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Hosted by PAULFROMNYS|Malachi 3:16-18/Bible talk

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 #16   T. Austin Sparks

Started Oct-30 by PAULFROMNYS; 57 views.
PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-30

   

The Testimony of Life in the Church

Now, if this is true and if it is in this way that the Lord is going to fully answer this great thing that has arisen in His universe, this invasion of death, if it is by means of the church, the Body of Christ, that He is going to answer it (and, mark you, He is) although He has answered it in the Person and work of His Son, the full answer and the full outworking of that is to be through His Body. Surely that is the only explanation of the church's history in conflict and pressure, the only explanation of those final scenes of the Bible where wars against the Lamb and the followers of the Lamb are set before us. The only explanation, the only logical explanation, is that His full vindication has to be in a new creation where death has been swallowed up.

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From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-30

   

Now, if that is the truth, then ought it not to affect us very much in our entire mentality and outlook? Is it not just on this very matter that Christianity has deviated? When we begin with the risen Lord, we see this integrating movement of new Life, this drawing together and consolidating into one organic whole. That is the beginning of the working of this life in relation to Christ. We see that develop, we see that established, we see that manifested on the day of Pentecost and for some time afterwards. And what a power it was, what a record of world conquest! In spite of tremendous forces against and many difficulties within and without, oh, what a record!

It has been said that if things had continued just a little longer as they commenced, world evangelisation would have been completed in two generations. Where are we now, in that matter alone? But, you see, it stopped. It came under arrest. Why? For this very reason - the great revelation of the heavenly nature and corporate oneness of the church was lost and Christianity became an earthly system and quickly began to disintegrate and to divide up into sections and sects. The denominational movement very soon set in, and oh, how it has grown and how it is still growing.

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From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-30

   

The denominational movement very soon set in, and oh, how it has grown and how it is still growing.

I picked up a book in America recently - it was quite a book, which contained only the names of the known sects and denominations of Christianity. It ran into hundreds, into thousands, and it is going on. Are you surprised, should we be surprised that that first mighty impact upon this world ceased so soon and is not even now? When Israel was one and focused upon that great central object of the ark of the testimony - in that, held by that - they were one people. There was not a nation, however great, that could stand before them in all the earth - but again it is the type. There was no nation able to stand before the church at its beginning. They went down and down, and when the mightiest nation in history up to that time challenged the church with a determination to blot it out, it was that nation, Rome, that went down. Yes, it ought to affect us in our mentality and our outlook. I am not asking you to go and denounce denominations and denounce as heartily as you can denominationalism and denominations - well, leave them alone, there are true people of God in all of them. But oh, that they recognized that and lived on that, that they were much bigger than their section; their section, if it must be, well it is, after all, of very little account in itself - the thing is the people of God.

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From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-30

   

the thing is the people of God.

We ought to be affected by the great eternal truth, the great divine facts and God's thoughts, and if we are we shall find that there is Life and the testimony will be unmistakable. It will not be the testimony in phraseology, in terminology, or necessarily in interpretation of doctrine. I do not know what many of you people mean when you talk about the testimony. Are you talking about or thinking about this Life which is death destroying? Is that what you mean, when you say you are in the testimony? I hope you mean that, that you are in the reality and the experience and the manifestation of the Life which destroys death. That is the testimony of the Christ and there is no other. Let us be very clear about that. The testimony, being the testimony of Life and not of form or of expression, not all the components of doctrine, although the doctrine, of course, will have to be true; the impact, the registration, the effect, will be Life. That is the answer. Oh, it is true that we can be so orthodox, so correct, so absolutely precise in terms of teaching and doctrine in the utterness of our fundamental position on the verities of Bible truth, and to be dead as anything can be. And that is not the testimony. It does not mean that we can be other than correct and right in doctrine, but there is a plus without which the testimony is not there. The testimony is that plus when God gets things as He designed - that is, a people in the true organic oneness of this Life and living on that basis, with their whole mentality adjusted and governed by it. And when God gets a people like that, you meet those people and you find that somehow there is Life, even if you may not understand what they are talking about! The answer to your spirit is Life, it satisfies you before you understand. The answer is Life. The criterion of everything is Life in the risen Lord expressed in His Body.

