen by which He is presented in this matchless, incomparable unveiling, is "Son of Man." Let us now consider the personal greatness of the Son of Man, Who is, at the same time, Son of God, Very God.

We have referred to the Letter to the Hebrews, and we call it in now for our help in this matter. We read from it, and we begin with this "effulgence of His glory," and then we read: "Whom He appointed heir of all things" - appointed heir of all things! - "through Whom ... He made the ages ...," and so on. "But one hath somewhere testified, saying, What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? or the Son of Man, that Thou visitest Him? "Thou didst set Him over the works of Thy hands: Thou didst put all things in subjection under His feet ... We see not yet all things subjected to Him. But we behold Him Who hath been made for a little while lower than the angels, even Jesus, because of the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death for every man."

Here is the Son of Man in His Own Personal Greatness. See Who He is: "the effulgence ...," "the express image ..." See His appointment: "Heir of all things," See His instrumentality and agency: "through Whom the ages were made." The Son of Man - how great this One is! You would not think that, when you see Him walking about Palestine - not all that! You do not recognize Him. But that same One is now here before John, with these devastating effects; that same One, now revealed, unveiled, as to what He is essentially in His Person; Who He is; what position He holds. He is here as the Heir of all things come for His inheritance. And the rest of the book sees Him working it out - the securing of that inheritance of which He is the Heir, and, in the end, of a "new heaven and a new earth." What a glorious inheritance comes into view in the last chapters of this book! This is the Son of Man; this is His greatness! But we are completely defeated at any attempt at a true, not exaggerated, unveiling of Jesus Christ. There is  His personal greatness.

But as the Son of Man, we have, in that very title, His representative greatness. To borrow again from the Letter to the Hebrews, where first He is appointed Heir of all things, then He is the "Captain of their salvation," "bringing many sons to glory." The word "Captain" there would be better translated the "Pioneer" of their salvation - the One Who goes before to lead them into that which He Himself has entered. Of course, that is the substance of this Letter to the Hebrews. He has gone before; He has entered into the heavens; He has "passed through the heavens"; He has gone the whole way, and reached the end, as the Pioneer of many sons being brought to glory, whom He calls His "brethren." His representative greatness, as there at the end, in fullness, in glory - for there He represents all those whom He is going to bring and is bringing - how great it is! We read in the Revelation of a "great multitude which no man can number out of every tribe and kindred and tongue ... thousands ... ten thousands of thousands ..." Language is taxed to breaking point to describe the fruit of the suffering of the Lamb! And He is the Representative in glory of them all. How great is His Person and His representation!

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 5)

What Coveting Is - and Isn't


What Coveting Is—and Isn't

"You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's."

—Exodus 20:17

"You shall not covet" is probably one of the most misunderstood of the Ten Commandments. Coveting isn't simply desiring something. Nor is it simply admiring something that we don't have. To covet is to become devoured by desire for something. And many times, it's something that isn't yours to have.

The word for covet is also translated "to pant after." Think of a wolf that has gotten a taste for blood and is out there pursuing his prey, panting after it. That wolf will not rest until he catches his prey, kills it, and eats it.

That is what coveting is. How does it work? You become obsessed with something. First the eyes look at the object, the mind admires it, and the will goes over to it. Lastly, the body moves in to possess it. One thing leads to another.

Judas Iscariot effectively threw his life away for thirty pieces of silver when he betrayed the Lord. We are told in 1 Timothy 6:10, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." That verse is often quoted as "Money is the root of all evil," but the Bible says no such thing. The love of money is the root of all kinds evil. It doesn't mean that it's bad to want some money. But it becomes a problem when we covet, or pant after, it.

Some people covet throughout their lives. They become obsessed with certain things and will make any sacrifice to get what they want. It may be a person. It may be an object. It may be a position. Whatever it takes, they are determined to get it. And it can destroy them.
~Greg Laurie~


Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Unveiling of Jesus Christ # 3

Revelation 1:1

Yet that same man said: "When I saw Him I fell, as one dead." It is the same Jesus, and the same man; but - "I fell to the ground as one dead." And if that One had not, in His great mercy, come and laid His hand upon him, saying, "Fear not, John: I am the first and the last; I am the Living One," John would have been there as a dead man. It was the same Jesus - but look at the transition from the "Jesus of history" to the Christ of glory! That is the difference. From the John of the Gospels to the John of the Revelation it is a marvelous and mighty movement! He never felt like that when he walked with Jesus, devoted as he was. With his fullest consciousness of who Jesus was, he was at most perhaps sometimes awestruck and awe-inspired. It was not until he saw Him glorified that he went down, helplessly prostrate, like a dead man. It was a great transition from the Jesus of history to the Christ of glory.

