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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 #13   T. Austin Sparks

Started Oct-27 by PAULFROMNYS; 38 views.
PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-27

   

Chapter 6 - The Testimony of a Nation

 

"And He said unto them, These are My words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses, and the prophets, and the psalms, concerning Me" (Luke 24:44).

This great twenty-fourth chapter of Luke's Gospel has been the basis and the key to our time together in this conference, and this chapter has led us to see that throughout the whole Bible there is one all-governing point at issue. It is Life being triumphant through the Cross, that is, through death and resurrection. And we have been seeing God's dealings with a chain of men with this matter, this particular matter, explaining all those dealings of God with them and explaining all their strange and oft-times bewildering experiences. We have seen these men - Abel, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph - taken into the most perplexing situations, the most bewildering conditions under the hand of God, and then we have seen afterwards the issue of it all, and the issue was this - Life triumphant over death through what, in their respective experiences and histories, was a working of the principle of the Cross - death and resurrection. Now we dwell upon that in a somewhat general way without taking up any further particular fragments for the moment.

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PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-27

   

The Trial of Faith

When God had these men, these people, in His hands with the thought always in His mind of bringing out by means of them this great testimony of Life overcoming and vanquishing death, He never told them what He was doing and very often He never told them that He was doing anything. All that they knew was that they had come into some relationship with God, God had become the great reality in their lives. Somehow or other between Him and their inner being a strong link had been formed, a strong tie had been created that they were somehow bound up with Him and He with them, and that their destiny hung upon that relationship. Beyond that, more than that, very often they knew little. It was a strong hold upon them inwardly. Sometimes they were more conscious of it; at other times they were less conscious of it. And I repeat, although they were going through such big, and to them very real and deep and often terrible experiences, God did not tell them what He was doing, and I say again: He very often did not tell them He was doing anything. That is, of course, the place where the whole principle of faith was found.

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PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-27

   

That is, of course, the place where the whole principle of faith was found.

They were called upon in their relationship with God to believe without any explanation and believe without any sensation; just to believe God. The death - for it was that really in principle - the death into which they were repeatedly plunged and which demanded resurrection and nothing short of a resurrection, so often and usually took some form that did not seem to contain a great spiritual meaning. It was just an experience. It was very real and very terrible, but it did not always seem to circle round some great spiritual issue. It often seemed more to be as though God had forgotten them. At some times they felt that God had abandoned them and everything seemed to say that. The things seemed to say that. You remember the prophet puts those words into the mouth of Israel - "Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and the justice due to me is passed away from my God?" Isa. 40:27). You look into the lives of these men and you find it was often like that. There was no evidence at the time that they were being very, very carefully thought of by God, and that He was really with them.

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PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-27

   

We were speaking about Joseph. Up until the time that the word of the Lord came and Pharaoh sent and brought him up out of the dungeon, until that time there was no evidence that the Lord was with him. Indeed, he might well have concluded that he was forgotten, out of mind, abandoned, forsaken, and yet the one thing that is said about Joseph, not only at the time when he came up into the place of resurrection and exaltation, but throughout - "The Lord was with him". If you had told Joseph that, he would have said, 'Well, there is not much proof of it and not much evidence.'

The language that might well have expressed the feelings of these men would have been formed of such words as 'misfortune', 'fate', 'my fate', or, in modern language 'bad luck', or 'strange calamity'. "There seems to be some evil design back of my life, nothing seems to go right". That is the human side, and such language, if looked at only from that side, was justifiable. It was like that. These men were writing a story, a story composed of happenings, and most of the happenings were unfortunate happenings from the human standpoint, and they had not a clue to the meaning of the story. It is we who have the sequel. Most of them did not get the sequel to their story. "These all died in faith, not having received the promises" (Heb. 11:13). They did not know the meaning of the story they were writing. It was a story of happenings which to them had at most a very limited explanation. Yes, we have the sequel, the sequel is ours in many cases. It often seemed to those men, I am sure, that some evil destiny had got them into a trap and there was no way out. Look at them, call them to mind.

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PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-27

   

Israel a Corporate Vessel of the Testimony

Take the last and cumulative one - Joseph. He could have said "Some evil destiny seems to have got me into a trap; here I am down here in this dungeon, forgotten and alone, and there is no way out". Now this chain of individuals handed on that legacy to the nation. Joseph, the last link in the chain of individuals, gathered up all their experiences and passed them into the nation so that the nation inherited this legacy of trouble, as it seemed, a legacy of something that God was working out by such means and in such ways. The nation took up that kind of experience, the nation became the corporate vessel of the deposit of this that God was doing, the meaning of which we are now able to see, which they could not see. So Israel the nation, the family nation, in the wilderness became the corporate body of this very testimony which had been working out in the individual.

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PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-27

   

this very testimony which had been working out in the individual.

See them in the wilderness... constantly brought into situations which were altogether out of their depth, out of their depth for coping, for understanding, for explaining, for enduring, for life itself. Their cry again and again when they looked at it and took account of it from the merely human earthly standpoint was "brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly", to die... impossible to live... Out of their depth in every way, and out of their depth to live. In the wilderness all natural and all acquired qualifications meant nothing. They may have qualified in any of the academies and taken the best degree, graduated and become tremendously efficient in that realm, but it was no good here. They may have been something in themselves in that world, but they are nothing here. It is no use to them here at all. No, whether they have natural abilities, qualities, or whether they had acquired such, here in the wilderness these things did not stand them in stead at all, they were of no value. They might have been the most qualified agriculturalists, but what is the good of that in the wilderness? So you might pass round the whole compass of qualifications in the schools and the colleges and the institutes.

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PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-27

   

So you might pass round the whole compass of qualifications in the schools and the colleges and the institutes.

Luke 24:44 speaks of men who were very full of Bible knowledge and it stood them in no stead because of their experience. The Lord said, "These are the words which I spoke unto you when I was yet with you, in Moses, the prophets and the psalms - that is your whole Bible. You have got it, it is no use to you, in your present situation it does not do you any good, you are out of your depth." Something more than academic knowledge, even of the Bible, is required for this testimony. It may be a foundation and I am not setting aside such values, but it does not carry you through. Something more is required.

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