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From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-30

   

A New Creation

Just now I used the words "in a new creation". Luke, at the end of this chapter with which we have been occupied, leads the company who have been gathered and regathered, out as far as Bethany. There the Lord blesses them, and, as He is blessing, He is taken up from them. John gives an extra fact. John says "He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit" (John 20:22). What has He done? He has gathered a Body and put the Life of new creation in it in figure. I believe it was potential, it was prophetic, not actual. He was securing them unto the day of Pentecost, it was as good as done. The symbolic act was that He brought the corporate new Man into being. That was, of course, fully done on the day of Pentecost and the church was born. But figuratively He did it then. He breathed on them. We can say He breathed into them typically: "Receive ye the Holy Spirit" He is the Spirit of Life. And He did not go from one to another doing it. He did it on the company. It was a company on the day of Pentecost that received the breath from heaven as it was with that company at Bethany. The new creation is a company, it is a Body indwelt by the Holy Spirit, actuated by the Holy Spirit, actually made one by the Holy Spirit. "In one Spirit were we all baptised into one body" (1 Cor. 12:13). The oneness is the oneness of the Holy Spirit. "Giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit" (Eph. 4:3), not to make it but to keep it. A new creation.

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From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-30

   

Well now, of course that is just the key that opens the door to everything when you see what new creation Life means. And with that you introduce the whole matter of the proper order, the proper regulated order, of heavenly Life. Heavenly Life is according to heavenly law. It is not lawless. Each member of this body is not a law unto himself or herself. We are bound by this integrating, regulating law, that we are not allowed to be independent. Here the Holy Spirit forbids it. We are not allowed to take the law into our own hands. We are not allowed to act as individuals; the Holy Spirit will not allow it. There is a regulating order with this Life. This Life expresses itself according to its own laws, as life does in every part of the organic creation. It follows its own lines. That part of the creation follows the laws of the life which it possesses, and this is the Life of the Spirit, and you have not to organise or systematize this. Immediately you begin to do it, you bring death in. It is as fatal to try and make a New Testament church after the New Testament pattern as it is to have no pattern at all! It can be deathly to do that. The thing happens if the Life has its way. We have learned this, yet, much as we know about the truth, we are still so much governed by our own natural life, even in our spiritual activities. There is disorder and running before the Spirit. However, we are all in the school, and we are just stating the laws, the principles and the truth that here you have no need to go and organize something on a New Testament basis. It will come about if the Holy Spirit is really having His way in terms of Life.

How do you test it? You can test this in many ways. So often when somebody just acts in their own life, off their own bat, everybody feels bad. That is not right, that is out of order. They have not a written code of laws and regulations by which they are governed, and they do not say, 'That is not according to the Blue Book of our rules and regulations for the procedure in public worship', but it is inside, something inside feels bad. You feel, 'There is something wrong about it, that is out of order, that is out of place; my feeling about that in my spirit, as I seek to understand what Life with the Lord is, is that there is something not quite right about that.' There is the law of Life at work. Is it not the best way? Far better than drawing up our Blue Book of regulations and throwing it at the head of the delinquents.

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From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-30

   

God's Sovereign Beginnings

You can see all this that I am saying, and very much more, in the government of the life of Israel. You have only to take this phrase that the Lord used in resurrection, or that He spoke after His resurrection, as to what He had said before; dividing the Scriptures into Moses, the psalms and the prophets. You have only to take this first phrase - Moses, meaning the books of Moses, and in those very books and their titles you have what I have been saying. Genesis - the book of beginnings... "In the beginning God". And Paul, many centuries afterwards, understanding the spiritual significance lying behind the natural creation, said, "If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature" (there is a new creation - A.R.V) (2 Cor. 5:17). "If any man is in Christ, there is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, they are become new. But all things are of (out from) God". In the new creation, all things are out from God. "In the beginning God..." and that is being applied. It is not just some static fact that lies back there at some remote beginning. Look at it being applied. Whenever things deviate from God's thought, He begins again out from Himself. Each one of those men of whom we have been speaking - Abel, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and Joseph, represent an intervention of God at a certain point to start again; if you like, an innovation from heaven, God steps in. Abraham away there in Ur of the Chaldees - the God of glory appeared. The initiative is with God. "In the beginning God". All the way along, be it individuals, be it the world, be it Israel deviating, going away and moving off of God's basis - all right, let them, God will begin again. Again and again He reacts to these deviations by "in the beginning God", and this is God's new beginning.