Now, I take nothing whatever from the values and blessings of the Gospels, when I say that I am sometimes afraid that we may dwell too much upon the Jesus of history, and fail to remember that the men who wrote those four gospels wrote them long after Jesus was glorified. You notice, they did not, at some point toward the end of His life, when they perhaps began to sense that He would not be with them much longer, get away and decide to write the story of that life - of His birth, and His manhood, and His teaching, and His miracles - as a mere human, earthly story. When they wrote, they had all the mighty facts and realities of His resurrection, ascension and heavenly glory, which they were seeking to crowd into that story of His life here, as those who would say: "That One was This One! That was not just Jesus of Nazareth - that was the mighty Son of God from Heaven!" They were crowding every incident with the fullest apprehension that they had of the glorified Christ - Christ, Who was now there at the right hand of God! They were not just writing a human story.

That is the only way in which to preach the Gospel from the Gospels. Do you notice, when after His ascension and His glorification they preached or they wrote, how little, how remotely little, they ever said about the three and a half years? - just a fragment here and there. They said very little about His teaching and His miracles and His walk about Palestine. They were occupied with this One Who had been "crowned with glory and honor" - that was their message. Yes, there was that other One - Jesus of Nazareth, "Who went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed with the devil" - a sort of passing reference to that earthly phase, a summary ..."But God raised Him"! God honored Him, this One! It will not get us very far just to be occupied with the incidents of His earthly life, however precious they are. If we are going on and going through, we need an apprehension of that fullness of glory that is His now - the greatness of Christ.

It is indeed, just because men have robbed or stripped Him of His essential greatness, that we find, down the centuries, the deplorable conditions that have obtained. Our "liberal" theologians have stripped Him of His Deity; with what result? Oh, devastating results in the impact of Christ upon this earth! They have made Him a lesser Christ than He is. The philosophers have just made Him one in their gallery of great and wise men. It was against that tendency even with the Christians in Corinth that Paul raged in his first letter - taking something from the Lord Jesus, and just putting Him among other great men. The gnostics of Colossae - what were they doing? They had a theory of angelic ranks and orders, from the highest order of angelic beings down to the lowest sub-ordinate; and they put Jesus, perhaps at the top, but as nothing more than an "angelic being," robbing Him of His essential Person. He is Very God!

The 'comparative religionists,' all along and in our own day, are saying, Well, there are great founders of religions - there is Buddha, and Confucius, and Mohammed, and Jesus ...and so on. You see the subtlety? - a comparative, not an absolutely Supreme and unique! And then there are the humanists of our time, inflating and glorifying man and humanity to such a point that, after all,  humanity will be deified one day, will reach Godhead - and Jesus is only, after all, the Super Man! So it goes on, and it is all these things, this satanic work to reduce the size of Christ, to make Him less than He is, that has done so much mischief. If we lose, or fail to have, the essential greatness of Christ in our consciousness, ours is going to be a lesser spiritual life than it could be, and we shall break down under the stress and the strain of adversity. The only thing for every need is the recovery of His greatness.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 4 - (The Personal Greatness of the Son of Man)

True Growth In Grace!


True growth in grace! 

(Archibald Brown, "
He is Precious!")

"To you therefore who believe, He is precious!" 1 Peter 2:7

The word "precious" has a stronger meaning than appears on its surface; it is really "To you who believe, He is preciousness," or all-precious. Christ is . . .
  a sun which ever shines;
  a garden which is always full of flowers and fruits;
  a hive ever full of honey;
  a fountain which is always full;
  a brook which never dries;
  a rose that always blooms;
  an ocean of sweetness without a drop of gall.

To the child of God, a personal living Christ is most dear.
He is not satisfied with a mere love for . . .
  Christ's doctrines,
  Christ's promises,
  or Christ's gifts.
His affections entwine themselves round about Christ's person. Jesus is to him his brother, friend, companion, the one with whom he walks and talks.

True growth in grace consists of a personal Savior growing increasingly precious.

How sad it is that so many fall short of this experience. Their religion is entered more in a code of rules and collections of doctrines--than in the person of the dear Redeemer.

Yes, to you who believe, He Himself is precious!

Not only His house--for it is quite possible to like a person's house exceedingly, and yet have no particular love for the owner of that house.

Not only His book--for there are many books you may enjoy reading, and yet have neither knowledge of, nor affection for, the author.

Not only His gifts--for how many there are who value a man's gifts, while they despise him in their heart.

But He Himself, apart from all that He gives, will be your heart's dearest love.

