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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 Temple and the Tabernacle of God #8   T. Austin Sparks

Started 11/19/21 by PAULFROMNYS; 71 views.
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From: PAULFROMNYS

11/19/21

   

In our present meditation we are led to the question of power in witness. It is perhaps the major question for the church. It does not matter very much what the church may have, if it is without power it is without effect, and for the fulfilment of its purpose, the justification of its existence, it must be an expression, an instrument of the power of God in Christ as exalted.

When we speak of the church, let us not get far away ideas. We must remember that the church functions in representation, though that representation may only be in two. Peter and John, for instance, as in Acts 4, were not just men by themselves, they were functioning in relation to the church, and the church was in expression by them at that time. You notice that the Holy Spirit is very true to that principle in the whole of that story. Being led they went to their own company, and told them all that the rulers had said, and the company, when they heard these things, took up the whole matter in prayer before the Lord. They did the praying. It does not say that Peter and John did it, but when the company heard they prayed and took up the Psalm and brought it to the Lord in relation to the present situation. So that it was the church operating. The whole setting of things there is that of the church, and it was functioning by representation in just two. Two is the divine meaning for representation, and the whole question is that of the church functioning in power, even though it may only be by two or three, or by a small company. It, after all, is the church’s testimony which is to be represented there, and that is to be an expression of divine power.

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From: PAULFROMNYS

11/19/21

   

It, after all, is the church’s testimony which is to be represented there, and that is to be an expression of divine power.

The Lord would have us marked by spiritual power. Not by mighty words, but by mighty deeds. These are the tokens of God’s Kingdom, and, of course, power always has been a very living matter, question, interest for the people of God, and it is a matter about which the Lord would exercise the hearts of His people again in these days. We believe He is doing that in many parts; we may say, perhaps, all over the world the Lord’s honest people are exercised on the matter of spiritual power. To put it another way, they are concerned about the lack of power, the spiritual weakness, the ineffectiveness, and they are crying for a new visitation of the Holy Spirit, with the desire that there should be a fresh manifestation of divine power. Now the Lord has some light to shed upon this matter of power, for He does not just give power willy-nilly, or as something in itself, and He does not give the Holy Spirit on any basis at all as the Spirit of power, but He always has a background and a foundation for the exercise of power, and we need to know, and the rest of the Lord’s people need to know, what the Lord’s basis of power really is.

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From: PAULFROMNYS

11/19/21

   

and we need to know, and the rest of the Lord’s people need to know, what the Lord’s basis of power really is.

Taking such a chapter as Acts 4 as an illustration, you will notice that while power is in evidence, and power is the feature of the church in those days, that power was related to the Name of Jesus. Six times in that chapter reference is made to the Name of Jesus. “There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” It was a question of the Name, that by what authority and in what name they had done this thing. Peter’s answer was: “Be it known unto you all... that by the name of Jesus Christ... doth this man stand here before you whole.” It was a question of the Name which was also the question of the authority that produced this, the superior title, the superior authority, the superior Name by which this power was being manifested. So that power was bound up with the Name of Jesus.

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From: PAULFROMNYS

11/19/21

   

So that power was bound up with the Name of Jesus.

When we turn to the letter to the Philippians, and to the passage in Ephesians, we are given an insight into the moral and spiritual basis of the Name, and therefore of power in the church, and we are given a very wide, a very vast range of insight. We are told, first of all, that Jesus of Nazareth before times eternal subsisted in the very form of God. You have to go back there for your first insight into the question of power, as to Who Jesus of Nazareth is from eternity. He subsisted in the form of God; that is, all the essential attributes of Godhead, of deity, were His. John makes the thing utter, as we know: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” There is nothing to add to that. Paul puts it this way: “Who subsisted in the form of God”. So that Jesus of Nazareth from eternity is Very God, and nothing which has happened in the course of the cycle of history, the history of His person, has altered that.

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From: PAULFROMNYS

11/19/21

   

 So that Jesus of Nazareth from eternity is Very God, and nothing which has happened in the course of the cycle of history, the history of His person, has altered that.

The next phase makes no difference to that basic and eternal fact. When we see Him coming out from His eternal place as God, and being found in fashion as a man, taking the form of a servant, emptying Himself, that makes no difference to the original, basic fact. Let us be perfectly clear about this. I do not want to enter upon any theological arguments, but we must be perfectly clear about this, that Jesus of Nazareth is still from eternity God in all the essential attributes of deity, of Godhead, and He has not emptied Himself of those attributes, He has not emptied Himself of Godhead. When the Word says that He emptied Himself, that clearly relates to form and not to person. He existed, or subsisted, in the form of God; now He is in the form of man, and that is all that is meant by emptying Himself; and it is a big enough emptying for anybody to consider. You cannot contemplate any greater emptying than that. He Who had subsisted in God-form, now is in man-form, but He is still God in man-form.

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From: PAULFROMNYS

11/19/21

   

He Who had subsisted in God-form, now is in man-form, but He is still God in man-form.

The humility did not begin when He took man-form. The humility began before that: “...who, subsisting in the form of God, counted it not something to be grasped to be on equality with God...”. There was no pride about His position. Of course, this is said quite obviously as over against Satan in the first instance, who grasped at equality with God, and that was his pride. There was no personal, self-glorifying in the position of the Lord Jesus, no self-exaltation, no grasping at something for Himself. That is where the humility of God is found. God is no vaunting, proud, self-glorifying Being.

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