"A Candlestick of Pure
Gold: of Beaten Work" Exodus 25:31
"The Testimony of Jesus" Revelation 1:9
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|January -- February, 1970
||Vol. 48, No. 1
WITH this issue of the little paper we enter upon one more year of its
ministry. To have 'continued unto this day' is a testimony to the
faithfulness of God in the 'help received', for, indeed, behind these
forty-seven years there is a history of His wonderful grace and
sustaining! More than that, as we review the way travelled with Him, we
are deeply impressed with the growth downward, upward, and outward of
the ministry. It was a simple beginning those years ago, when the
message of the Cross was fresh (with us), born out of a revolutionary
crisis. That has remained basic, but the light has increased and 'the
open heaven' has brought ever greater fullnesses of light as to God's
eternal counsels. I think that it is not only the natural sense of
shortening time and the "course" being far run that makes us feel that
His Coming must be getting very near, but rather does it seem that
things just cannot go on as they are doing indefinitely. On one side
the "cup of iniquity" is fast filling up. The challenge to the very
existence of God or of His rights is extending and intensifying so
greatly that He will answer it when the "cup" is full. At the other end
there is such a great intensifying of evangelism -- even if of a broad
and elementary nature -- expressive of the great "drag-net" which, by
its various means -- evangelists, radio, literature, etc. -- seems to
mean that the world must, at least, have heard the Gospel of Christ.
Between these two poles two other features are noticeable. There is the
great cry for reality which is having the effect of shaking and
discrediting much of traditional Christianity. There is also a very
intense testing of the faith of the true people of God. This last is
shown in the Scriptures to be truly characteristic of the end time. It
is in this last context that we feel that our ministry relates.
Recently a dear soul wrote to us asking that the paper should no longer
be sent because (it was alleged) we do not teach the Second Coming of
the Lord. The fact is that for these forty-seven years all this
ministry has had definitely in view the preparation of believers for
His return! Attendance at our conferences through the years would have
left no doubt about this, when, at the end of the last gathering the
conference has reached its peak of joy and glory in the singing of a
hymn of His coming again. And, by the way, is not that atmosphere of
glory the answer to every argument on the matter? The Holy Spirit is
not the Spirit of time, but outside of time. Not of fixed dates, but of
heaven's "hour". Not of "a thousand years", [1/2]
but of eternity. He is "the Eternal Spirit"; therefore He
lives now in that dateless "day". Thus, whenever we speak or sing of
the Lord's coming, it is not only the hope that inspires, but the Holy
Spirit bears witness and is present as the Spirit of Glory. Some of us
in early childhood were told that 'the Lord may come tonight'. All
those who said that have been in their graves for many years, but still
the teaching has gone on. Still He tarries. But His sure coming
is a very special ground for the Holy Spirit's witness. This answers
all possible scepticism and that "Where is the promise of his coming,
for since the fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were from
the beginning". It is the Holy Spirit who says through the Apostle
Peter: 'Thou fool, know ye not that a thousand years is as but a day
with God, and a day as a thousand years.' Time is out of it with the
Spirit, and His witness of life is the answer. But He will
come, and "In my heart I have the witness that His coming draweth nigh".
So, to have as much spiritual maturity at His appearing, or at our
appearing before Him, we will pursue our little part and aspect of
ministry. Appreciating everything other that can serve the ultimate
purpose, we just seek to have grace to 'fulfil the ministry which we
have received of the Lord'. What this new year holds we do not know.
Perhaps some of us will be with Him, or it may be that His elect will
have been caught up together to meet Him ere the year closes.
We do solicit your prayers, as this ministry does not go on
There is much and widespread hunger amongst the Lord's people,
but there are many and strong adversaries to their
receiving true bread!
So much gratitude is due to the many friends who have strengthened our
hands by their prayers, their expressions of appreciation, and in other
ways. I cannot write to you all individually, but I want you to know
that you are not just lost in the crowd. I know full well that I could
not have gone on without your help.
The Lord bless you very greatly this year.
Yours in His grace, T. Austin-Sparks.
P.S. Mrs. Sparks and my helpers in the office join with me in greetings
and gratitude. -- T. A-S.
FAITH OPERATING IN A DARK DAY
OUR motto for 1970 circles round the declaration of Jeremiah in chapter
32, verse 17 of his prophecies: "Ah, Lord Jehovah ... there is nothing
too hard (wonderful) for thee." This declaration was made in
circumstances of extreme difficulty. Recall that situation.
Jeremiah was himself in prison, perhaps in a dungeon. His ministry,
after forty years, was in a state of suspense, perhaps finished
personally. Jerusalem was besieged by the Chaldeans, and about to be
taken, and the land overrun and destroyed. The people were about to be
taken into far captivity, and Jeremiah knew that it would be for
In that seemingly hopeless situation the Lord told Jeremiah that his
cousin Hanamel would be coming to him as the next of kin who had the
right of redemption to ask Jeremiah to buy -- redeem -- the family
land, the field in Anathoth. It may have been a bit of shrewd business
on the part of Hanamel for Jeremiah might most likely be killed and the
field be lost if it had not been redeemed. Perhaps Hanamel was not
accepting Jeremiah's gloomy prophecies and still believed that the
country would be saved. However, for Jeremiah it was another situation;
his prophecies were -- he knew -- going to come true. To buy the field
was either foolhardiness or faith. He proceeded in faith, and carried
out the transaction meticulously; and he left no question as to whose
right it was. So Hanamel had been, and the Deed of Purchase was signed,
sealed, and settled. Jeremiah, by right of redemption, was the owner of
a field which, for long years, would lie under the heel of a foreign
power. For himself , he knew that he would never occupy it. Was
he -- maybe -- enacting a parable which had a far greater context? Was
the far-seeing Spirit of God making Jeremiah's action a prophecy? Was
there Another Redeeming Kinsman in the shadows of Jeremiah's
transaction, One who would redeem His rightful inheritance and have to
wait long years, while the enemy -- the prince of this world -- ruled
in it? Was Jeremiah just yielding to the pressure of circumstances?
No, two things governed his action. One, God had told him to buy the
field, and his dream, vision, verbal intimation (whatever it was)
concerning Hanamel had come to pass. Two, his own prophecies [2/3] had contained a break in the far-distant
horizon, seventy years hence, and that was a ray of hope in the dark
present. On that streak of light his faith acted, and, not thinking of
himself, he acted for posterity. Someone has spoken of his action as
"faith staking a claim". But, as is usually the case, faith was tested
Jeremiah suffered this come-back. He seems to have come alive to the
implications of what he had done, and a battle took place. He had to
call to his help the omnipotence and sovereignty of God. "Ah, Lord,
Jehovah, behold, thou hast made the heavens and the earth by thy great
power and by thine outstretched arm; there is nothing too hard for
This, surely, is a foreshadowing of "the faith of the Son of God".
Now, there are some valuable lessons for us in this incident:
1. There are times when we are so sure that the Lord has led us in a
certain way, to take a certain course, to do a certain thing, or to a
certain purpose. It comes to us with much life and assurance. At the
time there seems to be real corroboration that it is of the Lord. Even
our Hanamels turn up on time. We make our committal, set ourselves to
the call or demand, and faith is all agog. Then, we are invaded by the
adverse forces, like the prison in which we are found, or like the
armies of the Chaldeans besieging. The temptation is to wonder if we
have been mistaken, misled, and a trick has been played on us. A battle
in the dark ensues and the whole question of the faithfulness of God is
How true to history it is that the Lord's people, and His servants in
particular, can never take a position with Him without -- sooner or
later -- being tested severely by that very position! That important
factor in Jeremiah's action must be borne in mind. Jeremiah acted
without any personal interest influencing him. He was detached
from his action, for he knew that he would not live to see the
redemption made good. Faith was selfless and looked beyond his own
lifetime. That is a very real test of its genuineness. Such thoughts
never weakened his action! Perhaps the very reactions and assaults of
doubt are only allowed in order to test the quality of faith.
A dungeon and an enemy host are sufficient to test the reality of
2. "While we look, not at the things that are seen, but at the things
which are not seen."
Jeremiah had an overwhelming amount of the impossible, the "too hard"
in his seen situation. It would have been so easy at any time to
surrender to existing conditions. Every servant of God who has been
given "the heavenly vision", and been made acquainted with God's
"eternal purpose" has, after a thoroughgoing committal, and some
encouraging corroborations, come to the time of severe testing by
circumstances which raise ultimate questions. The conditions argue that
it is a vain hope; life will pass in disappointment.
Think of the vision of Peter, John, Paul, and then consider the state
of the churches. They must have had some vision which eclipsed and
transcended "the things which are seen". Paul said: "... we look
at the things which are not seen." "Things", not imaginations,
makebeliefs, vapours, but actual things not seen. These are the
"eternal" and, like Jeremiah, the horizon of realization is beyond this
How easy -- to our time-fettered life -- it would be to say that the
Church is in ruins and irreparable; we labour in vain if we pour our
lives out for the ideal! Well, the saints of old, the Prophets, the
Apostles, and above all, our Lord Jesus in His humiliation, rebuke us.
