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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 Cross and the City of GOD #4   T. Austin Sparks

Started Aug-6 by PAULFROMNYS; 135 views.





Chapter 3 - Strength, Stability, Light, Sovereignty



In the earlier chapters we have seen some of the characteristics of the "City of God."

1. A spiritual people with a heavenly nature. "According to the Eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Eph. 3:11.

2. The glory of God in the people of God; the revelation and realisation of His own nature in a people; "He hath granted unto us His precious and exceeding great promises; that through these ye may become partakers of the Divine nature." - 2 Peter 1:4.

3. Elevation and holiness; ascendancy is a feature of the people of God after His own heart; "His foundation is in His holy mountains." - Ps. 87:1. "Like as He who called you is holy, be ye yourselves holy in all manner of living, because it is written, be ye holy for I am holy." - 1 Peter 1:4. Babylon is of the earth; Zion of the heights.

4. Life. The "River of Life," clear as crystal. This denotes transparency. The "Tree of Life," twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month, Rev. 22:2 A.R.V. (Marg.) and the leaves of the tree for the maintenance of health in the nations; a life triumphant over death. Christ has conquered death; this "Life" within to be a feature of His people, beginning now and increasing day by day. To that we are called and in that "life" we should be moving.

5. The fullness and greatness of the city, "he measured the city, twelve thousand furlongs... the city lieth foursquare... the length and the breadth... and the height thereof are equal." - Rev. 21. You could not find land space for twelve thousand furlongs each way in the Western Hemisphhere in which to place the city: we turn to the Ephesian letter, 3:17,19, and read again the prayer of the Apostle Paul, "that ye may be strengthened with power through the Spirit... that ye being rooted and grounded in love, may be strong to apprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye may be filled unto all the fulness of God," the fulness and greatness of this City of God - a people filled unto the fulness of God; here we find the realisation of the Apostle's prayer; and unto that we are called.

6. The feature of transparency; everything that makes up this city is said to be clear as crystal, transparent. So the people of God are to approximate to this thought of God, and transparency is to characterise their spiritual life now.

We now come to consider the characteristics of

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Strength, Stability, Light, Sovereignty.

The foundations of this city, this people of God, are very solid; the foundations are tried stones, and the wall is great and high. All this speaks of strength and stability.

The throne is central, and is the manifestation of the might of God in weakness - the "Little Lamb" in the midst of the throne is greater than all the might of hell and sin; the Lamb hath conquered, and the Lamb in the midst of the throne is the LIFE that hath triumphed over death in all its range and depth, in every realm; a strength out of weakness, a strength that endures from eternity to eternity. And the people of God, who are the called according to His Eternal purpose are a people possessing this eternal life in Christ Jesus.

As God's people, ours is an eternal calling, unto an eternal purpose possessing an eternal life; a life that lasts out and triumphs in all and over all; "They overcame... by the Blood of the Lamb." - Rev. 12:11.

"God has given unto us eternal life and this life is in his Son, he that hath the Son hath the Life." - 1 John 5:11,12, A.R.V. John 6:53-56.

"The Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God; her light was like unto a stone most precious, as it were a jasper stone clear as crystal." - Rev. 21:10,11.

"The city hath no need of the sun... for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof." - Rev. 21:23.

Her light as a stone most precious, no need of the sun - the light was over all in its sovereign power. These features all blend and are all related to one another, strength and stability are related to light and all three lead to sovereignty; thus we are given to understand the nature of sovereignty.

"His foundation is in the holy mountains, Jehovah loveth the gates of Zion... glorious things are spoken of thee O city of God... the Most High Himself shall establish it." - Ps. 87. This - in relation to the City of God - is a key to a tremendous unfolding of the strength, stability and sovereignty of this city. See the significance of the Name of God which the Holy Spirit chooses to use here "Ey-Elyon" the Most High God Possessor of heaven and earth.

Turn to Isa. 14:12-14. - "How thou art fallen from heaven, O Lucifer Son of the Morning... for thou hast said in thy heart, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God... I will be like the most High." Yes, it was the Most High God, Possessor of heaven and earth whom Lucifer challenged; it was his aspiration to possess heaven and earth.

The Lord Jesus, when on earth, referred to Satan as the Prince of this world; and in Eph. 6 the church of God is shown her warfare is in the heavenlies. The establishment of the city of God is by El-Elyon, the Most High God and is unto the casting down to hell of all the powers of Satan; Satan and his sovereignty cast down for ever.