"My God, I love You; not because
 I hope for Heaven thereby.
Nor because those who love You not,
 Must burn eternally.

Not with the hope of gaining anything,
 Nor seeking a reward;
But as Yourself have loved me,
 O ever-loving Lord."

"Whom have I in Heaven but You? I desire You more than anything on earth!" Psalm 73:25

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Unveiling of Jesus Christ # 2

Revelation 1:1

Joshua was called as a young man to face very great responsibilities and undertakings, in the ridding and clearing of that country of those ten kingdoms, getting that people in - such a people - he knew them! - to possess the land, and all that was bound up with it. And no wonder the Lord had to repeat one word to Joshua continually, to get him on the move. "Be of good courage"; be strong and of good courage"; "only be of good courage ... only be strong" (Joshua 1:6, 7, 9). How did the Lord give to Joshua the basis? He 'lifted up his eyes' and saw the 'Captain of the host of the Lord' (Joshua 5:13-14). From that time it was all right; he could go on and go through.

Isaiah was a young man in a very, very difficult day, one of those very cloudy days in Israel's history. He was taking up his great prophetic ministry in the face of great difficulties and threatening problems. How did he get through? "I saw the Lord, high and lifted up," he said (Isaiah 6:1). That is the answer.

Think of Paul - did ever a man have to face greater difficulties, oppositions and antagonisms and sufferings and perils, more than that man? How did he get through? He saw the Lord, or the Lord appeared to him. He saw the greatness of Jesus Christ.

Stephen triumphed as he saw "the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God" (Acts 7:56). So we could go on.

Some thirty years later, the Lord's people had come to a point where there was going to be a devastating blow struck at their corporate life. It was just on the point of that final siege of Jerusalem, when everything was going to be shattered and scattered; a great earth-shaking was about to take place; all that the Lord Jesus Himself had foreshadowed, "...not one stone left upon another ...," and all those other terrible things, were all about to take place within a very little time. How were the believers going to get through?

The Lord took up a man - we do not know now exactly who it was; some say one and some say another - but He took up a man to write what we call "The Letter to the Hebrews," and he begins with an almost matchless unveiling of the greatness of Jesus Christ! The Lord was saying through that letter: If only you can get that as your foundation, you will go through it all. You will not go back as you are being tempted to do, as perhaps you are contemplating doing. If only you see how great your Lord is, you will go on. So He laid the foundation for survival of faith - for that is the issue; you know how it all comes up in the eleventh chapter - the survival of faith, on the ground of an apprehension of the greatness of Christ.

And then we come to this book of the Revelation, and again we are in the presence of these things: on the one side, spiritual declension, failure, breakdown, loss; on the other side, suffering, growing suffering, terrible afflictions for the Church. How will the one be remedied and recovery take place? What is the key to a renewing of spiritual life when it has reached a low ebb? How shall they go on through the tribulation and the tribulations, and come out in victory in the City of God? The Lord's only answer, His one answer, which has always been successful, and is the only one which will be successful in any situation of need, is a new unveiling of the greatness of the Lord Jesus.

But oh, these are but words! When we have said these things - and we would all agree that they are true - we are still so helpless, because it is the thing that matters - not talking about it! If only, by the Holy Spirit - and there is no other way, no other means - we could catch a new glimpse of His greatness, how many problems that would solve, questions that would answer, needs that would meet! How overwhelming it would be! - and when I say "overwhelming" I mean, how much would be overwhelmed! A mighty tidal wave, making these rocks, upon which we threaten to founder, as nothing; they are sunk beneath it, disappear from view.

Now this is not just language. Look - who is writing this? It is the Apostle John. The Apostle John? Yes, that man who walked with Jesus of Nazareth, listened to Him, watched Him at work, and, at supper, and at other times, sat next to Him, and put his head upon His shoulder - the most familiar picture of a man alongside of a Man, in close, devoted, affectionate association. John always called himself "the disciple whom Jesus loved": it showed that there was a sacred, holy familiarity between John and Jesus, marked by very human terms and language.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 3)

Endurance Is By Revelation


I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:12 NLT)


For strength to overcome and press on, only a revelation by the Holy Spirit in us can suffice – but it can! A revelation that is within one's spirit and not a mental appreciation of truth, even though it is truth about God. Oh, the power to be able to say "I KNOW," not "I have heard or read," but "I KNOW." It is an experience nothing can rob us of. It is absolutely essential to have this revelation by the Holy Spirit because we have to meet forces of evil against which nothing can stand save that which is of God. "In pressure Thou hast enlarged me." How? Because of the constant uprising of the Life within. Trouble, trial, sorrow... we are subject to these things, they are common to all men, but we rise above them through the "strength of His might" within. We are strong because of the Light given in the knowledge of God – Eph. 1:19. This is a growing revelation. Paul is writing to the Ephesian saints, and what a wonderful history these had! See Paul's words to them in parting (Acts 20:17-38). To such he says, "That ye may be strengthened to apprehend," showing the necessity for the mighty power of God in bringing through revelation. The enemy mightily withstands revelation; to mar or hinder that, he'll stop at nothing!