"Faith is the title deeds of things not seen." Jeremiah with the Deeds
of Anathoth fits right in there.
Jeremiah linked this whole issue with God's Throne. This is the refuge
of the sorely tried in faith. "There is nothing too hard for thee."
3. We must ask the Lord to, first, cleanse our hearts of all personal,
and worldly motives and interests; to plant the Cross fairly and
squarely in our soul-ambition, and then enable us to "buy the field" in
GOD'S NEW ISRAEL
3. THE FOUNDATION LAW OF GOD'S NEW ISRAEL
"And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord
appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am God Almighty; walk before
me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and
thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face;
and God talked with him, [3/4] saying,
As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be the
father of a multitude of nations. Neither shall thy name any more be
called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for the father of a
multitude of nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding
fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of
thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed
after thee throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to
be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto
thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land of thy sojournings, all the
land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
And God said unto Abraham, And as for thee, thou shalt keep my
covenant, thou, and thy seed after thee throughout their generations.
This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy
seed after thee; every male among you shall be circumcised "
"For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is
that circumcision which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew, which
is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit,
not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God" (Romans
"In whom ye were also circumcised with a circumcision
not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the flesh, in
the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with him in baptism,
wherein ye were also raised with him through faith in the working of
God, who raised him from the dead" (Colossians 2:11, 12).
"For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus
judge, that one died for all, therefore all died, and he died for all,
that they which live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto
him who for their sakes died and rose again" (2 Corinthians 5:14,
"For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit
of God, and glory in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh"
THE COVENANT OF SEPARATION AND DISTINCTIVENESS
WE ought to add other Scriptures to those, for there are many more
which are of the same nature, but these are sufficient to bring us to
the point of our consideration, which is the foundation law of God's
Israel, the law of God's covenant, and that covenant is symbolized in
circumcision. The sign of the covenant with Abraham was circumcision.
In the Old Testament it was literal and material. In the New Testament
it is spiritual, but the meaning is the same. It is a spiritual law of
God's Israel, and that law is separation and distinctiveness. It lays
down the law that God's Israel is a separate people, separate from all
other people, and different from all other people -- clearly
distinguished from all other people. Did you notice, as we read those
Scriptures, that God said to Abraham that He would make many nations
out of his seed? Now God is taking out of the nations a people for His
Name, something in the nations, but separate from the
nations, and that law of separation and difference is the foundation of
We can see God keeping to that law in the Old Testament. It is written
that "the God of glory appeared unto ... Abraham, when he was in
Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran, and said unto him, Get thee
out!" (Acts 7:2). Later, Moses was in Egypt, and God just
sovereignly took him out before He did anything else. Moses had to be out
of Egypt first, and that was a very thorough thing, as you would think
if you were out in a wilderness for forty years! Then the Lord sent
Moses back into Egypt to get the people out, and the Word is: "Out of
Egypt did I call my son" (Matthew 2:15). God could not proceed with His
purpose until He had got His people out, for there is a place where God
will fulfil His purpose, and He will not fulfil it anywhere else.
I would like you to put a lot of lines under that statement, for I
think it is the key to everything. Let me say it again: there is a
place where God will fulfil His purpose, and He will do it nowhere
else. God means business. He is a God of purpose, and He is very
serious about His purpose, which is a purpose of blessing. To Abram He
said: "I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee ...
and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed" (Genesis
12:2-3). God's purpose is a purpose of blessing; blessing to the
instrument that He will use and to the people to whom He uses that
instrument. "I will bless thee ... and thou shalt be a
blessing." That is the purpose of God, and I say it with a strong
voice, because I know that some will say: 'If we are going this way it
is going to be a very difficult way. We are going to have to give up
everything!' Well, wait a little while -- we have not finished yet!
We make this statement: God's purpose is to bless and to make a
blessing, but it demands a position. The blessing and the vocation
depend upon where we are. Of course, in the Old Testament it was
literal. Abraham was in Ur of the Chaldees, and God said: 'You must get
out of this city. I am [4/5] not going to do
anything here! I must have you somewhere else.' In the New Testament it
is spiritual. Where do you live? In Bern, in Zurich, in New York, in
London, in Paris, or in some other city? God is not saying to you: 'Get
out of Paris!' or any of these cities, but He is saying, just as
forcefully: 'Get out!' You may be living in your body in a city, but
you may not find your life there. You may have been born there,
physically, but now, as a true Israelite, you were never born there.
You were born from above.
God's covenant is bound up with this spiritual position, and we must
really take serious notice of this. God has made a covenant with His
Israel, but that covenant demands that they are out of
somewhere and in somewhere else, and for us that means a
different spiritual position. God's covenant is a covenant of blessing,
of life, of service -- that is, Divine vocation -- but all that
blessing, that life and that vocation are bound up with this matter of
spiritual position. Spiritually we are out and we are different. That
first Israel is not now in blessing, nor in life, nor is it in the
Divine vocation. It is where the Lord Jesus said it would be if it
rejected Him -- in outer darkness, where there would be weeping and
wailing and gnashing of teeth, and for these many centuries the Wailing
Wall in Jerusalem has fulfilled that prophecy! Why is that? There is
one little fragment of Scripture which is tremendous but it has a
terrible statement in it: "The covenant that I made with their fathers
in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land
of Egypt, which my covenant they brake " (Jeremiah 31:32).
Israel broke the covenant of separation and distinctiveness.
A CIRCUMCISED HEART
Now we come to this matter of circumcision. I can only touch it very
lightly, for it is a very delicate matter.
We have seen that in the Old Testament circumcision is a type, or
symbol, for in the New Testament it is stated that circumcision is of
the heart -- not in the flesh, but in the spirit -- and it just
means this: a heart that is wholly devoted to the Lord. By that
symbol the seed of Abraham became God's exclusive people for the time
being, and everything that we have in the Old Testament about God's
wish for this people shows us how jealous He was over those people. God
called Himself their husband (Jeremiah 31:32), and there was never a
more jealous husband than He! Let Israel have anything to do with any
other husband and you will hear the thunder, and the weeping, of the
Prophets! God was so jealous for Israel.
Now see what Paul says about the covenant seed of Abraham. He heads
this whole thing up into Christ: "Now to Abraham were the promises
spoken, and to his seed. He saith not, And to seeds as of many;
but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ"
(Galatians 3:16). "He is not a Jew which is one outwardly, neither is
that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew (or
an Israelite), which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the
heart, in the spirit." So Jesus Christ is the seed of Abraham, and Paul
speaks of the circumcision of Christ.
Let me ask you a question: Has there ever lived on this earth a person
more utterly committed to God than the Lord Jesus? He was
indeed separated unto God, and different from all others. No one has
ever borne the marks of spiritual circumcision more than the Lord
Jesus. He was the Man of the undivided heart.
Let us go back into the Old Testament to that great Messianic chapter,
Isaiah 53: "He shall see his seed ... He shall see of the travail of
his soul." Well, we know more than the Prophet Isaiah knew about that!
We have been with Him in Gethsemane in the time of the travail of His
soul, and we are with Him on the other side of the travail. How many
are the seed of Christ since then! Dear friends, if ever you are
tempted to think that Christians are few, and that we are only a very
small people in the millions of this world -- open the windows! Look
into the book of the Revelation: "A great multitude, which no man could
number ... ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of
thousands." The number cannot be expressed in human language -- and
they have been gathered since the travail of the Lord Jesus. He is
indeed seeing His seed! Gethsemane has been the most fruitful garden in
all history -- and you and I are of His seed! We are born out of His
travail and are in the covenant made with the new Israel.
But do remember that the meaning and the value of the covenant depend
upon our devotion to the Lord! This is a thing which is so evident: the
greatest fruitfulness has always come from the lives most devoted to
the Lord, the people of the undivided heart. This covenant has
two sides. As we have already said, the New Testament takes many
warnings from the history of Israel, and we may fail of all that that
covenant means if our hearts are divided and we try to live in two
worlds. Let us look at a little incident in the life of Abraham.
It is in chapter 15, when God came to make His covenant with Abraham
and his seed, and [5/6] something happened which
many people have not been able to understand. The Lord commanded
Abraham to bring certain things for a sacrifice either to a large
altars or to two altars, for the Lord told him to divide the sacrifices
in two and to put one half on one side and the other half on the other
side. Now notice that these are two sides of the covenant. On the one
side is Abraham and his seed and on the other side is God. God is about
to enter into a covenant with Abraham and his seed, but the covenant
has two sides. Now notice what happens! The vultures came down to try
and steal the sacrifices. How greatly significant this is! All the
powers of darkness are against this covenant, and all those evil fowls
of the air are out to rob God and His people of this covenant. It says
that Abraham beat them off. His rod was busy that day, and the vultures
said: 'It is no good. We had better give up and get away from here.'
