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Based on Malachi 3:16-18 I believe the Lord will harken to us as we consider his word together.

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The Testimony of the Christ #9   T. Austin Sparks

Started Oct-23 by PAULFROMNYS; 34 views.
PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-23

   

Chapter 4 - A Parenthesis

 

Before we proceed, I feel led to put in a parenthetical word, because it is so easy for us to just come and to hear a great deal of Bible teaching and for it not to really head us up to any kind of practical result or crisis. And so we just stop a little while to try and get this definite application of all that is being said. It still arises out of our great basic Scripture, Luke 24, and verse 15 -

"And it came to pass, while they communed and questioned together, that Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were hold en that they should not know him. And he said unto them, What communications are these that ye have one with another, as ye walk? And they stood still, looking sad" (Luke 24:15-17).

I want to link on with that three other passages from other parts of the Bible.

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PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-23

   

"And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto the man, and said unto him, Where art thou?" (Gen. 3:8-9).

"And he (Elijah) came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?" (1 Kings 19:9).

"I John, your brother and partaker with you in the tribulation and kingdom and patience which are in Jesus, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus" (Rev. 1:9) 

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PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-23

   

There are times when we are called upon to take account of where we are in relation to the Lord's testimony and to say why we are where we are. That is what arises in the four passages we have just read. The two on the Emmaus road were challenged and interrogated as to where they were and why they were where they were. The two in the garden were likewise challenged as to where they stood where they were, and compelled to divulge why they were there. Elijah was also called upon by the Lord to declare himself as to where he was and what he was doing there, or why he was there. And under the constraint of the Holy Spirit, John declared where he was and why he was there, and in every case the interrogation or challenge or demand, related to the Lord's testimony.

The Lord's purpose in the case of the garden at the beginning was symbolised and represented by the Tree of Life. That was the thing that governed and dominated everything. It was the issue, and quite clearly it proved to be. It was the whole question of Life, and it was centred in that tree, the Tree of Life. Everything circled round it. All that is there in the story was bound up with it. We are not going to analyse that more fully. We make the statement. If you have any doubt about it or desire to have that proved, you have to go to the other end of the Bible, right at the end of the book of Revelation, and it is the Tree of Life in the midst of the city of God. And that dominates and governs everything. It is the Lord's testimony. And man's position therefore, right at the beginning, was challenged as to its relationship to the Lord's testimony of Life.

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PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-23

   

The Government of Life

Elijah was the great prophet of Life. How much he had to do with death and the overcoming of death, the vanquishing and nullifying of death! It was his great ministry. Eventually he went up in a chariot of fire and death had no power over him - the great victory over death. His life stood related to that testimony with which we are occupied in this conference - victory over death. But here in the passage from his life which we have read, we find him being challenged as to a position in which he is found where that testimony was concerned, and compelled to say where he was and why he was there. We come to that again.

Those two on the Emmaus road were most certainly involved in the testimony of the Lord, the testimony of death and its conquest, but they were anything but in the good of it and were challenged as to their position. It could be put in another way. The Lord Jesus could be represented as having said, 'Why are you here? Where are you really? Why are you where you are?'

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PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-23

   

And there is no doubt about it in the case of John. Why, John's greatest word in all his writings is Life, and it is John who at the end sums up the testimony and says, "The witness is this, that God gave unto us eternal life, and this life is in his Son" (1 John 5:11). That is the Bible in a nutshell, and John is here declaring where he is and why he is there - for the testimony of Jesus.

It is then, in every case, the government of that testimony of Life. That is the criterion in every case. Now, each one of these had a different relationship to that testimony, and each one of them had to state what that relationship was, had to divulge and to come out with it, if we may put it like that. They had to come right out into the open and declare themselves as to their position and why they were in it.

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PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-23

   

They had to come right out into the open and declare themselves as to their position and why they were in it.

Let us take it up there first of all. Are we seeing, or have we seen, that after all, our Christianity and all that comprises Christianity as we know it, all our Bible study and knowledge, all our Christian activity, work and organization, all our Christian institutions and everything that goes by the name of Christianity, after all the criterion is this - "Is it a death destroying reality, is it a real testimony, a living effectual testimony to the fact that death is vanquished and where you touch it where you are, that is the effect; that death is overcome?" I say that is the test. We have more to say about some aspects of that perhaps at another time. But it is not all that makes up Christianity that proves it to be the thing that God is after, it is whether the testimony of the Lord is really there, and the testimony of the Lord is that there where we are, there is an effectual expression of the fact that death is overcome; not our orthodoxy, not our soundness of doctrine, not our evangelicalism but the impact of a life which conquers death, or the Life which has conquered death being where we are. If that is true, that is the testimony of the Christ. Now then, what is our position, where are we, and why are we where we are?

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PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-23

   

Adam

Adam was out of a living, God-appointed relationship to the testimony of the Lord. There is no doubt about that. They hid themselves when they heard the Lord, when they heard - our translation says 'the voice'  the margin says, the sound of the Lord - they hid themselves. That means, of course, that there had awakened in them that consciousness which made them inwardly know that they were out of adjustment with what the Lord meant, that their position was not a right one. There was something gravely wrong with their position. The Lord came and said, 'Where are you?' meaning in relation to the place where I intended you to be, the position I intended you to occupy. 'Where are you? Are you where you should be or are you somewhere else?'

That is capable of very wide application. It is the sort of question that is challenging people all round and making them uneasy. I am in some position in myself or in some relationship outside of myself. Well, it is Christian, but there is a doubt about it, there is a reservation about it, there is a sense that it is not all right that I should be as I am or where I am. That is the first thing.

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PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-23

   

And in the case of Adam, he was in a wrong relationship to the testimony because of disobedience. He had had light, he had been shown by the Lord where he should be and what he should do, what the Lord's will for him really was, and he had not obeyed the light that the Lord had given. Rather he had disobeyed. That is quite simple, but that sort of thing - just for some reason he had refused to go the Lord's way, he had rejected the light the Lord had brought to him and had taken another course. For some reason he had just been disobedient. Maybe, as in his case, he thought he would get something better by taking another way, or he was going to lose something by taking this way. That was the suggestion made to him. Whatever the reason, personal interests or anything of that, the point is that he had had light and had not followed it and it put him right out of vital relationship to God's testimony and he did not follow through. So far as Adam and his line is concerned, the door is closed and the Lord takes up His testimony with others. It will require another Adam to reopen that door. That man cannot open it. It is serious to sin against light, to reject light. It is a very serious thing to see what the Lord is after and not to follow through.

However, there it is: disobedience to light, and that is the explanation. We have to come back. No excuses will pass with the Lord. Adam tried to excuse, he tried to find a way out of his predicament, but that does not do with the Lord. The Lord just closed right down on him and said, 'You know quite well that when it comes to the last word, you knew what I wanted and you did not do it, you did the opposite: into the dark, into the death, out of the testimony of the Lord.

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