Light and Strength go together; endurance is by revelation, "I know." Establishment in the truth by revelation of the truth, this brings an impact on Satan and his hosts; light leading to might. When the Lord opens eyes you see what happens, "the eyes of your heart being enlightened, that ye may know" this is the result of opened eyes. "Knowing that He that raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also with Jesus" – 2 Cor. 4:14.

~T. Austin-Sparks~


Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Unveiling of Jesus Christ # 1

"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to shew unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John" (Revelation 1:1)

At the beginning of the Book of Revelation, we find, on the one hand, a situation of spiritual loss and failure, weakness, and many other conditions and features which even the Lord Himself, in all His grace, has to deplore. Through His servant John He sends a series of letters to seven representative churches, aimed at securing the renewing of the life of His people, and the restoring of those primary and primal values of their beginnings. Then, it was a situation of many difficulties - sufferings and trials and adversities from various quarters and of various kinds. The Christians at that time were both actually in a time of much adversity, and were moving yet more deeply into suffering. To one of these churches the Lord said that they were about to suffer; they were about to be cast into prison; they were going to have tribulation for a specified time (2:10). It was a time when Christians both actually needed real help and stimulus, and needed to be prepared for further battles, further conflicts and further sufferings. These were the two main aspects of the general situation.

In the light of those facts, we stand back and ask: How did the Lord, and how does the Lord, meet that need? Indeed, we might say: How does the Lord ever meet a great need? What is that which alone will supply the need, and be the key to the problem, the answer to the demand, and the assured ground, both of recovery and renewal, and of fortification for the suffering? And the answer has ever been, and always is: A new revelation - an unveiling - of the greatness of Jesus Christ. That is the very platform, we might say, upon which and from which the Lord moves into these situations, and into all the situations that follow in this book. He prefaces everything with this fresh revelation or unveiling of His own personal greatness.

That has ever been the way. Abraham was called upon to make tremendous decisions, to make immense sacrifices. In his native country and city, with its marvelous and rich civilization, he had a very full life indeed; and, without assurance that his movement would be justified, he was called upon to move under sealed orders. "Get thee out ... unto a land which I will show thee." "I will show ... when you get there!" It was a tremendous move, very costly, and very testing. But if you have wondered how it was that Abraham went through, met all the tests, and at last survived, you have, I think, the answer in these words: "The God of glory appeared unto our Father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia" (Acts 7:2). If ever that happens, you have got something to move on; you have got a background; you have something that will again and again come to your rescue in a time of difficulty.

Moses was called upon to undertake a tremendous responsibility. We know that whole story now. Moses was not altogether ignorant of what he had to face, in Egypt and afterward; and we may wonder sometimes how he kept to the course and got through. But we know that he met God "face to face"; it could be said equally that 'the God of glory appeared' to him. Reference is made several times in the Bible to that encounter with God in the bush. And we are told that "he endured, as seeing Him Who is invisible" (Hebrews 11:27). That was the secret of his sustenance.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 2)

With God All Things are Possible


With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)

There are two ways of viewing the impossible. Everything depends upon where you put the impossibility – on the thing or on God. The things which are not possible with men are possible with God (Matt. 19:26). And He answers these impossible things in the normal way – for it is the normal way; the abnormal would be by signs and wonders and extraordinary happenings: demonstrations to our senses; but the normal way in the Christian life is the way of the continuous transcendence of His Life over the working of death. That miracle is far more general than we recognize. You have to live your life and do your work in a sphere of spiritual death where everything is against spiritual Life, and there is nothing to support you at all, and yet you go on there in the Lord, and are not swallowed up, engulfed and destroyed by that atmosphere and by those conditions. That is the miracle of Divine Life working silently. Yours, then, is a life – as is the life of everyone – set in the presence of the great stone of death, spiritual death. We know it, and yet we are preserved alive spiritually and we go on. That is the great miracle. It is the miracle of every day. That is the testimony that God raised Him from the dead....