Then Abraham went to sleep and "an horror of great darkness fell upon
him". My point, and, I believe, the point of the Scripture is
this: there is always a terrible battle with hell to secure a life
utterly committed to God. No one who is going to be utterly for Him is
It may be that battle is going on in this very room. If the devil can
prevent you from being utterly for God he is going to make a great big
fight for it. Is that battle going on? The battle of the very covenant,
the covenant in heart circumcision, a heart wholly for the Lord, a
heart that is right out for God. If Satan can prevent that he will put
up a good fight. What is your attitude to this? Are you careless about
it? God alone knows how much is involved in it. Oh, take the rod of God
and lay about these evil forces! Stand for the covenant! And when you
have made that stand the evil forces will withdraw, the darkness will
There is a change of atmosphere in this story. At first the atmosphere
is full of conflict and fear, for it is "an horror of great
darkness". There is a battle in the very atmosphere over this matter,
but when Abraham has fought the battle for the covenant the whole
atmosphere changes and becomes one of victory. If we put the history of
many consecrated believers into this story, there would be many
testimonies like this: 'My, there was a tremendous battle over this
matter! I was full of fears, but I took a stand, and with God's help I
came to a decision. I stepped over on to God's side of the covenant and
said: "Lord, I am Yours! I am with You !" Then peace
came, the peace of His victory. I went to bed that night feeling as
though I had come out of a great battle, but it was into great peace.'
That is all in this little story in Genesis 15. It may be your story!
This is something of what it means to have a heart that is circumcised,
for a circumcised heart is a heart set free from all self-interest. Was
that true of Abraham? After many years what had seemed impossible came
to pass, and God gave him a son; and that son was God's miracle. You
would expect Abraham to say: 'God gave me that son and I am going to
hold on to him. I will never let him go, because God gave him to me.'
There was a little boy once, and a baby came into the home. One day the
mother said to the little boy: 'We are going to take Baby to the
meeting and give him to the Lord.' The little boy's face fell, and he
said: 'Mummy, you can lend him to the Lord, but we must have
him back again!' You know, that is the kind of consecration that a lot
of Christians make; they have some personal interest in their
consecration. But about that God-given gift to Abraham God said: 'Take
him and offer him!' Friends, learn this lesson! Do not think that
because God has given you something by a miracle you can take it for
yourself. I will not try to say what it might be. It might be your very
ministry, for there is always a peril of taking our ministry and using
it for ourselves. But Abraham was truly circumcised in heart, and the
same was true of Hannah. How long she waited for that child, Samuel,
and how much she suffered! How earnestly she prayed! And then, at last,
God gave her the child. What did she say? 'Thank you, Lord. I will
never let this child go now!'? No, she said: 'For this child I prayed
and the Lord has given me my request. Therefore I have given
him to the Lord for as long as he lives.' She, too, was circumcised in
From some of his Psalms we know that the one great ambition of David's
life was to build the temple, and he worked and sacrificed for that
temple. He said: "I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor
go up into my bed; I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to
mine eyelids; until I find out a place for the Lord, a tabernacle for
the Mighty One of Jacob." (Psalm 132:3-5). He was collecting private
money, as well as materials for the temple, for he said: "I have a
treasure of mine own of gold and silver" (1 Chronicles 29:3). Then he
received the pattern of the temple from the Lord, and said: 'The time
has come, and my life's ambition is about to be realized. The one thing
for which I have lived is now going to be mine -- but what is that?
Someone is at the door. Come in! Oh, it is a Prophet. Yes, my friend,
what have you come to say?' 'I have come to tell you from the Lord,
David, that you shall not build [6/7] the house.
Thy son shall build it.' What did David do? What would you do? Well,
what did David do? He said: 'It does not matter about my
disappointment! The thing is that the Lord must have what He
wants. My interests are nothing beside His interests.'
So he gave everything to Solomon. Perhaps he had seen something more:
"And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever" (Psalm 23:6), and
that is better than any earthly house!
We never lose anything when the Lord has everything, and that is what
it means to have a circumcised heart. May that be true of everyone!
(To be continued)
"THE WORD OF HIS POWER"
"They obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the
words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him; and
the people did fear before the Lord" (Haggai 1:12).
THE word of the Cross is the power of God, and in this verse we have
read about a powerful word, the result of which was: "they obeyed" and
"they feared". What was it they obeyed and feared? A powerful word from
God. And what was that like? There were the words of the prophet, but
there was something more -- there was the voice of the Lord.
THE VOICE OF THE LORD
There is one verse in the tenth chapter of the Gospel by John which we
all know by heart: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they,
follow me" (verse 27). "I am the good shepherd ... My sheep hear my
voice ... and they follow me." Here again is a powerful word, and when
we hear it we follow the Lord, for it is His voice.
There is a word in Isaiah 55 which we often use falsely. In past days,
when I have given a very cheap and thin message, I have given myself
this false comfort: 'However, the word of the Lord shall not return
void!', but Isaiah does not give us that comfort at all. The Lord says:
"My word that goeth forth out of my mouth shall not return unto
me void" (verse 11), and the question is not whether the word went out
from my mouth (it always does!) but -- did it go out from the Lord's
mouth? If it only comes out of my mouth you only hear my voice, and
therefore the sheep do not follow the Lord. My mouth can give no
powerful word at all. But if the word comes out of the Lord's mouth
then the sheep hear His voice. Therefore always ask this question: 'Did
my word go out from the mouth of the Lord? Am I the mouthpiece of the
Lord?' Only He is capable of a powerful word, for He speaks in the
spirit of the Cross. When in John 10:27 the Lord says: "My sheep hear
my voice", you cannot take that word out of its context. Four times
before that verse He has said -- in verses 11, 15, 17 and 18: "I give
my life for the sheep ... I lay down my life for the sheep ... No one
takes my life away from me ... I lay it down of myself." I give My
life, and then I speak' -- and that is the voice of the Lord, that is
the word of the Cross, and that is the word of His power. "I have power
to lay down my life, and I have power to take it again." Therefore the
Lord has a powerful word, and it is the word of the Cross.
THE MESSAGE AND THE MESSENGER
The Lord not only gave His message, but He gave Himself, and those two
things always go together to make the word of the Cross. The messenger
and the message are synonymous. That was the secret behind the power of
the Apostle Paul. In Thessalonians he says: "We were well pleased to
impart unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls" (1
Thessalonians 2:8). That made it a very powerful word, and therefore he
continues: "When ye received from us the word of the message, even the
word of God, ye accepted it not as the word of men, but, as it is in
truth, the word of God" (1 Thessalonians 2:13). The Thessalonians heard
the words of Paul and the voice of Jesus. They heard the word of the
crucified One through one who was able to say not only: 'I was
crucified with Christ', but "I am crucified with Christ"
(Galatians 2:20). It is one thing to look back on the historic fact
that the Lord Jesus took us with Him to His Cross and there we were
crucified with Him, but it is another thing to be able to say in truth:
'I am , while I speak to you, crucified with my Lord.' How can
you give the word of the Cross without being on the Cross as you speak?
MINISTRY AND SERVICE
All this has to do with our conception of what ministry and service
really are. What is service? It is not doing something for the Lord,
but doing His will. Most Christians are ready to do something for the
Lord, but I doubt whether we are all ready to do His will. The Lord
Jesus has given us His own definition of ministry, of service, in John
12:26: "If any man serve me, let him follow me." That is all!
Ministry, or service, is nothing other than obedience -- and obedience
might well cost you everything, even your own life. I am sure that our
dear brother Abraham was willing to do anything for the Lord except
bring his son to Mount Moriah! Abraham might easily have argued with
the Lord and said: 'I can serve You in many ways, Lord', and the Lord
would have answered: 'There is only one way in which you can serve Me,
and that is by doing what I tell you to do.' Ministry, service,
obedience and life are one and the same thing.
Here comes the word of His power. If Abraham had spoken a thousand
words and preached wonderful sermons without going to Mount Moriah,
then the people would have heard the words of Abraham but not the voice
of the Lord. It would not have been the word of the Cross, and it would
not have been a powerful word.
Here is the centre of things. The word of Abraham has power even today,
and we can sense the voice of the Lord in it. That is because Abraham's
word went forth out of the mouth of the Lord, and it did not return
void to the Lord. That is ministry, and that is why those who have ears
that can hear can easily discern the voice of the Lord when they
listen. Two men can speak and give almost the same message, and with
one you sense the voice of the Lord, but with the other you hear only
the words of the man. In my country people speak a lot about power in
these days, and many use all the power of their voices and think: 'Now
my message is powerful!' Abraham might have been able to cry out so
loudly that they could have heard it back in Ur, but there would have
been no power in that. When he went to Mount Moriah he did not even
raise his voice, but the power of the living Lord, the power of the
Cross, was there.
In Denmark we have a saying which goes like this: 'Empty vessels make
Are you full of the spirit of the Cross? That means: Have you followed
Him? Then He Himself is speaking through you, and you are His
I even know some dear Christian people who say: 'If I obeyed the Lord I
would have to leave my ministry, and therefore I cannot obey!' They
think they must be disobedient in order to serve the Lord! And I know
many who have this idea: 'If I did what the Lord tells me, I would lose
everything' -- but may I ask you this question: Has the Lord ever told
you to keep anything? Only by our losing everything through obedience
can the Lord speak through us. He Himself was obedient right unto
death. What could He say on that Cross? He had lost everything.