Trace the word "to establish," through the Scriptures. "The Most High Himself shall establish her." - Ps. 87:5.

"He brought me out of a horrible pit, (Heb. a pit of destruction). He set my feet upon a rock and established my goings." - Ps. 40:2.

"Beautiful for situation - (beautiful in elevation, A.R.V.) a joy of the whole earth is Mount Zion... the city of the great King... God will establish it for ever." - Ps. 48:2,8.

"He shall build a house for my Name and he shall be my son... and I will establish the throne of his kingdom... for ever." - 1 Chron. 22:10.

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Uncertainty, a Master-stroke of Satan.

To prevent assurance of faith is the devil's own work, it is his aim to get the Lord's people unsettled; and doubt is one of his most subtle means of working. It was so in the beginning, "hath God said?" - Gen. 3:1, and it is still his method. The way, and the only way, to frustrate this is by being established in the faith, Acts 16:5; Col. 2:7. "Stand fast in the faith." - 1 Cor. 16.

"A true heart in full assurance of faith." Heb. 10:22.

"Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion walketh about seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith." - 1 Peter 5:8,9.

"I know... where thou dwellest even where Satan's seat (throne, A.R.V.) is... and thou holdest fast my name and hast not denied my faith." - Rev. 2:13.

The great need of God's people is to be established in the faith, not just established in doctrine, in an orthodox gospel, or by acquiring knowledge of fundamental truth, but established by an inward knowledge of our standing in the Lord Jesus on the ground of His finished work and complete triumph over the devil and all his works. So many of the Lord's children lack this assurance of their position in the Lord; yet it is written: "God chose us in Him before the foundation of the world... in love having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto Himself." Eph. 1:4,5.

"There is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." - Rom. 8:1.

"He hath made us accepted in the Beloved." Eph. 1:6. This acceptance has to do with warfare, all things in our "so great salvation" are related to God's Eternal purpose in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Eph. 3:11.

"Thanks be to God who leadeth us from place to place in the train of His triumph to celebrate His victory over the enemies of Christ." 2 Cor. 2:14.

The people of God are robbed of their fighting power when the enemy has got them to doubt and question their standing in Christ. God must build His city in certainty, and we must stand in the full assurance of faith.

"The foundations of the wall of the city were furnished with all manner of precious stones." - Rev. 21:19.

"The trial of your faith being much more precious than gold... though it be tried by fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." - 1 Peter 1:7.

Get the internal troubles settled, then you can get on with the work. To be established in the faith with full assurance enables us to strike a blow at Principalities and Powers; but the devil and his hosts have much power where there is uncertainty, doubt, question. When the believer knows the power of the personal "I know" because of full assurance in the Word of God, then that very knowledge is a weapon of defence against the enemy; hence he desires to prevent assurance by inserting doubt whenever he gets a chance.

Stand on God's facts and not on the quicksands of your own feelings. Some are doubting simply because of feelings! Salvation is not a matter of feeling, it is God's fact - "It is written" - God hath said. The word of God is "no condemnation". "There is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus." - Rom. 8:1. We are perfect in Christ the day we are born anew, that is as to our standing, we have good reason to be sorry for our state; but the word is "grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" - 2 Peter 3:18. "My little children of
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Fred (fnorthrup)

From: Fred (fnorthrup)



The great need of God's people is to be established in the faith, not just established in doctrine, in an orthodox gospel, or by acquiring knowledge of fundamental truth, but established by an inward knowledge of our standing in the Lord Jesus on the ground of His finished work and complete triumph over the devil and all his works.

It seems he is making the distinction between "faith" the act of believing, and "the faith" which are the things in which we believe, but he does not make it so clear. Faith, the believing ability, comes through hearing the word of Christ (Romans 10:17). The faith, is all the items of God's full salvation through the Person and work of Christ and realized by the Spirit. One day, we must all arrive at the oneness of the faith. At this point, Bible forums will cease to be a forum to promote one's personal opinions and become a great and glorious fellowship with the Father and with the Son.

Ephesians 4:13-14 Until we all arrive at the oneness of the faith and of the full knowledge of the Son of God, at a full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, That we may be no longer little children tossed by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching in the sleight of men, in craftiness with a view to a system of error,




    I'd say of my favorite teacher  :)  that he is ascribing to faith the pure revelation of Christ as ones life with the attending wisdom of His Father to form the life in us.  The faith I believe he is defining as doctrine, or the various understandings of the Word under which men gather.  The former is pure, the latter is to be judged as to the mixture of soul and spirit.  The faith as given in scripture is of course the faith of the Son of GOD.