In the resurrection of the Lord Jesus – or let me put it this way – in union with the risen Christ our hopes are far greater than all our worldly hopes. We may in His death have to lay our treasure in the dust, we may have to let go much that is very precious to us of hope and expectation and ambition and outlook. Our world may have to be placed with the stones of the brook (Job 22:24). In resurrection union with Christ something more is given back than what we formerly wanted. God is like that. You may say that is language and sounds very beautiful, but is it true? Well, I appeal to those of you who have any spiritual life and history at all. You have doubtless gone through a time of deep and dark trial in which you have had to hand everything over – you have come to a crisis where you have had to place on the altar something that was very precious and let it go to the Lord. If the Lord has not given that back to you, have you not come into some spiritual wealth, some spiritual good, something more in a spiritual way that makes you say, 'Well, it was worth it!'? The answer of God through the Cross to all disappointed hopes and expectations is, and in the very nature of God must be, something more than that which was laid in the grave. It is the very principle of Christ risen. He was a far greater Christ in resurrection than He was before – if I may put it like that without being misunderstood.

~T. Austin-Sparks~


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Great Transition From One Humanity to Another # 46

The Immense Significance of Jesus Christ: Crucified, Risen, and Exalted (continued)

The Crucified Church: A Vessel, An Instrument: In Touch with the Throne (continued)

But oh, the Lord does need a recovery of that kind of vocation, and it is not going to stop here. I have said the vocation of the Church in the ages to come - oh, it may not be then against the devil, but I quoted a scripture the other day and told you, I do not understand what it means: "Know you not," said Paul to the Corinthians, "we shall judge angels?" We shall judge angels? That does not mean that angels are doing wrong and are going to be brought into judgment by us in eternity: it means government, telling them what to do, what is required of them. Oh, it means, I do not know what it means, but it says, "We shall judge angels." It is the Church that is going to be the administrative instrument of Christ through the ages to come: - and the Church has got to learn administration now.

We are in a school of learning, a wonderful school, learning to fulfill such a vast vocation in the ages to come. This school is for that. And if we are really through the Cross, under the Holy Spirit, under the Anointing Spirit, and if we are all "baptized in One Spirit into One Body," if that is true, (perhaps we have got to get clearer as to what that baptism is and what that Anointing is and what that Body is) if that is true, then we are now under the Holy Spirit's tuition. This is a practical tuition, and not a theoretical one, under His tuition in order that we shall graduate when the Lord comes - graduate into that vocation with which we have been called, unto which we have been appointed from eternity in the counsel of God: to be His governing vessel through the ages to come.

Too wonderful to grasp! Is it beyond you? It is beyond me. But this is what Paul teaches, and it is to begin with us now. "And now," says he, "unto the principalities in the heavenlies may be made known the manifold wisdom of God in the Church." It is a wonderful vocation. Yet how far we fall short.

Now this morning that is enough I am sure for you to lay hold of and wrestle with. Much more could be said, but that is quite enough for now. Be quiet about it, think about it, meditate upon it. All this, dear friends, that I have tried to say to you, that the Lord has tried to show you, does issue from an experimental knowledge of the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. It does . And you have seen now what that Cross means on both its sides. May it not be a subject, a doctrine, a teaching, a theory, but the mighty reality that it is in every realm. May we pray ...

We are very conscious, Lord, that when we touch realms like this, there is much that tries to battle and stifle and make it difficult both to speak and to hear. So that now at the end of this course, or time, we must appeal to Thee as on the Throne to exercise Thyself in Thy Authority, Thy Power, to make these things realities, living realities in us. Not the subject of the convocation, not the theme that certain people followed in their ministry; but, O God, save us and bring us into the good of what Thou dost say. Make it live, make it a power in us. May it register in earth and in Heaven. In the Name of the Lord Jesus, Amen

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(The End)

An Array of Biblical Passages to Think About


MORNING

I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

Blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world. - Ye are the salt of the earth, ... the light of the world. - Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is heaven.
I also withheld thee from sinning against me.

The Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil. - So did not I, because of the fear of God. - Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father. - Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

JOHN 17:15. Phi. 2:15. Matt. 5:13,14. -Matt. 5:16. Gen. 20:6. II Thes. 3:3. Neh. 5:15. Gal. 1:4. Jude 24,25.


EVENING

Whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe. (Or, set on high)

The LORD is exalted; for he dwelleth on high. - The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill; that he may set him with princes.

God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

PROV. 29:25. Isa. 33:5. Psa. 113:4,7,8. Eph. 2:4 6. Rom.8:32,38,39.

~Samuel Bagster~
_____________________

MORNING

That through death He might destroy him that had the power of death.

Our Saviour Jesus Christ ... hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. - He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD shall wipe away the tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it. 