Therefore He could say everything in the power of the Cross, and that
was ministry. Here was the true Servant of the Lord, here was the voice
of the Shepherd giving Himself without reserve, and therefore being the
mouthpiece of the living God. There is no bypass to power, but just the
one narrow way leading right unto power -- the way of obedience, the
way of following our Lord. He not only said: "If any man serve me, let
him follow me", but He went on to say: "And where I am, there shall
also my servant be" (John 12:26). We like to put that into the future,
but where is the Lord today? Is He in a very popular place? Is He
recognised by the so-called Christian people? Where is He? He is
outside -- and "where I am, there shall also my servant be". Outside!
But it is only as you are outside that you are able to speak the word
that penetrates everything.
The Lord's ways are not ours. His ways of ministry are not ours. His
thoughts are not ours. His ideas about ministry, service, are not ours.
The Cross is, and remains, the centre of everything, even the centre of
power, the centre of ministry, and so He says: 'No man can serve Me as
he is, and no man can speak for Me as he is in himself. No man can
serve Me if he follows his own ways and ideas. Will any man serve Me?
Then let him take up his cross daily and follow Me!' If you do
that, the Lord will privilege you with the word of the Cross, and no
other word is the word from the Lord. No other word comes out of the
mouth of the Lord.
We are so grateful for every occasion when we have listened and have
been able to say: 'This is the voice of the Lord!' Let us not spoil
that voice or that word. May the Lord give us grace to be obedient even
unto death, and may He give us the word of His Cross! - P. M. [8/9]
FOR BOYS AND GIRLS
JUDSON OF BURMA
TO the East of India and next door to China there lies the large
country of Burma. Missionary work is no longer possible there, but
there are many Christians, and it is now 150 years since the Gospel was
first taken to that land. The man most responsible was Adoniram Judson.
He suffered untold hardships, but he never gave up, because he himself
had had such a wonderful experience of the love of Christ changing his
Adoniram Judson was a student at Providence College, and he was the son
of a Christian minister. I am sorry to say that as he began to grow up
he turned away from his father's faith, and by the time he became a
student he was sure that the clever thing to do was to say that there
is no God and to realize that it is silly to talk about a future life
after this one.
So, like many students of today, he began to call himself an atheist,
and he joined a set at his college who took delight in scoffing at any
kind of faith. One of the leaders of this set was a gifted and popular
young man whom we will call Edwards. Judson became a close companion of
his, and was so charmed with his wit that he loved to have his
approval. They took pleasure together in making fun of any kind of
Christianity. Judson's father was greatly saddened by this, but his son
would not listen to what he had to say, so that in the end all he could
do was to pray that Adoniram might be saved from his bad companions and
his mocking of God.
It so happened that during a vacation Judson started out on a tour by
horseback, and one night he stopped at a wayside inn to ask if he could
put up there for the night. The landlord explained that the only room
he had to offer was next to one where a young man lay very ill, perhaps
dying. Judson replied that this did not matter at all, since he was not
afraid of death. 'When you are freed from all those silly religious
ideas,' he added, 'you know that Heaven and Hell do not exist and that
dying is just like going off to sleep.'
Off he went to bed, but he found that the partition between the two
rooms was very thin and in the stillness of the night he could hear the
man who was so ill. In fact, he could not help hearing him, for as he
lay awake he heard groans and cries of despair from his unfortunate
neighbour. The man was clearly afraid to die, and although he cried to
God, it was only in dark despair and not with any kind of hope. Judson
was greatly moved, but he tried to laugh it off; ashamed of what his
college companions would say if they knew of his weakness. Above all,
he wondered what his gay friend Edwards would say if he knew that his
young companion, who had often laughed at death with him, was now soft
and weak about it.
The groans grew worse, and Judson wildly wondered whether he ought to
pray to God for help for this unhappy sufferer, but then he realized
that he would never again be able to look Edwards in the face if he did
so. It was a dreadful night, and he shuddered to hear the evident
distress of the dying man.
Then all was still, and he lay sleepless and in fear until the morning.
When he got up he found the innkeeper and asked about his neighbour.
'He's dead,' was the blunt reply the man gave him. 'Dead!' exclaimed
Judson, 'and who was he?' 'Oh,' explained the innkeeper carelessly, 'he
was a student from Providence College; a very fine fellow by the name
Judson was stunned to find that this was the very man whom he had not
wished to offend; the one who had been so funny when he was pouring
scorn on those who were worried about death and eternity. He remembered
the cries and the groans, and realized how easy it is to mock and say
foolish things when all seems well, but how hard it is to face up to
the real fact of death and judgment.
Instead of going on with his tour he turned the horse's head back
towards his old home, and with a heavy heart he told his father of the
shock he had had. He begged his godly father to help him to find a
faith which could stand the test of death and eternity, and the father
had the joy of telling his boy how God so loved the world that He gave
His only Son so that those who believe on Him will not be lost but
enjoy eternal life. Of course, Adoniram had heard this often before,
but he had never been willing to open his mind and heart to the truth
and to God's great love. He had thought that it was smart to scoff, but
now he knew how foolish he had been.
It took much persuading and praying before he could credit the fact
that Christ still loved him, and that in spite of all he could still
find life through believing. At last the assurance came and his heart
became so filled with the love of the Lord Jesus that nothing would
satisfy him but to take the [9/10] same message
of life to those who had never heard it.
Ten years after that night of awakening he was out in Burma, trying to
help the Karen people to know the same Saviour. He suffered greatly for
his faith. After a period of nearly two years in a dark and dirty
prison he was sentenced to death. The exact date and time of his
execution were proclaimed, and once more he had to face the grim
reality of death. This time, however, it was quite different, for the
love of Christ had taken away all fear.
I am glad to say that he escaped, and was able to go on with his
witness for Christ in Burma. Many were won for Christ among the Karens.
"Think much on the love of Christ", Judson used to say to all the
enquirers and converts. In fact, his favourite text was "the breadth,
and length, and depth, and height of the love of Christ" (Ephesians
3:18). I wonder what your favourite text is! - H. F.
THE TWO KINGDOMS
"... who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and
translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love" (Colossians
IF we want to know anything about kings and kingdoms, there is one book
in the Old Testament which is full of those words, and that is the Book
of Daniel. There are a number of chapters in that book which are
narrative and tell us what happened, and it is about those chapters,
particularly chapters two to six, we shall be speaking. They cover a
lot of ground; and if you will read them over again you will find, I
believe, that they are all connected.
THE EARTHLY KINGDOM AND THE HEAVENLY KINGDOM
Chapter 2 brings before us in a graphic way that of which the verse in
Colossians reminds us: there are only two kingdoms. You remember that
Daniel and his friends prayed, and God gave revelation in answer to
that prayer. That revelation was that there is an earthly kingdom --
the image of various metals -- and that there is a heavenly kingdom. I
expect Nebuchadnezzar felt rather pleased to find himself in the centre
of the vision -- "Thou art the head of gold" -- but has it ever
occurred to you that Daniel and his three friends saw where they
were in that vision? They were not in the image, for God has delivered
us from that dominion -- and what a dominion it is! Do not become too
interested in the different kingdoms on the earth and what they
represent, for you may lose sight of the fact that there is only one
kingdom. The nations may come and go, the metals may change, but there
is only one kingdom. Daniel and his friends may have prayed that the
Lord would remove Nebuchadnezzar, but if He had done so, the kingdom
would go on -- and how we have found that, even in our day! One tyranny
departs only to make way for another. There is really only one kingdom
-- the Colossus of man's making fixed upon the earth, and one day to be
destroyed. You notice that when the last expression of the kingdom is
destroyed, then, and not till then, the whole image will fall, for it
stands as one -- and God has delivered us from that!
Then there is another kingdom. Nothing much is said about it; nothing
of the appearance, the constitution, the shape, the form and the
expression of it, as there is in the case of the earthly kingdom. It
cannot be described, for it is heavenly. All that can be said is that
it comes out of a mountain and -- the most important thing -- man never
made it: "Made without hands." The God of heaven has a kingdom in
preparation which is hidden from view now. So far as earthly grandeur,
size, dimension and appearance are concerned it is nothing to be
compared with the earthly kingdom, but one day it is to be revealed as
God's answer -- the kingdom of His dear Son. And Daniel and his friends
realized that they belonged to that kingdom, and Colossians 1:13 tells
us that we are to realize that we do not belong to the one kingdom, but
to that other.
Of course, this does not mean that Daniel and his friends had nothing
to do with anyone or anything in Babylon, for they did. They had names
given them, and you will see that they were called by those Babylonish
names, but when Daniel and his friends got together to pray, they did
not call one another Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego; they used their
real names. There was a fellowship of life that belonged to the other
world, the world of their birth and of God's purpose. But they bore
these Babylonish names apparently without protest and answered to them.
They lived and worked in [10/11] Babylon and to
the outward eye they appeared to have a part in the ordinary life. Take
note of that, for the real difference is not outward, but inward.
