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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 #12   T. Austin Sparks

Started Oct-26 by PAULFROMNYS; 30 views.
PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-26

   

The Greatness of the Cost

But if there is going to be a people and a corporate vessel and instrument of so great and high a testimony, how great will be the cost, how deep will be the discipline, how keen will be the trial. The words are not too strong, "the word of the Lord tried him". I venture to say that that is just the point at which our greatest trial takes place, our most acute and poignant trial is there. The Lord has said... the promises are so-and-so... but He seems so slow in fulfilment. He seems to be contradicting even His own promises and we are not in the good of all that we have been led to believe He wants, and we are going through it. And we are going through it on the word of the Lord. Is not that your point of keenest trial? It is not that the Lord is unfaithful, in the long run it is going to be all fulfilled, but in the meantime it is true, we come to the Lord about something He has said and promised, and He does not do it now. He keeps us waiting, He takes us through experiences which seem a direct contradiction to what He has said. It looks as though the Lord is not true to His word and not faithful to His promise, He is not honouring what He has said. For a moment it is like that. Sometimes it is like that and all seems dark as to the word of the Lord. It is not fulfilled. The word of the Lord tries us. It tried him. Joseph evidently believed that those dreams of his were not just dreams. They were prophecies and promises. God meant that. It proved to be so. Oh, where is the fulfilment? Instead of his brethren bowing down to him and making obeisance, he is in their cruel hands, their victim, the victim of their spite and malice. Where is the word of the Lord? He has seen himself exiled by his brethren and here he is in a dungeon. Where is the word of the Lord? The word of the Lord tried him...

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PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-26

   

Where is the word of the Lord? The word of the Lord tried him...

What is it for? God has an elect people in view who are to take up the fruit of this man's suffering, to come into the good of this man's discipline and know the value of this man's trial. He is pre-fighting out the battle for a people, and that is very true. It was true of the Lord Jesus in the full sense, but what about all these passages - "To you it hath been granted in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer in his behalf" (Phil. 1:29). "I... fill up on my part that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church" (Col. 1:24). Why is this man going through it? "The body's sake" is the answer. Why did Christ go through it? - for His church's sake. "Christ... loved the church, and gave himself up for it" (Eph. 5:25). What the Lord is after is a corporate vessel of testimony. He has paid the price for that, but we do not come into it mechanically and automatically. We come into it along the same line of suffering, that, baptized into His death, we too may be in the likeness of His resurrection. Oh, what suffering is involved! What discipline is necessary! But it is all training. You must recognize that aspect of the experience, the painful experience and the years of trial for Joseph. It was training, training to rule. Yes, it is training. It was the enlargement of spiritual capacity for administration. There is no other way.

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PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-26

   

Food for the People of God the Focal Point

Now I want to come to the real point in this story and the real message for now and for our day. All this is true in principle as a foundation and a background, but you notice the testimony, the whole testimony for which Joseph went through all this, is focused upon one thing: bread, food - the matter of keeping alive, the matter of bread and keeping alive in a day of famine; keeping alive when death was making famine its vehicle of operation.

There is a very serious crisis involved in the world situation today upon this very point. It is the crisis of spiritual stamina, the strength to endure, to go through. It is a matter of whether there is the constitution to stand up to it. What has happened in China? Thank God for all who have stood up to it and have gone through and are going through, but many have been swept away - yes, Christians, and I believe born-again Christians, have capitulated, surrendered, broken down and gone over. That is the tragedy. That is not going to remain true of China alone. That is going to spread, it is spreading. We are in a new situation, we have had world upheavals, a lot of us have lived through two world wars, but they were not of this kind. They tested Christians - yes, some failed under the test, others came out gloriously. But it is not the same thing. Those two great world upheavals were not essentially a spiritual issue, but the present is. It is God and anti-God. It is a distinctly defined spiritual issue. The whole thing is against the Lord and His Christ, and therefore it presents an altogether new situation.

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PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-26

   

Spiritual stamina is the need now and from now onwards - not just to be a Christian, but to be able to go through the full force of the spirit of antichrist unto God. It is so clear that is the situation now, and it is not just a question of whether you are a Christian. It is a question of whether as the Lord's you are marked down by this whole spiritual system back of the world powers, marked down for death, for destruction, simply because you are the Lord's and you are known. The great question of this present and growing new situation is stamina, the power of endurance, spiritual constitution and maturity of the spiritual life.

The tragedy of so much of our evangelism - thank God for every soul born again, for every life brought to the Master, but oh, what a cry that they should be built up and not be swept back again by the on-rush of the counter forces - and that is what is happening. Oh, build up these Christians, see to it that there is body, there is constitution, there is maturity, that they are not left poor children to be carried away by every wind of doctrine or to be swept away by the waves of adversity. Get them on their feet. Yes, that is the need, that is the situation, that is the message. Oh, do not think for one moment that in what I am saying there is any hint or suggestion of taking away from evangelism. No, thank God for every bit of it, however faulty or defective it may be. Thank God if it is bringing souls to the Saviour. But oh, there is this other thing. You see, they have to meet something new, it is spreading.