When this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. - Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

HEB. 2:14. II Tim. 1:10. Isa. 25:8. -I Cor. 15:54 57. II Tim. 1:7. Psa. 23:4.

EVENING

Where is the way that light dwelleth?

God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. - As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

- The Father ... hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light, who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son; in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.

Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. - Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

JOB 38:19. I John 1:5. John 9:5. I John 1:6,7. Col 1:12 14. I Thes. 5:5. Matt. 5:14,16.

~Samuel Bagster~

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Great Transition From One Humanity to Another # 45

The Immense Significance of Jesus Christ: Crucified, Risen, and Exalted (continued)

Ministry By the Spirit On the Ground of the Cross (continued)

The writer of the Hebrew Letter makes it very simple about father and children and sons, for it says: "My son, despise thou not the chastening of the Lord." The chastening of the Lord - as a father chastens his son. Well, what about you fathers who have sons, what are you doing with them? Now you may not put it in this way, but this is how the New Testament puts it in meaning: "I am going to make a Man of you. I am out to make a Man of you. Sometimes you may not feel very happy about what I am doing, the way I am doing it, but I am going to make a Man of you." Paul says to these people: "Quit you like men." It is a Man, a Manhood, that the Holy Spirit has come to develop, a kind of Man coming "to full stature of Manhood in Christ." These are Paul's actual words (and this applies to the sisters as much as to the brothers). One Man in Christ, all One Man in Christ. I am sorry the translators have not given us the full translation where it says: "all one in Christ Jesus," but it is "all One Man." It is masculine. "All One Man in Christ Jesus," and  the work of the Holy Spirit is to make a Man of us. Oh, yes, but a man according to that Man. Is this according to that Humanity? Everything according to that Humanity. That is why Jesus was here for those three and a half years. A Man among men, but different from all others. Everything "conformed to the image of His Son."

The Crucified Church, A Vessel, An Instrument: In Touch With the Throne

Brethren, I am going to close soon, but I want to get very near to the position of the Church, now and in the ages to come; and because this is a very large matter, I am going to focus on one thing to try and help you. We are going to focus upon the matter of prayer. I am convinced that in all the recovery that has to be made, the recovery of prayer, in the way in which I am going to speak of it now, is very, very important.

Have you ever seen, dear friends, what the position of the Church is, if it is in its right position and rightly constituted? Now I am not talking about the Church universal, it applies there, but let us come to a local church. Where is Christ? - "He is seated at the right hand of God." What does that right hand mean? - The place of power, The place of authority, The place of government. The right hand - He is there as "Head of the Church, which is His Body." He has been vested, invested, with all authority in Heaven and in earth! Have you sometimes questioned that? Have you questioned Christ's authority here in this world when you see things going as they are going? Have you wondered about that? - all authority in Heaven and on earth? Now, dear friends, if you have a nucleus of the Church in any one place - a nucleus in any one place - rightly constituted on the basis of the Cross and the Resurrection and the Exaltation of Jesus the Lord, you are united with that Throne; and if you get to prayer on that basis, as such an instrument, you are going to touch things in the heavenlies and on the earth. Have we not lost something?

I think I have told you before of a personal experience on my first visit to the United States in 1925. I was just learning then, just learning the great principles of the Church, the Cross and the Church; and I had come to speak at a church convention in Boston. I went into my hotel, into my room, and as I got in there an awful sense of conflict and darkness and evil came over me. This was so terrible, and I had to go almost immediately to minister. I said: "I'm no good, I can't go and minister like this, something's got to happen." It was really awful. Abraham knew what he called "a horror of great darkness." That is what it was for me. And I began to use what means I knew of fighting the enemy, such as using "the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God" against the enemy and pleading the blood, but nothing happened. Nothing happened. I walked up and down in that room trying to fight this spiritual battle and never getting through. I cried to the Lord: "Lord, what does this mean? What are You saying? Have I got out of Your will? Ought I not to be here? What is it, Lord?" Then it came to me so clearly: "Just stand into the prayer for you of the Lord's people." Now that is very simple, but I stood there in my room and said: "I stand by faith into the value of the prayer of the Church on my behalf, in the Name of the Lord Jesus." And just like that the whole thing went! We went through!

Now that is not the end of the story. I wrote back to my brothers in London, and I told them of my experience. One brother answered and said: "Will you please let us know exactly the time that that happened, making allowance for a difference of five hours between London and Boston; will you give us the very hour when that happened?" So I wrote and told them just when it had happened. He wrote back and said: "In that very hour, we were met for prayer, we felt that you were having a great battle, and we felt that we had to take up that battle for you and pray it through, and we did."