THE RESULT OF REPUDIATING THE EARTHLY KINGDOM
So, when we come into chapter 3, we find that though Shadrach, Meshach
and Abednego worked and lived in Babylon, when it came to a spiritual
issue they were men who had no heart relationship at all with that
other kingdom. And what happened to them? That is the development of
the story! What does happen if we repudiate and refuse this kingdom of
darkness, not in some outward way but in an inward heart attitude?
Well, you know that in chapter 3 we have the story of the fiery
furnace, heated "seven times more than it was wont to be heated". "He hath
delivered us from the kingdom of darkness" -- but as soon as we, in a
really living way, take up our place in this world as those who are
delivered from the kingdom of darkness, we shall find that kingdom of
darkness challenging us. No one is permitted to live in Babylon and in
heart be separate from Babylon without knowing the spiritual strength
of evil which is behind Babylon. And let me say in passing, and by the
way, that of the various nations and cities in the Bible that speak of
the power of the god of this world, Babylon is one which speaks of the
world from a religious point of view.
However, that is the issue. "Delivered from the kingdom of darkness"
sounds beautiful when we sing it in a hymn, and it is nice when we have
a vision of what is the glorious end of that other kingdom, but we are
in a fools' paradise if we think we are going on singing about it,
studying it and talking about it until it comes. No! We are going to be
faced immediately with the challenge as to our own heart separation
from this thing, and the furnace will be heated seven times. Perhaps
that explains some of our experiences for which there is no other
explanation. Why is the furnace heated seven times? Because in a new
way, by His grace, we have laid hold of the fact that He has delivered
us from this dominion of darkness. It does not sound like deliverance,
but it is Satan's reaction to our position of faith about our
Is there an alternative? Is there not another way? Yes, there is
another way, and if we go on into Daniel 4 we will find that other way,
for this chapter is about the man who was not delivered -- indeed, he
was bound up with the earthly kingdom. It is a long chapter, and is the
story of the man who did the opposite of what these three men did. They
repudiated Babylon. He gloried in it. They were put into the fiery
furnace. He was the emperor on the throne -- but was he? Not for long!
God challenged him. The three men were challenged by the devil, but
Nebuchadnezzar was challenged by God. The three men had the fiery
furnace heated seven times. Nebuchadnezzar, you will notice if you read
this chapter, had God's judgments on him seven times. There is the
alternative. But now, while for the moment we feel that the position of
the three men in the fiery furnace is a dreadful one and that it is a
hard way to repudiate the spirit of this world, when we read Chapter 4
we find that there is a harder way, for, while we may come up against
the devil if we are true to God, we come up against God if we have any
real heart relationship and affiliation with the kingdom of this world.
God seems to have loved Nebuchadnezzar. He took pains with him, and in
His mercy the king was not destroyed but was brought to his senses; but
it is a very bitter, painful, humiliating experience to be brought to
our senses by God.
There are only two kingdoms, but those two kingdoms are very real. We
have the stark alternatives, the extremes, in chapters 3 and 4: the
extreme of those who are true to God -- for them it is the fiery
furnace -- and the extreme of the man whose heart has the spirit of
Babylon, and he is brought low seven times by the mighty hand of God.
Those are extremes, but they are put for us in that extreme form so
that we may appreciate the principle, and the principle is this: to
belong to the one kingdom is to meet the devil, but to belong to the
other is to meet the Lord.
Well, we will come back to the young men in the fiery furnace, and we
find that they are all right, after all. Indeed, it was the most
wonderful experience of their lives. They were not burned, but were
brought through, for they had the blessed, living Son of God with them
in their trial.
So we see that the vision of the heavenly kingdom always brings its
challenge, but if we will stand firm and say, as they did: 'He has
delivered us from this dominion and what happens to us is His concern,
not ours', the Lord will take that stand with us.
On the one hand, then, there is a man taking the easy way -- but God is
against him. On the other hand there are three men being true to their
vision and taking the hard way, and though it means a fiery furnace,
God is with them. [11/12]
HOLDING FAST THE HEAVENLY KINGDOM
Now we have chapters v and vi of Daniel. Of course, when the events in
chapter vi took place it was very many years after the vision had been
received. Daniel was an old man now, but the challenge goes on all
through the years. The vision must be adhered to right to the end, and
this time the issue is not so much whether Daniel will repudiate
Babylon, the kingdom of this earth, but whether he will hold fast to
the heavenly kingdom. The expression of that heavenly kingdom, as he
knew it, was Jerusalem; and there is always an expression here on earth
of the heavenly kingdom. The Lord will always bring our vision down to
terms of practical matters -- things, places and people. Daniel is not
left saying all through his life: 'I live in Babylon but I do not
belong there. One day I shall go to the kingdom that I belong to
somewhere in the heavens, somewhere in the skies.' No, he has brought
to him the challenge of the earthly expression of that heavenly
kingdom, and the question of whether he will be true to his vision,
even if the lions' den is the alternative. Daniel had his windows
opened to Jerusalem. He took no notice of the great image and had no
heart for Babylon. He looked only at the heavenly kingdom, and all his
heart was for God. 'Well,' said the devil, 'we will see. The lions' den
for you if you take that position!'
HOLDING FAST THE EARTHLY KINGDOM
Let us leave Daniel in the lions' den for a moment and go back to
chapter v -- the story of Belshazzar and the writing on the wall. He
did the opposite thing to Daniel, just as Nebuchadnezzar had done the
opposite from the three young men. They repudiated the image;
Nebuchadnezzar embraced it. Daniel loved the holy things of God;
Belshazzar despised them. I would suppose that the Lord somehow or
other -- in a manner of speaking -- gets used to men's sinfulness, for
he did not judge Belshazzar because of the drunkenness, the foulness,
the debauchery and the horrible atmosphere of his court. At that time
all that did not bring out God's judgment, though it will do one day;
but there was one thing that did bring out His judgments, and swiftly.
There were holy vessels that belonged to the house of God in Babylon,
and in the midst of all the riot and feasting Belshazzar, in his
drunken insolence, called for those holy vessels, despising what was of
God. We know what happened -- the hand that wrote upon the wall the
sentence: "Weighed in the balances and found wanting -- thy kingdom
taken from thee."
Once again let me say that though it is hard to be Daniel holding to
the heavenly vision and facing the lions' den, it is not easier to take
the opposite course and despise the heavenly Jerusalem.
Here again, you say, it is an extreme case. Yes, these are all extreme
cases, but we have to apply to ourselves the issue in whatever degree
it may come to us. We may not be as proud as Nebuchadnezzar, but if we
have the pride of Nebuchadnezzar in our hearts, God will have to meet
it and humble it. We may not be as dissolute as Belshazzar, but if,
having known something of the heavenly kingdom of the Son of God's love
into which He has called us, we regard that as a small thing, if we
push that away into a corner of our lives, if we allow the things of
earth, the praise of men, the interests of this life, to crowd that
out, we are doing in essence what Belshazzar did -- defiling the holy
things of God. And the writing on the wall says: 'That is how you lose
the kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar, thy kingdom is taken from thee.
Belshazzar, weighed in the balances and found wanting, thy kingdom is
taken from thee.'
DELIVERANCE FROM THE EARTHLY KINGDOM
We come back to Daniel in the lions' den and find that the lions did
not eat him after all. The Lord was with him. 'He hath delivered us
from the dominion of darkness', and that does not only mean when we are
walking on the streets of Babylon. It means, thank God! that when we
are in the fiery furnace we are still delivered, because it is not
merely a deliverance from, but a deliverance unto --
"translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love". Thus Daniel
and his friends can not only take the kingdom into Babylon, but they
can take the kingdom into the fiery furnace and quench it by the
presence of the Lord. And they are delivered even in the lions' den,
sharing in the heavenly kingdom even there.
THE ISSUE: SHARING IN THE GLORY OF HIS APPEARING
We have, then, five chapters of the Book of Daniel, and each chapter
brings a picture with a spiritual principle in it. They are governed by
chapter 2 -- a picture of the two kingdoms -- and then tell us of what
happened in ordinary, practical life to men, who were just as we are,
in relation to those two kingdoms. Two of the men failed to appreciate
the true implication of these things. In [12/13]
two cases, with the other four, the revelation that had come to them
transformed their whole lives. They did not only think about it, or
talk about it. When it came to practical matters, they lived it and,
what is more, when the devil sought to quench them, they proved it.
What greater proof of the kingdom of heaven in power is there than that
experience of the men in the fiery furnace? That is not what we think
of when we read Colossians 1:13! We think of the issue when we are
brought out and put on the Throne. That is a nice kingdom! We never
think that it will be a fiery furnace heated seven times.
The devil says to you: 'It is all wrong! Everything is wrong! That
vision did not mean anything.' God says to you: 'Keep steady! I am with
you.' That is the kingdom when it is in Babylon. That is how it works:
when you are in the lions' den you are not alone. When I was a boy I
used to sing:
"Dare to be a Daniel,
Dare to stand alone."
I have no doubt that Daniel felt alone, but he did not stand alone. God
sent an angel, but the Lord will do better than an angel for you -- He
will be with you Himself.