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Chapter 4 - The City of Light



"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; having the eyes of your heart enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might." Eph. 1:17-19.

This leads to Light, the second thing is a question of Light. Strength and Light are always related in the Word of God, spiritual strength is linked with spiritual light, illumination or revelation. Here we find Light and Strength related to "knowledge of Him". And in Eph. 3:16,18,19 "Strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man... that... ye may be strong to apprehend". Not to do, but to know.

Revelation in Relation to Power

We stand by revelation, "God who shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." "God... called me through grace to reveal His Son in me." - Gal. 1:16.

How are we going to be made to stand, to be established? How is this endurance going to be put in us? By knowing the Lord Jesus in this inward way, by revelation. The people who are going to stand are those in whom this thing has become a living revelation; "God hath shined in our hearts," this is one side. The other is, "pressed on every side, perplexed, pursued, smitten down... yet not unto despair" - 2 Cor. 4:6-10. We are troubled and pressed down... why? "That the LIFE of JESUS might be made manifest in our mortal bodies" - 2 Cor. 4:11.

Is not that endurance? Pressed on every side yet not strangled! "In pressure Thou hast enlarged me" - Ps. 4:1.

What was meant to be "pressed down," God has made for enlargement. Cast down, yet a wonderful rising up. Why? How? It is "God who hath shined in our hearts... in the face of Jesus Christ," therefore you can go through and survive. Nothing can carry us through but the revelation of the Lord Jesus by the Holy Spirit in our hearts; an inside knowledge of Him - not mental assent to a creed or a doctrine, but a living, vital reality in our very being.

For strength to overcome and press on, only a revelation by the Holy Spirit in us can suffice - but it can! A revelation that is within one's spirit and not a mental appreciation of truth even though it is truth about God. Oh, the power to be able to say "I KNOW," not I have heard or read, but "I KNOW". It is an experience nothing can rob us of. It is absolutely essential to have this revelation by the Holy Spirit because we have to meet forces of evil against which nothing can stand save that which is of God.

"In pressure Thou hast enlarged me." How? Because of the constant uprising of THE LIFE within. Trouble, trial, sorrow... we are subject to these things, they are common to all men, but we rise above them through the "strength of His might" within. We are strong because of the Light given in the knowledge of God - Eph 1:19. This is a growing revelation. Paul is writing to the Ephesian saints, and what a wonderful history these had! See Paul's words to them in parting (Acts 20:17-38). To such he says, "that ye may be strengthened to apprehend," showing the necessity for the mighty power of God in bringing through revelation. The enemy mightily withstands revelation; to mar or hinder that, he'll
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The City of Divine Government

Revelation chapter 21 is the very embodiment of Divine government in man, everything in the chapter is talking about the number twelve in something or other! Twelve is the Biblical number of government, and signifies perfection of government. And the City is that; a sharing of government, dominion.

We find here throne authority from centre to circumference, thus constituting the city a sovereign city; "and he showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the midst of the street thereof" - Rev. 22:1,2.

By sharing the Lamb Life we also share the Throne Life, but the throne life is only possible where the Lamb life is shared; to share then we must know it now in our experience, and this is not a mental knowledge. All authority was given to the Lord Jesus, the Lamb of God, on the ground of His obedience to the will of God even unto death - Phil. 2:5,11. Even so He is able to give us authority over all the power of the enemy, as we too are obedient.

We have got to learn sovereignty now, we are called into throne fellowship now, and have got to learn to reign now; this, is spiritual ascendancy. But how can we live and reign in spiritual ascendancy? It begins by a revelation of the Lord Jesus in your heart by the Holy Spirit, and this strengthens our inner man unto ascendancy in the midst of pressure; it is in the daily test. Are we going under or rising up and taking position in spirit? The Lord never delivers out of, until our spirit is on top; we are not meant to be beneath, "thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath" - Deut. 28:13.

Look at Moses; "Jehovah said... lift thou up thy rod and stretch out thy hand over the sea and divide it" - Ex. 14:16. In other words, take a position in the name of the Lord and then you discover the way through. We learn to take everything in spirit, and having dominion in spirit, then, and only then, can we lift up the rod of authority.

When a thing comes from the Lord, grace comes with it; but take the thing out of its time, then the Lord is not in it. See how Moses was able to lift up the rod of authority where Pharaoh was concerned and with triumphant power; but only at the word of the Lord.

"Behold I give you authority... over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you" - Luke 10:19.

"Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" - Matt. 16:18.