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PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-26

   

And let me pause here. You see, although that thing may be fully developed as a system in certain parts of the world and spreading as such, it is not just there. It is the breath of this thing that is going beyond the system. We in our country are beginning to feel more than ever the death in the atmosphere, something evil spreading over the world. It has not come yet as a fully instituted system of things, it is not set up in our Western countries, but the spirit of it, the breath of it, something indefinable is at work. Men are becoming more and more impervious to the things of the Spirit. There is something hateful and evil in the air. It is true. It is the spirit of this thing that is in advance of the system. It is something from hell, and if we are not at present involved in the ultimate issue that our dear brethren in China and the East are involved in, we are involved in the battle, the spiritual battle of the breath of death, spiritual death. We are in it and we are going to be in it more and more.

There is an appalling lack of spiritual food in our evangelism. How thin and superficial and empty it is. I am not talking about Bible teaching - there is any amount of Bible teaching - but Holy Ghost revelation to the spirit. That is food. We have yet to say, before this conference ends, something on that very point. These men on the Emmaus road - they had the Bible, but it did not save them. They needed a revelation. But we are coming to that. You see what I am after. It is not Bible lectures or the content of the Bible or the analysis of the Bible. It is the Holy Ghost ministering that to the inner man to build him up.

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PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-26

   

Any instrument, individual or corporate, who is going to fulfil that ministry is going to have a hard time and is going through suffering. You may preach and lecture on the Bible and never know anything about this, but if you are going to be a vessel through which the Lord ministers real spiritual good to bring about this something which will withstand the tides of death and iniquity, you have to go a very deep way. You will not be allowed to have a shallow, superficial life. This is the story of Joseph, this is the story of Christ, this is the story of every instrument ever used by God for the purpose of really building up the spiritual Life of His people. "I... fill up... that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church." That is the language of a man to whom we owe an incalculable debt.

The Lord has never Himself stayed at the point of being born again. On this very matter of Life He has said "I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly" (John 10:10). He did not just say "I came that they may have life" - that is your new birth, that is your initial salvation. You have Life, the gift of God, His grace, Life... ah, but the Lord never stopped there. "I give unto (my sheep) eternal life" (John 10:28), that is the gift. But oh, see the afterward, and the increase of capacity working out in the mighty fulnesses of Life! That is something more. Christ risen and exalted; not only Christ crucified, but Christ risen and exalted is the fountain of abundant Life. Joseph risen and exalted - fulness of Life for others. Christ risen and exalted - fulness of Life for His church: abundance.

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PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Oct-26

   

And coming back to our wonderfully detailed story in Luke 24, you see the very change that took place in that short space of seven and a half miles was the change from the local to the universal, the change from the temporary to the eternal, the change from the earthly to the heavenly. All the principles of Christ risen and exalted are there. From the local to the universal - He is no longer the local Christ pinned to one place at a time. He is liberated, released, free, bounding all space, and time and space have been put out. Christ is risen. The church ought to be like that; no local thing, but its spiritual influence and power universal to touch the whole world by the Throne - that is the principle. We ought to be touching the world by the Throne. Christ on the Throne is our focal point of influence over the nations. When the church gets to prayer and touches the Throne, the nations ought to be affected. That is not just language and idealism. That is how it ought to be. They discovered that the local had given place to the universal, the earthly to the heavenly, the temporary to the eternal. All these limitations down here had gone. That took place in a very short time.

How much more should I say? I do not want this to end with a lot of words loudly and emphatically uttered. I am so concerned that we should see what all this means for our own time. I have come into this conference with one word ringing in my heart - victory over death. That is to be the church's testimony through to the end - victory over death. It means far more than we understand, and when I say the church, it is just there that our hearts faint. We have to come back and see that when we come to the end of the Bible, when we come to those final scenes of the testimony in the book of the Revelation, this testimony is not the testimony of all who believe, but it is the testimony bound up with a representative company of believers. It is there. And so, while it would be so imaginative, in a sense so foolish, to think of the whole church as it is today being like that: the embodiment of this testimony, expressing victory over death; and seeing how things are, we have to say, "Yes, that may be true, but God will have a representative company there first." He will never abandon His purpose, He will never give up His intention, and, as we shall see in the case of the nations, this great nation which came in after Joseph to take up the testimony, eventually failed in the testimony. But God had a remnant even of that nation. It is not that the few of them will be saved, but it is that the few will fully answer to God in His thought - yes, comparatively few. But oh, may we be of the few!

I think I have said enough to convey to you this: that there is a very real place for, and need of, a food ministry. However great and pressing may be the need of a soul-saving ministry - and it is great - there must be this other. The need of this other is equal, and in the light of the end, I would almost say greater, to stem that tide which will carry away so many. The only thing is real solid food for making constitution. Do you not think that that is the reason why so large a proportion of the New Testament is focussed upon the building up of Christians already saved? Yes, that is it.

Well, may our eyes be opened for we are truly in the presence of a great crisis in the whole history of the things of God in this world. There is no doubt about that and many will be carried away in the famine, the famine of real spiritual bread. Oh, let us pray that the Lord will raise up this Joseph ministry and fulfil it for keeping men alive.

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