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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 #20   T. Austin Sparks

Started Nov-4 by PAULFROMNYS; 39 views.
PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Nov-4

   

Chapter 9 - A Practical Issue

 

Reading: Luke 24:13-21.

I feel that the Lord would have us seek to bring matters to very practical issues. A very great deal of ground has been covered, a large amount of material employed, many words have been spoken and many things indicated and implied. And now we must seek in a simple way to see what it means, what it amounts to and where we are in the matter.

These two of whom we have just read on the Emmaus road were representative of a much larger company. Not only of the twelve or the eleven disciples, but Paul speaks of some five hundred who saw Him after His resurrection. And I think we are quite right in surmising that the five hundred, and there may have been many more, were very much in the position of these two, and the fact is they were out of things, they were really not in the good of the truth. There was a great truth which had already been passed to them by the Lord Himself. As you notice, He said later in this very chapter, "These are my words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you", and it was a great range of truth focused upon one tremendous thing. A great deal of truth had been passed to them by Him. That truth had been put into expression within the past few years of their lives, and now its great issue was taking place and they were not in the good of it, they were out of it. And that raises the first quite simple, precise challenge to us.

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From: PAULFROMNYS

Nov-4

   

Are We in the Good of What We Have?

Are we really in the good of all that has been given to us by the Lord? Are we in the position to which all that ought to have brought us? Are we in this great testimony of the Christ which is the subject of this chapter and all that is gathered into this chapter as we have been seeing from Genesis onwards? Are we in the good of this mighty thing: the power, the Life of His resurrection and all that that means? Some of you are blessedly able to give an affirmative answer.

Of course, it means more than that, as we have been trying to show: the relatedness which results from it. For they were scattered until they did really apprehend in a living way His livingness, and then they began to come together. All the scattered bones came together, bone to his bone, and in the end they were one organic and living whole, and that was a fruit. Are you in the good of it? They were not at this time. No, we may say that little, if any, of all that it meant was being enjoyed by them or was being experienced by them. And it may be more or less the same matter with us. The question is just this - Are we right in or are we out? Is this true of us or is it not true?

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From: PAULFROMNYS

Nov-4

   

Is this true of us or is it not true?

Now the Lord, in drawing up alongside, asked them the reason for their condition; asked them to state why it was that they were as they were - knowing, as we earlier said, knowing quite well why and all about it better than they did. But knowing also that it is a big movement towards a crisis when we begin to precisely state our reasons and the causes for our position. It is always a great help to do that and especially if we state it to the Lord. Well, when He asked them the reason for their condition, they gave as the explanation the recent happenings, things which had happened in their lives, in their experiences, things which really ought to have had exactly the opposite effect to what they had had. However, they gave these happenings as the reason for their condition. He proceeded to give them another point of view from which to look at those happenings, and having given them another standpoint and another interpretation, He confirmed what He said with that final momentary sight of Himself in the house or the inn, whatever it was, in Emmaus. Their eyes were opened and they saw Him. And He vanished out of their sight - a confirmation of what He had said.

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From: PAULFROMNYS

Nov-4

   

And He vanished out of their sight - a confirmation of what He had said.

Well now, this had a very good effect upon them. They felt better, decidedly better, and they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem with a good deal of zest. If you had met them then and asked them for the meaning of their position, they would have given an explanation to that which probably would have been very exaggerated. It was like one of those times which perhaps some of you know when you have been going through a bad time, things have been very difficult in yourself, in your own lives or in circumstances. Everything, you would say, has gone wrong, everything has broken down, and it has been a very difficult time indeed and all looks black. You see no way through. Then someone has come along and talked to you, given you some explanations and some interpretations, and, with their strong and confident manner and personality you have felt a lot better, you have felt quite different, felt quite hopeful again and you have gone away quite cheerful. But the real work has not been done. Old strongholds within have not been broken down and the position, though apparently more hopeful and the condition seemingly more cheerful, is still not very secure.

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From: PAULFROMNYS

Nov-4

   

But the real work has not been done. Old strongholds within have not been broken down and the position, though apparently more hopeful and the condition seemingly more cheerful, is still not very secure.

Now I am keeping close to the Book in the back of my mind, because it took quite a lot, a tremendous thing, to get these men firmly established on their feet after this. It is like that. The real work still waits to be done. The fact is that we have been in a false position, just as they had. They had been in a false position, and that false position had not been destroyed with that talk, nor with that momentary glimpse of Him. You say, How do you know that? Are you imagining? I said that they were representative. You remember almost to the last minute before He was caught up from them they asked this question - "Dost thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6). That was their false position. They were still clinging to something of the old and that false position had not really been destroyed though they had had this wonderful stimulus. It may just be like that, not really in... in all that this means, because of a false position somewhere.  The position is not true, is not right, is not sound, is not safe. The thing is far more inward than can be put right by stimulating discourses. That may only add to the falseness of the position. There is something deep to be done inside. Why were they as they were on this way? Why were the others like them?

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From: PAULFROMNYS

Nov-4

   

Why were they as they were on this way? Why were the others like them?

The Need for Brokenness

Well, let us say at once, they really were not broken men. They looked like it and they sounded like it. To have heard them talk you would have imagined that it was so, but really they were not. What was broken? The thing that was broken for them was their picture of sitting on thrones in the kingdom on this earth. Their ministry was broken, their position was broken, their earthly prospects were broken in the kingdom. They themselves were not broken. It was their ambition that was broken, or the object of their ambition. The shattering, although registering of course seriously upon their souls, the shattering was really still an objective thing. "We hoped that it was he who should redeem Israel". And if you look through the Gospels, you see what the idea of the Israelites was as represented by the disciples about the kingdom. I hope I am not too hard on them, but I do know that this is so true to life, that we can be out of things because something precious has been broken, not because we have been broken, but because we see some prospect, some outlook, some ministry, some position being taken from us. 

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From: PAULFROMNYS

Nov-4

   

"We hoped that it was he who should redeem Israel". And if you look through the Gospels, you see what the idea of the Israelites was as represented by the disciples about the kingdom. I hope I am not too hard on them, but I do know that this is so true to life, that we can be out of things because something precious has been broken, not because we have been broken, but because we see some prospect, some outlook, some ministry, some position being taken from us. 

This is borne out, surely, by what the Lord said in answer. "Behoved it not the Christ to suffer these things, and to enter into his glory?" They had not calculated on the suffering. They had not taken that into their reckoning. They had only seen the glory. The glory had enamoured, the glory of this kingdom on the earth in which they would have places. The suffering aspect had not gripped them at all, and they were in a false position because of that. "Behoved it not the Christ to suffer?"

Well now, you see that brings us to a very practical point. Because they were in that position, that false position, it was absolutely essential that the Cross should shatter them. They had to be shattered. They had to become broken men. All God's purpose, all that God means for us on that other side of the Cross in union with Christ risen and exalted absolutely demands brokenness, complete brokenness, in all those concerned. Not just the brokenness of their pictures and outward hopes, but an inward brokenness. "We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves" (2 Cor. 4:7). The self-hood broken, broken vessels for heavenly eternal fulness.

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