It is in the history of the church. Christendom as a whole deviates and God begins again. Look down these Christian ages and see the new beginnings. And God, again and again when the church as a whole has deviated, see God's movement... with Moravians, Waldensians, with Luther, Wesley, and so God steps in and starts again where there has been deviation. That is God's new beginning where things have gone wrong. He is doing that now. Genesis - the principle continually applied, not something back there so many thousands of years ago, but now - Genesis: all things out from God, nothing out from man, nothing conceived by man or brought into being by man. God the Source, the Spring, the Beginning of everything - an abiding principle.

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From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-30

   

Exodus - here is the principle carried over to a nation. "In the beginning God." How does Exodus begin? "Now these are the names of the sons of Jacob"? No, "Israel". Was that God intervening and bringing to an end something - Jacob, and beginning again - Israel? Exodus begins with something that God has brought into view, and then the story of the Exodus is God taking the initiative. If it says one thing more than another, it is that God is doing this, even in spite of the weakness of the people with whom He is doing it and for whom He is doing it; God is doing this. In spite of Pharaoh and all the evil powers, God is doing this. This people is produced by God. The exodus is out from God. So He constitutes now a nation, a corporate body, by His own initiative, created of God.

Leviticus - what is it? it is the centralizing, the focusing, the coordinating of this whole people in a priest, in a High Priest, as a priestly people focused in the Ark, the Holy of Holies, and the High Priest. That governs everything. They are made one, they are gathered around that. They are the corporate whole because of that centre, that High Priestly centre.

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From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-30

   

Numbers - what is that? Well, is it not the ordering, the putting into right order, of this people with a view to action? It is not just to have a beautiful order. While it is good to have that and God wants to have beautiful order, perhaps for its own sake, but here God is saying that the next step unto effectiveness of testimony must be an ordered people. There they are numbered, there they are arranged. There they are brought into a regulated and coordinated life for war and for service and progress, because progress, real progress, can never be by a rabble, a mere crowd, a mob. Real progress, real development, real advance - and now we must speak in spiritual terms - spiritual advance, spiritual progress, spiritual fulness, spiritual enlargement, demands spiritual order, heavenly order. Get out of that heavenly order and your spiritual progress is arrested.

Deuteronomy - what is that? The reaffirmation of the whole, God coming back, and saying, as it were, 'You must not just take this as something done, something that lies back there in the past; this is something to be ratified and confirmed right up to the end.' It leads to the death of Moses; the end of God in that particular economic. The last thing is ratification and confirmation of the testimony. Deuteronomy is the confirmation of the testimony in all its terms. That is where we get in the book of the Revelation - a confirmation of the testimony in the churches being reminded that this is not static doctrine which belongs to the past and has become a tradition. It is right up to date in relation to Him that lives and was dead and is alive for evermore. It is the testimony of Life ratified.

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From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-30

   

Well, you see how much ground I have tried to cover, and what a lot there is bound up with this. It could take us on for a long time. But what is the point of emphasis now? It is this after all, that God has set His heart upon and is still seeking to have an expression of this corporate testimony, this vessel, this corporate vessel of testimony. He is still set upon it, He is still wanting it. It does not mean that all Christians from all over the world and all connections are going to form themselves into one body under one designation. That would not last long, it would very quickly become not corporate but composite, a poor show and pretence and an imitation of something. But in the Spirit, in heart, in our minds, in our activities, our relationships, we keep this fact dominant: though there may be things with which we cannot agree or do not agree with the position to which we have come, wherever there are children of God they are related to us by one Life and we to them. And that is going to be a secret of strength, a secret of fulness.

We would that we should all come to the full knowledge of the truth, we should all come to see the same way. Would to God that that could be, but we must leave the whole matter of the measure of that with the Lord. The point for us is to recognise what the Lord wants, how it is to be brought about and for what He wants it - the testimony of His Son, the power of a mighty Life which is going ultimately to vanquish death entirely, that there shall be that in the earth which holds that testimony. The Lord help us!

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