Now do you see what I mean? Forgive the personal reference, but see the principle; now three thousand miles away - five hours difference in world time,  but at that very moment the Church prays, far away something happens: the enemy in the heavenlies is touched - Authority in Heaven, and the situation on earth is touched with the Throne! Do you not think we want something like that now? Are there not forces of evil in the heavenlies that need to come under the impact of that "All Authority in Heaven?" Are there not situations, even in the Church of the churches, where that "Authority in the earth" needs to be brought in to change them? And the Church is the vessel of that, the instrument of that! Oh, for local companies on that ground, the Power of the Cross and the Authority of the Risen and Exalted Lord! That is a great need. Ask the Lord about that when you get back where you are. Oh, be careful about a "technique" which is called "prayer warfare" and attacking the devil direct. Be careful, he will make a mess of you, he will wait his time. Get hidden in the Cross. Remember that this is not your strength, your wisdom: it is a crucified vessel that is going to do this.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 46)

Selfless Service


Selfless Service 


An argument arose among them as to which one of them was the greatest. But Jesus, aware of their inner thoughts, took a little child and put it by his side, and said to them, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest. Lk. 9:46-48

We live in a culture of winners and losers. A world that celebrates victory and success while frowning upon failure and weakness. This is seen in every area of society, from winning the Super Bowl to beating out the competition and landing a dream job. Yet at times this pride in our status and reputation shows up in far more subtle ways: in the car we drive or home we own, in the vacation photos posted on social media, or even in the way we compare ourselves to friends and family.

It is so easy to get caught up in the race to “be somebody” that we entirely forget the radical and dangerous invitation that Jesus gives to each of his followers- to deny themselves and follow him (Mt. 16:24). If we are to be his disciples, we must follow Jesus as he is revealed to us in Scripture, not Jesus as we wish or simply desire him to be. One invites us to reframe our identity and worldview in light of who he is; the other seeks to remake him in our likeness.

The greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves… I am among you as one who serves. Lk. 22:26-27

In this selfie generation, it is harder than ever to faithfully live out the words of our Lord, yet our challenges run deeper than cultural conditioning. By nature, we default to self-interest and self-promotion. As St. Augustine said, we are “curved inward on ourselves.” It is this inward curve that Jesus comes to redirect, to reorient our lives away from self-absorption and turn them instead outward towards love of God and neighbor.

To do this, we must look afresh to Jesus. To see in him perfect love that comes, not to be served, but to serve (Mt. 20:28). We must turn outward and see a savior who gives his life as a gift for the life of the world (Jn. 6:51), taking on the very nature of a servant (Phil. 2:7).

When our thoughts, desires, and actions are turned outward towards love of God, it leaves very little time to inflate our egos or nurture this desire for status and success. In fact, the great paradox of the gospel is that when we give our lives away in loving service, our true identity is found! It is in this act of selfless living that we find meaning, purpose, and fulfillment. 

Prayer: Father, remind us today that “it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.”

~Wisdom Hunters Devotional~


Monday, September 21, 2015

The Great Transition From One Humanity to Another # 44

The Immense Significance of Jesus Christ: Crucified, Risen, and Exalted (continued)

Ministry By the Spirit on the Ground of the Cross (continued)

In the old days when I was very much in the preaching realm, before a big crisis of the Cross, I worked hard to get good sermons; and I collected everything to make up a sermon, a quotation from this and a quotation from that, this poet and that poet. Later one day I was preaching, and in the midst of my sermon I made a quotation from a certain poet to make a point; and at that point, the bottom fell out of my sermon. Everything went, and I had to struggle to get to the end. I went home and got with the Lord on that, and when I looked up that poet (a very famous poet) the Lord said to me: "Do you know that poet is a modernist, a liberal theologian, that he does not believe in the great truths of Christ's personality and atonement - and you drew him in this morning as your ally to make your sermon a success?" I learned a lesson that day, a life-lesson. And if really we are under the Cross, dear friends, we will know what the Spirit will allow and what He will not allow. We find that the Cross means that, the bottom does fall out of everything in that realm. Am I being too detailed? Oh, no, not for ministry, and I have defined what ministry is (not only pulpit ministry, platform ministry) but the function of the Christian - to minister Christ. That is the ministry, giving Christ, and this ministry must come out of the Cross because there it begins. Paul's ministry began there. The Cross must be the source of all true Holy Spirit ministry.

