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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 #8   T. Austin Sparks

Started Oct-22 by PAULFROMNYS; 50 views.
PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-22

   

3. Isaac

I pass to Isaac. He comes next in these links of testimony. One thing only I am going to say about Isaac, and again I think it is comprehensive. Isaac was a young man who was sovereignly apprehended and involved in the personal embodiment of a great principle. A young man. It is very often more difficult for a young man than an old man. He is called a lad. "I and the lad" (Gen. 22:5) said his father. A young man sovereignly apprehended and involved in becoming a personal embodiment of a great divine principle. That is, Isaac did not come into this by his own choice or decision. That is clear. You know the story. Isaac never chose to go and be sacrificed. Isaac never chose to go on that journey at all, to go in that direction. Isaac never chose to be bound and laid upon the altar for his father to slay him. It was not his choice. He was sovereignly taken hold of for that. Shall we put it this way - he found himself involved in this great matter of personally embodying and representing this immense principle, no less a principle than death and resurrection and Life triumphing over death. Now, Isaac did not choose it. Isaac is not known for very much else and whatever there was about Isaac's life does not matter very much. Anything afterward when he grew older does not count for anything. There are a few things, but not much in them.

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PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-22

   

There is one thing and only one thing that characterised his life, and that is that, under the sovereignty of God, he became a personal representation of this great matter of death and resurrection. He was just comprehended by one thing. The explanation and the definition of Isaac and his being on this earth was just one thing - victory over death. He is not even mentioned in his own right in the eleventh chapter of the letter to the Hebrews. His name is there, but it is connected with Abraham. "By faith Abraham, being tried, offered up Isaac" (Heb. 11:17). Isaac was not a man of works like Jacob. Isaac was not this, that and something else, but just one thing. That man's typical, representative death meant death to personal reputation, to personal name, personal glory; death to a lot of things that perhaps men like to do and in which they may find satisfaction, just to be on the earth as a vessel in which God can display one thing - the power of Life over death. I tell you, that wants some dying, to accept that. There is no glory to the flesh in that, no gratification to the natural life - that we might be here in the sovereignty of God just chosen to set forth some great spiritual principle which lies right at the heart of this great eternal issue, the triumph of Life.

You say, 'That is strange, remote, rather abstract', but I suggest that that might be very true in many of the Lord's people. You are not noted for some name you bear, some work you are doing. You are not finding the justification of your life in a lot of things in which you are engaged. Oh, that you might be is your longing so often. But you are just here to live a life that glorifies God without any kind of stimulus, excitements, changes and all the things that people like to do for self-gratification. You are just called to live a victorious life - to live a life, not eke out an existence, not drag through.

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PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-22

   

You are just called to live a victorious life - to live a life, not eke out an existence, not drag through.

I feel that Isaac went very deep into this matter. How many of us could stand it - not to be used, not to be in the work, not in some way to be doing something worthwhile in this world, just having to live and live triumphantly and overcome death every day, spiritual death. How many of you can stand it? And yet many of you have nothing more than that to do. God has not called everybody to be a great apostle, a great missionary, a great preacher. He has called perhaps the majority of His people just to live by His Life and be a testimony in what they are. And Isaac was that, a testimony in what he was, not what he did. We have no sayings or great works of any lasting kind in Isaac. He dug a few wells. That is not it. They are merely incidental. What Isaac did was that he died and rose again in figure. It is something to live. After this conference you go away back into the humdrum and the atmosphere of spiritual death to live above it; it is something, it is the power of Christ's resurrection.

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PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-22

   

4. Jacob

A word about Jacob. We know more about Jacob. Jacob was the man who built an immortal family. I use that word 'immortal' with a certain reserve, but it is very true. In some respects the whole house of Israel was built by Jacob. His twelve sons comprised the house of Israel. He built this family. The family is not at an end yet, it still shows a good deal of vitality. Its distinctiveness is not yet lost. He built that, but even so it may only be in type and figure. We will leave that.

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PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-22

   

This man built in that sense an immortal family, but he had to know death in a very deep way, but in a particular way. He had to know death in the realm of a very strong self-hood in order that there might be a spiritual family. Spiritually it became the family of Israel, not Jacob. Israel was his spiritual name after the Cross had been applied in figure. "Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel" (Gen. 32:28), and it is the house of Israel, a spiritual family. It is a type. In order that that might be, that self-hood had to be smitten at its very core; the strong self-assertiveness.

There is no doubt about Jacob's self-assertiveness... a scheming disposition, resourceful, artful, evasive and tremendously active... all motivated by this self-hood, to get an advantage, to possess, to be the upper man. He would sidestep anything that was not very convenient. If there was a chance of an advantage by being cunning, he would be cunning, and principle could go to the wind. Active, alert, but all to his own ends. And there had to come that drastic crisis in his own ability to get away with it. He got away with it, it seemed, quite a few times. He got away with it over his brother Esau, over his uncle Laban, but now he meets God at the brook Jabbok, and Jabbok is a tributary of the Jordan and Jordan is always a type of the Cross.

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PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-22

   

but now he meets God at the brook Jabbok, and Jabbok is a tributary of the Jordan and Jordan is always a type of the Cross.

He meets God and he has to learn he cannot get away with it there. All that he is, all that he has, and all he has been building counts for nothing now. He cannot get away with it here. Oh no! It is no use trying to drive a bargain with God here. It only wants one touch with a finger of God, and he is a lame, maimed man for the rest of his life. A crisis in his strong self-hood. Do you remember how he summed up his life? You get his own summary of his life in Gen. 47:9 - "The days of the years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty years: few and evil have been the days of the years of my life." What a different tone and tune from the old Jacob. He thought he was getting on very well at one time, everything was coming to his hand. But this is the ultimate verdict from his own lips - "few and evil have been the days of the years of my life". Jacob had to be destroyed and he had to find this other thing: that God and God only was his life, God only was his life. It was not in himself. At last he discovered that it was not in himself.

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PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-22

   

All this is not Bible story and exposition. This is for present immediate application. Everything that I have said about these men and the content of the Cross of the Lord Jesus in which we are included, the Lord Jesus died to all that and because of all that. That in Adam, that in Cain, that world of Abraham, all these things were included in His death and they necessitated His death because these are not strange people who lived so many thousands of years ago about whom we read in old stories of the Bible. These people are up to date. We are reading our own inner life. It is all true about us naturally. That we should be saved from this, Christ died; that we should live in another realm than this, Christ rose again.

Did He follow this course on the Emmaus road? I do not know, but I know they are the principles lying behind all He would have said, because they are the principles of the whole Bible; the New as well as the Old Testament. They are the principles, these are the truths. Oh then, if we are to know this wonderful thing that these two men came into on that evening walk to Emmaus, if you and I are to know the wonder of His resurrection Life, we have to accept the meaning of His Cross as our death to all that. We may be the passive Isaac or the active and positive Jacob. We may be any of these. It has to go to the Cross, to come under the Cross. We have to accept the Cross as delivering us from it in order that we might live by that other glorious Life. It is a matter of again quite definitely saying:

"Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come.
"

That is a hymn and an utterance for Christians as well as for others.

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