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Monday, February 1, 2016

The Cross, the Church, and the Kingdom # 60

The Crowning (continued)

Crowning In Relation to An Ordeal (continued)

Now the point is that there is something very serious on hand; and that is, of course, the sum of all these meditations. From beginning to end, the Lord has been seeking to make us aware of the serious business that is on hand just now for the Church - no less a thing than the fulfillment of its vocation, the accomplishment of its course, the preserving intact of its trust. Expressed in other terms, that is no less a matter than proving the absolute Lordship of Jesus Christ in the realm of satanic forces - forces which are so evidently pressing in and seeking, with new, far-reaching efforts and activities, to set the kingdom of God aside and to rule out the Lord Jesus from this world. If I am not mistaken, the Lord would rally His Church at this end time and make it aware of that for which it was eternally chosen in Christ and for which it exists as the instrument and vessel - the answering of that challenge in this universe to the sovereign rights of the Lord Jesus.

Are we really alive to the fact of the tremendous challenge to the kingdom of God that exists in the world today? We hear of many disturbing things happening. I hope you are not regarding them all simply on the earthly level and becoming more or less paralyzed by the outlook. Rather we ought to look behind the events, and see the portent, the significance of them. What we wee and hear is only the forefront of the situation, the earthly aspect of something more, something other; and that other is satan's bid - perhaps his last - for the kingdom.

We are getting very near the last days. Spiritually discerning people can surely see the drift of things today, and in the light of that the people of God must know where they stand, and it is not beside the point at all to quote words like these - "The devil is about to ast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days." Do not take that literally; ten is the number of responsibility. 'You are going to be put into a position where the whole responsibility for the testimony of Jesus will be worked out in whether you stand or go under, and it will become a matter of faithfulness unto death.' Now, whether there be a literal prison or not, we can see that the people of God are facing very serious prospects at this time. We may not all be feeling the full force of the antagonism just now, but such statements are very apropos to the situation of many. The evil thing is creeping on; and the Church is chosen to give the answer to it. And in our measure we are all involved. Of course, how much you really count spiritually depends entirely upon how much you are going on with the Lord, what your spiritual position is; but some of us, who have had time enough to learn, do know that spiritual pressure is a thing more intense today than ever we have known it in our lives. The enemy did at one time seem to give us a certain amount of respite, but he does not give us very much now. One thing follows another, I may be talking into the air for some of you, but sooner or later you will find that this is true.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 61 - (The Crown of Righteousness)

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