So let us take courage! The issues of these two kingdoms are fierce,
and constant, and will go on right through to the end, but if we will
stand firm we shall see, not only our deliverance from the kingdom of
this world, but its overthrow; we shall not only see the prospect of
the coming of the kingdom, but we shall share in the glory of His
"He hath delivered us" -- let us be sure of it!
"He hath translated us" -- let us give God thanks for it! - H. F.
THE MISSION, THE MEANING AND THE
MESSAGE OF JESUS CHRIST
7. IN THE LETTERS TO THE CORINTHIANS
WE have, in these messages, been seeing that each part (book) of the
New Testament has a particular aspect of Christ to present for the
Church in this dispensation. The writer in his apprehension of Christ
has this burden and urge, and when we have read all the writings we
have a very comprehensive presentation of our Lord. There is, however,
another feature which is so very rich and helpful. It is that these
separate documents are what they are in value because of their
immediate practical context. It is the situations to which they are
addressed which bring out the many-sided fullness of the mission,
meaning and message of Christ. History, both temporal and spiritual,
makes the Christ so necessary, but also so appropriate. This is so very
clear when we see the background and occasion of these writings. The
Letters to the Corinthians -- or the Church in Corinth -- are
particularly rich in the drawing out of Christ, as I trust we shall
see. Oh, for a pen dipped in the fountain of Divine inspiration to show
even something of what is embodied of Christ in these Letters! One's
heart fails before such an undertaking.
When "Corinth" or "Corinthians" are mentioned, the reaction is
immediately that of a frown. The disorders, the wrongs, the sins, and
all that is reprehensible at once take the foreground of the mind.
Truly it is a terrible and distressing state of things, and it may be
excusable if a major question is asked as to whether that is
Christianity. There is no passing over of it lightly and this element,
of contrast and contradiction is not to be excused. The strongest
things are said about it by the writer of the Letters. Face it! Take it
all for what it is! Hide nothing! Having done so ask your major
question: Why did God ever allow all this, and why did He allow it to
be put into a document which would go out to ever-widening circles
through an ever-increasing length of time? Why did not God cover this
shame, this reproach, this contradiction to His own nature and will?
When you have done all that, and asked that ultimate question, you have
really only given the answer. God has never done that, either
in the history of His greatest servants, nor in that of His chosen
people. Over this strange way of God, a way that we think we would
never take, we have to ask a very significant question: Would there be
gain or loss from the standpoint of all future time if all this
delinquency and wrong had been covered over and not have been allowed
to be known to posterity? There are different ways of putting that
question, but, have we, and the Church through the centuries, gained
from the Letters to the Corinthians, seeing what [13/14]
it was that necessitated these Letters? There are two main things that
have to come out of the answer to that basic question. Firstly, the
values that have accrued, which have been drawn out by the
situation being dealt with. Secondly, why was it that such a situation
could exist among Christians?
These two matters are going to take us a long way, and into deep and
very profitable waters or mines.
Let us, then, begin by gathering together some of what we may call
THE SPOIL OF BATTLE
That there was a battle, and a very hot one for God's testimony in
Corinth, does not need arguing. Putting aside, for the moment, the
tragedy and shame of the situation there, what of the values drawn out
We have been accustomed to speaking of the Letters to the Ephesians and
Colossians, with Philippians sandwiched between, as the high-water mark
of New Testament revelation. In their own realm that may be true. That
is, as a revelation of the eternal counsels of God relating to the
Church, as such, it is true. But in the realm of Christianity
and the meaning of the true Christian calling and life, is there
anything comparable in the New Testament with some of the parts of the
first Letter to the Corinthians? Take, for instance, that brief section
in chapter 2, verses 9-10:
"Things which eye saw not, and ear heard not,
And which entered not into the heart of man,
Whatsoever things God prepared for them that love him.
But unto us God revealed them through the Spirit:
for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things
What of the statements in chapter vi, verses 2 and 3, statements which
most commentators and exegetes pass over because they cannot explain
"Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world?"
"Know ye not that we shall judge angels?"
What a startling way of awakening us to the calling in Christ! What
shall we say of chapter 13? Is there anything in all literature to
compare with that? Read it in the various versions, such as Moffat's,
the Amplified, etc. This is indeed a superlative standard for
attainment. No wonder Paul himself elsewhere -- and later -- wrote:
"Brethren, I count not myself to have attained."
But pass on to chapter 15, this utterly breath-taking presentation of
what the Apostle called: "The gospel which we preached". When we read
on to the description of the different categories of the resurrection
bodies of the saints -- sun, moon, stars, glories; the change and
transformation from corruption to incorruption, and all the other
details -- we are left standing, gasping, with one immense question:
'How did Paul come to know all this?' The only possible answer only
increases the wonder of the revelation itself. It must be all of a
piece with his statement about the Lord's Table in chapter x verse 23:
"For I received of the Lord that which I also delivered unto you ...".
Being in the past tense -- "I delivered unto you" must link this on to
the second Letter, chapter 12: "I knew a man in Christ fourteen
years ago ... caught up into Paradise and heard unspeakable things
...". Chapter 15 of the first Letter must be just the fringe of the
Have I established my statement and argument that the sad and
deplorable situation at Corinth was sovereignly in grace made the very
occasion of drawing out some of the most sublime things in Divine
revelation? Thank God for sovereign grace!
Now we must get nearer to the particular purpose of these messages,
namely, what Christ means in this situation.
To reach this we have to note some major features. The Letters to the
Corinthians are full of vivid contrasts. Over against each other there
is the contrast between:
The old creation and the new;
The natural and the spiritual;
Darkness and light;
The earthly and the heavenly;
The temporal and the eternal
The Old Testament and the New; etc.
In between these contrasts stands Jesus Christ with what He means to
each. His back is toward the first set with the mighty "No!" of His
Cross. His face is toward the second category with the mighty "Yes!" of
In this way Christianity is shown to be severed and rent in two.
CHRISTIANITY SPLIT IN TWO
There is here revealed a Christianity to which Christ (in His
mission, meaning and message) says positively "NO!" Over that
Christianity is written a large "CANNOT".
This is taken up for emphasis and pronouncement early in the first
Letter, and runs on through the many matters which are standing for
judgment and [14/15] correction. Only space
forbids us tabulating these points of Divine veto. Let the reader read
the Letters and note the points at which Christ says in effect: "Not
so!" In that way -- in the end -- the inclusive and comprehensive
verdict is: 'You will never get through to God's end in that way!' To
help in seeing this we can note where the Corinthians are placed in
spiritual history and geography. Pick out the allusions to the Old
Testament in these Letters. Two things rise up in bold relief. One, the
old creation with its darkness, chaos, disorder, 'voidness', and
features of judgment. Two, Israel in the wilderness. We will take this
second for our present purpose. Quite clearly, Letter one and chapter x
puts the Corinthians (and a certain kind of Christianity) in the
position of Israel between Egypt and the Land of Promise, and it does
so with a very strong warning. The same position is postulated in
Letter two, chapter 3, at verse 7 to verse 16.
What, then, were the features of that position in Israel's history?
1. They were out of Egypt, the realm of judgment by sovereign
grace, and baptized "in the cloud and sea" positionally.
2. They were in the way of the "heavenly calling", and God's
3. They had the tokens of the supernatural life and position,
e.g. the Manna, and Water, etc: the "mystery of Christ", "and that Rock
was Christ." They knew the sovereign virtue of the blood of the Lamb.
Many were the evidences that God was with them and for them. But with
all that there hung over them continually the threat and peril of
missing the inheritance , which -- alas -- that generation did
do. This is the warning to this certain kind of Christianity in
Corinthians. Why was that? What does "Corinthians" say to that
position? Probably the answer is found in two particulars; one, it is
possible to be out of the world positional and for the world to
still be in you. Egypt, even after all its judgment, still
continued to pull back and maintain its hold. It was never a very
difficult thing to hark back to Egypt. From the Corinthian Letters it
is easy to see that the world had its pull, its influence, its
attraction, over the soul of these Christians. The writer was
very sure that this could be disastrous regarding the inheritance in
the case of those whose standing did not lead to their heavenly
state. In this connection it is that he so strongly
THE NATURAL MAN AND THE SPIRITUAL MAN
Literally this is the man of soul, and the man of spirit. His summing
up of this difference is that the man of soul cannot and does not go
through. He does not come to maturity, but, even after years, he is
still a "babe" (3:1-2). It is "he that is spiritual" who can, and does,
go through! Paul strongly emphasizes the veto that rests upon the one
when he says that "the natural [soulical] man cannot".
Christianity has been very slow to even recognize, to say nothing of
accepting, this great divide. For want of this discrimination
(resulting from a deep ploughing and cleaving work of the Cross) a
Christianity exists which is not going through to what God intends,
and multitudes of Christians are aware of it!
The universities and colleges may make doctors of medicine, philosophy,
art, etc., but be quite sure, a man of the Spirit with the knowledge of
"the things which have not entered into the heart of man" can no man
nor university make! This is the argument and verdict of the New
The inclusive point, then, is that Christ is other. He is the
other Man, the Man of the Spirit. His knowledge, wisdom, ability, are
of another order. The real effect of the indwelling and mastery
of the Holy Spirit is to show and make Christianity a
reproduction, a representation of Christ; the mission, meaning, and
message of Christ is to produce that essentially other kind that He is
(see 2 Corinthians 3:16-18).