Now as for the Church, its nature and its purpose, now and forever, what has God in mind from eternity about this elect vessel? What is it? What does the Church exist for in the Divine counsels? Only to be itself a vessel, the embodiment, of all this meaning of the Cross. As with the ministry and  ministers, so with the Church, it must be a crucified Church to preach a crucified Christ and to bring by the Holy Spirit all God's knowledge to men. The Church is a crucified Church. Ah, you look at the beginning and see, way at the beginning of these morning meditations, and see the devastation that took place at the Cross - not only in those of the world but with the disciples. We saw how their own humanity was devastated at the Cross. Scattered and desolated, they are men who have got nothing left when they come to the Cross of the Lord Jesus. In the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, the Church begins. He gathers the scattered fragments, and here and there He is putting the vessel together again, but on Other ground. Why did He tarry forty days? Why? - to make sure that they were on New Ground, that they had really grasped the significance of the Resurrection as a New Ground. And why did He lead them out as far as Bethany and went from them in full view into glory? - to let them know that the Church is on New Ground and on Heavenly Ground now, on Heavenly Ground, and that the headquarters of the Church is not at Jerusalem; it is in Heaven! All is to be governed from Heaven now, because of this Man Who is Exalted. He is the Head, He is the government, but it is Heavenly.

Am I using language that you do not understand or is it too familiar to you? Christ is installed in Heaven as the Representative of this New Humanity, and the Holy Spirit sent down from Heaven is to govern everything, deal with everything, work in everything and in everyone. Firstly, on the relegation to judgment of the old humanity and its development; and, secondly, the initiation and the  development of this Other Humanity. That is what the Holy Spirit is here for.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 45)

Actions, Words, Desires


Actions, words, desires

(Archibald Brown, "The Heart's Cry after God")

"My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God!" Psalm 84:2

The desires of the heart
 are the best proofs of salvation; and if a man wishes to know whether he is really saved or not, he can very soon find out by putting his finger upon the pulse of his desires, for those are things that never can be counterfeit. 
You may counterfeit words
you may counterfeit actions
but you cannot counterfeit desires

You cannot always tell a Christian by his actions.
For sometimes true Christians act in a very ugly style; 
and sometimes those who are not Christians act in a very beautiful way; 
and hypocrites often act the best. The whole of a hypocrite's life may be a simple counterfeit. 

Nor are our words always a true test. Often the most beautiful experience, as far as language goes, is the experience that falls from the lips of a man whose heart knows nothing about the grace of God. It is possible to mix with God's children until you pick up a sort of Christian dialect, and talk ofothers' experiences as though they were your own. Just as a man sojourning in a foreign country will learn a good deal of the language of its inhabitants by simply hearing it spoken--so it is possible to dwell among Christians until their language is in great measure acquired. But talking a language does not constitute a nationality. 

But there is one thing which cannot be picked up or counterfeited, and that is a desire. Let me know my desire--then do I know myself; for I can no more counterfeit a desire than I can counterfeit fire. One says, "Do you want to know what you are? Go ask your desires, and they will tell you. Do you wish to know where you are going? See where your desires tend." 

A good action may be done without any love to that action. And, on the other hand, an evil action may be avoided--not from any hatred to that evil. The good action may be done from an impure motive; the evil action may be avoided simply from a selfish motive. But the desire of the soul--that is the immediate issue of the heart.

caged bird cannot fly--does it therefore cease to be a bird? No; that it does not fly is because it is in a cage. Open the door--see, now, how quickly it darts through the opening, and flies, skimming through the air, heavenward. It has the bird's nature. It had the desire for flight, even when the cruel wires kept it in.

And so is it with the child of God. Often does he get caged, and if you were to judge simply by appearances, you would say, 'Surely he has not the nature of the Christian within.' Only open the door--only give him a chance of flight--and you will see then that, after all, the desire of his soul has been towards God, for, in the language of my text, he says, "My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God!"

The desire of the true Christian is after God Himself. "My heart and my flesh cry out for--for God." This desire swallows up all others!

Longing after God is a more infallible proof you are God's, than your most zealous services, or the very best of your actions. These might be counterfeit--but this longing after God cannot be. 

Oh what must Heaven be! If all the desires of a saint are concentrated in God--then what must the satisfaction of Heaven be when it is all God--God on the throne, God before me, God leading me, God delighting my eyes, God in my songs--the world, its cares, its sorrows, its worries, all gone--a heavenly atmosphere of God all around! How unutterably deep the satisfaction! My heart and my flesh will no longer cry out for God--but will eternally rejoice in Him!

Do not I love thee, O my lord? 
Behold my heart, and see, 
And chase each idol far away, 
That dares to rival thee! 

Thou know'st I love thee, dearest Lord. 
But, oh! I long to soar,
Above the sphere of mortal joys, 
And learn to love thee more!