But read the two Letters again!
(To be continued)
SIMULATION -- EXAGGERATION --
BIBLE interpreters have been convinced that the words ostensibly
addressed to "the king of Babylon" in Isaiah 14 have a larger context
and can only be exhausted if seen to refer to some erstwhile angelic
being. This conviction is strongly supported by other statements and
allusions in different parts of the Bible, such as Jude 6, 2 Peter 2:4,
Luke 10:18, Philippians 2:6 (margin -- implication to another).
If this is true, then the above makes clear the three steps leading to
Satan's downfall. They also [15/16] indicate the
downfall of much more which has had a good beginning. There is much
solemn and valuable teaching here, although the subject is not pleasant.
"I will be like the Most High" (Isaiah 14:14)
There is much in the Scriptures which shows that one of Satan's master
methods is the imitation of God, and the imitation of God's truth. So
much so is this that tremendous emphasis and importance are placed upon
spiritual discernment as a gift and as a mark of the anointing. Indeed,
it is a characteristic of "he that is spiritual" -- the spiritual man.
We can say that a primary work and function of the Holy Spirit is
discernment. The Holy Spirit is spoken of or represented as having
"seven eyes", which means the perfection of spiritual vision. We can
here introduce another paragraph of much weight from Dr. Tozer:
"COULD THIS BE OUR MOST CRITICAL NEED?"
"When viewing the religious scene today we are tempted to fix on one or
another weakness and say, 'This is what is wrong with the Church. If
this were corrected we could recapture the glory of the Early Church
and have Pentecostal times back with us again.'
"This tendency to oversimplification is itself a weakness and should be
guarded against always.... For this reason I am hesitant to point to
any one defect in present-day Christianity and make all our troubles
stem from it alone. That so-called Bible religion in our times is
suffering rapid decline is so evident as to need no proof; but just
what has brought about this decline is not so easy to discover. I can
only say that I have observed one significant lack among evangelical
Christians which might turn out to be the real cause of most of our
spiritual troubles; and, of course, if that were true, then the
supplying of that lack would be our most critical need.
"The great deficiency to which I refer is the lack of spiritual
discernment, especially among our leaders. How there can be so much
Bible knowledge and so little insight, so little moral penetration, is
one of the enigmas of the religious world today. I think it is
altogether accurate to say that there has never been a time in the
history of the Church when so many persons were engaged in Bible Study
as are so engaged today. If the knowledge of Bible doctrine were any
guarantee of godliness, this would without doubt be known in history as
the age of sanctity. Instead, it may well be known as the age of the
Church's Babylonish captivity, or the age of worldliness when the
professed Bride of Christ allowed herself to be successfully courted by
the fallen sons of men in unbelievable numbers. The body of evangelical
believers, under evil influences, has during the last twenty-five years
gone over to the world in complete and abject surrender, avoiding only
a few of the grosser sins such as drunkenness and sexual promiscuity.
"That this disgraceful betrayal has taken place in broad daylight with
full consent of our Bible teachers and evangelists is one of the most
terrible affairs in the spiritual history of the world. Yet I for one
cannot believe that the great surrender was negotiated by men of evil
heart who set out to deliberately destroy the faith of our Fathers.
Many good and clean-living persons have collaborated with the quislings
who betrayed us. Why? The answer can only be, from lack of
spiritual vision. Something like a mist has settled over the Church
as 'the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is
spread over all nations' (Isaiah 25:7). Such a veil once descended upon
Israel.... That was Israel's tragic hour. God raised up the Church and
temporarily disfranchised His ancient people. He could not trust His
work to blind men. Surely we need a baptism of clear seeing if we are
to escape the fate of Israel ... surely one of the greatest needs is
for the appearance of Christian leaders with prophetic vision. We
desperately needs seers who can see through the mist. Unless they come
soon it will be too late for this generation. And if they do come we
will no doubt crucify a few of them in the name of our worldly
orthodoxy. But the Cross is always the harbinger of the resurrection.
Mere evangelism is not our present need. Evangelism does no more than
extend religion, of whatever kind it may be. It gains acceptance for
religion among larger numbers of people without giving much thought to
the quality of that religion. The tragedy is that present-day
evangelism accepts the degenerate form of Christianity now current as
the very religion of the apostles and busies itself with making
converts to it with no questions asked. And all the time we are moving
farther and farther from the New Testament pattern. We must have a new
reformation. There must come a violent break with that irresponsible,
amusement-mad paganized pseudo-religion which passes today for the
faith of Christ and which is being spread all over the world by
unspiritual men employing unscriptural methods to achieve their ends."
-- Dr. A. W. Tozer.
There are various things in the New Testament [16/17]
which were intended for a witness to Christ; for building up of the
Body of Christ; for the glory of Christ, which -- for those very
reasons -- have been taken hold of by Satan and simulated, imitated,
and given a resemblance to the true, but have been made -- in the end
-- to discredit Christ, and do just the opposite to their Divine
intention. It looks so much like the true that many dear people of God
are deceived, perplexed, and led into error. Mixture of error with
truth has always been a very successful method of seduction, even from
the beginning. God is imitated in idolatry, false worship. Christ is
imitated in anti-Christ. The Holy Spirit is imitated in guidance and
gifts. Man is deceived by the psychic simulating the spiritual. People,
under the stress of pressures of run-down nervous batteries, neuroses,
overstrain, spiritual accusations and condemnations, rush to the
psychiatrist. The method is to get them to relieve themselves of their
tensions by self-expression, divulging hidden things, and in extreme
cases by hypnotism. This has a psychological effect and the patient
feels 'wonderfully relieved'. Expression; expression! Self-expression!
One man told the writer that he came away from the psychiatrist feeling
that he had been "born again", something even better than his
conversion! But -- yes, but! -- it all came back again, and worse than
Psychology -- the science of the psyche -- can be Satan's masterpiece
in simulating the spiritual, and then plunging the soul into deeper
depths of despair.
While there is a releasing of the spirit in prayer and
song, and sometimes release can only be experienced in such ways, and
fellowship is a great means of such blessing, there is the counterfeit
of noisy and soulical chorus-singing and unbalanced repetition. Music
is often the greatest blessing and the greatest peril. "In the Spirit"
is the Divine dictum.
"I will ascend above the heights of the clouds"
This whole paragraph -- Isaiah 14:9-15 -- is an exaggeration, if by
exaggeration is meant 'to heap up, to load beyond normal, to carry to
"I will ascend above ..." holds this meaning -- 'I will exceed'. It is
ambition run amok. It is pride in full tide. It is something
unrestrained by modesty, humility and dependence. It is extravagance.
It is just adding to what is right and true. It is overstepping the
mark. It is inflation. This is the peril of the passionate soul. If
Satan cannot keep back he will push over . If he finds earnest
devotion he will urge it to excess. If he finds an active mind he will
cause it to add that extra to the truth, so that the truth becomes
In "the king of Babylon" we have the exaggeration of personality. "See
this great Babylon which I have made." The "I", the ego, is assertive,
pronounced, overmastering. Leadership and natural ability and gift
become autocracy, dictatorship, even tyrannical. There is often a thin
line between autocracy and spiritual leadership, and it is here
that discernment is needed. The former forces, compels and makes legal.
The latter comes of suffering, deep history with God, and sets a high
standard, and keeps to it. This may be difficult for the flesh in
others to accept, and they may wrongly interpret it. Leadership is a
Divine gift and of great importance. No one will get far without it.
Hence Satan has always marked down this function and its possessors for
special attention to exaggerate it and defeat its true object.
Dependence is the refuge of the spiritual leader, and the Lord very
fully sees to this!
There are many exaggerated movements in our time. Teaching is pushed
just that much beyond its true meaning. Something right and good, and
then the bit in excess. It is thought to be very spiritual, advanced
teaching, but the line of actual meaning has been crossed, and
confusion follows because of an unbalanced emphasis. This has so often
been the cause of exotic and eccentric sects and groups, and their
number is legion. The Athenian propensity was "some new thing", which
usually means some new sensation. How powerfully Satan supports such
exaggerations and makes error grow without proportion! He knows full
well that he is going in this way to fill the world with disillusioned
people who presently will not believe anything, particularly the truth.
It was this very thing which made the Apostle John so strongly, almost
vehemently, pinpoint the truth in his constantly repeated: "This is
...". See his letters, and note his emphasis upon "the anointing
teaching all things". The context is anti-Christ in deception.
"I will exalt my throne above ..."
"Exalt." "Above." The object, the goal, the climax of Satan's
aspiration. It sounds fantastic and remote. But it is not so remote and
unthinkable as it seems at first sight. Is not this the motif and
stimulus of all power politics? If only we realized it, the
undercutting of this was the reason for the Incarnation,
because all sin has sprung from this [17/18]
root. The birth, the childhood, the manhood, that teaching, and the
Cross of Jesus Christ were a positive offset to worldly power and
glory. Never did He seek to 'make an impression', draw to Himself or to
His cause by prestige, elaborateness, glamour, or a show of natural
Even of His rightful heavenly glory and status "He emptied Himself".
His Kingdom and His Kingship were not of this world.
All this was to undo something which had been distorted. This something
is in us all. We worship the idol of success. We have a totally false
conception of strength, power, and importance. Jesus came to correct
this in His own person. "Thou madest him to [in order to] have
dominion." Yes, but not self-centred. "Bringing many sons to glory."
Yes, but the glory of His infinite grace, favour without any merit! "We
shall reign with him." Yes, but as worshippers of the Lamb!
The test of everything is whether it really exalts Christ. Not in word
only. That may be a form of simulation and exaggeration. The
demon-possessed temple girl of Ephesus may sponsor and preach the
Gospel, but it is a "deep thing of Satan", and the Apostle was not
selling the Gospel cheaply to the devil to gain popularity. The
holiness of Christ is the criterion!
So we -- all so briefly -- note the way of Satan's course, but the way
of his fall. The judgment upon his simulation, exaggeration, and
predomination is "Thou shalt be brought down to hell".
Over against the false may the Lord produce the true similitude of
Christ: the true magnifying of Christ: the true exaltation and
supremacy of Christ!
REVELATION IS NOT ENOUGH
[A. W. Tozer]
The following message by the late Dr. A. W. Tozer, to be
included in a further volume of addresses by him now in preparation,
is, we feel, so much in keeping with the ministry of A Witness and
A Testimony, that we borrow it for our readers, assured that they
will be very glad to read it. It was recently in The Alliance
Witness of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. And while
mentioning this, may I say that, in early years of ministry and the
Lord's work, I owed very much to the life of Dr. A. B. Simpson, founder
of that 'Alliance'. - Editor.
"About the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the
temple, and taught. And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this
man letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said, My
doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his
will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I
speak of myself" (John 7:14-17).
THE key, the crux of this whole issue, is in verse 17. If any man is
willing to do God's will, he shall know.
People marvelled at our Lord as He taught. They asked: "How knoweth
this man letters having never learned?" 'How does He know learning', in
other words, 'never having studied in the regular schools?' In those
days they had no schools as we know them; a rabbi taught little groups
of students. Our Lord evidently never attended a rabbinical school so
they asked: 'How does He get His wonderful doctrine, since He has never
been to the schools of the rabbis?'
Now, this question tells us a good deal about these people. It tells us
that they held truth to be intellectual merely, capable of being
reduced to a code. To know truth it was necessary only to learn the
Most of them had no books of their own -- they learned by memorizing.
That was their conception of truth. I gather this not only from verse
17 but from the whole Gospel of John. To these people truth was an
intellectual thing -- just as we know that two times two is four.
That is truth, but it is an intellectual truth only. They reduced
divine truth to that status. They knew the laws: "Thou shalt have no
other gods before me.... Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy....
Thou shalt not ...". But to them there was no mysterious depth in
truth, nothing beneath and nothing beyond the obvious fact. It was
exactly here that they parted company with our Saviour, for our Lord
Jesus constantly taught the beyond and the beneath.
These people believed that the words of truth were the truth. And here
is a basic misunderstanding of Christian theology with a moral and
spiritual consequence that is vastly important. They believed that if
you had the words of truth, if you could repeat the code of truth, you
had the truth. That if you lived by the word of truth you lived in the
The Saviour tried to correct this inadequate view. He showed them the
heavenly quality of His message. He said: 'My doctrine is not Mine -- I
am [18/19] not a rabbi teaching doctrine that
you can memorize and repeat. What I am giving you is not that kind of
doctrine at all.'
He had said previously: 'I say nothing for Myself -- what I see the
Father do, that I do, and what the Father speaks, that I speak. What I
have seen yonder I tell you about. I am a transparent medium through
which the truth is being spoken. You believe that the way to truth is
to go to a rabbi and learn it. That's not the truth, that approach to
truth is inadequate.'
Here, it seems to me, is the weakness in modern Christianity. The
battle line, the warfare today, is not necessarily between the
fundamentalist and the liberal. There is a difference between them, of
course. The fundamentalist says God made the heaven and the earth. The
liberal says: 'Well, that's a poetic way of stating it; actually it
came up by evolution.' The fundamentalist says Jesus Christ was the
very Son of God. The liberal says: 'Well, He certainly was a wonderful
man and He is the Master, but I don't quite know about His deity.' So
there is a division, but I don't think the warfare is on these matters
The battle has shifted to another more important field. The warfare,
the dividing line today, is between evangelical rationalists and
evangelical mystics. I will explain what I mean.
There is today an evangelical rationalism which is the same as these
Jews had. They said the truth is in the word, and if you want to know
truth, go to the rabbi and learn the word. If you get the word, you
have got the truth. That is evangelical rationalism and we have that
today in fundamental circles. 'If you learn the text you've got the
This evangelical rationalism will kill the truth just as quickly as
liberalism will, though in more subtle way. The liberal stands over
there and says: 'I don't believe your inspired Bible; I don't believe
your deified Christ. I believe the Bibles in a way; it is the record of
the high points of great men and I believe in a certain mystic
communion with the universe and it is all very wonderful, but I don't
believe as you do.'
You can easily spot this man -- train your glasses on him and there he
stands. You can tell he is on the other side, for he wears the uniform
of the other side.
But your evangelical rationalist wears our uniform. He comes in wearing
our uniform and says what the Pharisees, the worst enemies Jesus had
while He was on earth, said: 'Well, truth is truth, and if you believe
the truth you've got it.
Such see no beyond and no mystic depth, no mysterious heights, nothing
supernatural or divine. They see only: "I believe in God the Father
Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth: and in Jesus Christ His only Son,
our Lord." They have the text and the code and the creed, and to them
that is the truth. So they pass it on to others. The result is we are
Now, what about the evangelical mystic? I don't really like the word
'mystic' because you think of a fellow with long hair and a little
goatee who acts dreamy and strange. Maybe it is not a good word at all,
but I am talking about the spiritual side of things -- that the truth
is more than the text. There is something that you've got to get
through to. The truth is more than the code. There is a heart beating
in the middle of the code and you've got to get there.
Now the question is simply this: Is the body of Christian truth enough?
Or does truth have a soul as well as a body? The evangelical
rationalist says that all of that talk about the soul of truth is
poetic nonsense. The body of truth is all you need; if you believe the
body of truth you are on your way to heaven and you can't backslide and
everything will be allright and you will get a crown in the last day.
Now otherwise stated: Is revelation enough or must there be
illumination? Is this Bible an inspired book? Is it a revealed book? Of
course you and I believe that it is a revelation, that God spoke all
these words and holy men spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
I believe that this Bible is a living book, that God has given it to us
and that we dare not add to it or take away from it. It is revelation.
But revelation is not enough. There must be illumination before
revelation can get to your soul. It isn't enough that I hold an
inspired book in my hands. I must have an inspired heart. There is the
You can memorize all the texts of the Bible -- and I believe in
memorizing -- but when you are through you've got nothing but the body.
There is the soul of truth as well as the body. There is a divine
inward illumination the Holy Ghost must give us or we don't know what
Conversion is a miraculous act of God by the Holy Ghost; it must be
wrought in the spirit. The body of truth is not enough; there must be
an inward illumination.
Christ's conflict was with the theological rationalist. It revealed
itself in the Sermon on the Mount and the whole Book of John. Just as
Colossians argues against Manichaeism and Galatians argues against
Jewish legalism, so the Book of John is a long, inspired, passionately
outpoured book trying to save us from evangelical rationalism, the
doctrine [19/20] that says the text is enough.
Textualism is as deadly as liberalism.
Now revelation, I repeat, can't save. Revelation is the ground upon
which we stand. Revelation tells us what to believe. It is the Book of
God and I stand for it with all my heart; but there must be, before I
can be saved, illumination, penitence, renewal, inward deliverance.
I have no doubt that many people are eased into the kingdom. They are
jockeyed into believing in the text, and they do; but they have never
been illuminated by the Holy Ghost. They have never been renewed in
their hearts. They never get into the kingdom at all.
Now, there is a secret in divine truth altogether hidden from the
unprepared soul. This is where we stand in the terrible day in which we
live. Christianity is not something you just reach up and grab. There
must be a preparation of the mind, a preparation of the life and a
preparation of the inner man before we can savingly believe in Jesus
Somebody asks: Is it possible to hear the truth and not understand the
truth? Listen to Isaiah: "Hear ye indeed, but understand not, and see
ye indeed, but perceive not" (6:9). It is possible to see yet not
Paul says (1 Corinthians 2:4-5): "My speech and my preaching was not
with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit
and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men,
but in the power of God."
Now the theological rationalists say that your faith should stand not
in the wisdom of man but in the Word of God. Paul didn't say that at
all. He said your faith should stand in the power of God.
That's quite a different thing.
Verses 9 through 14 say: "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither
have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared
for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his
Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of
God. For what man knoweth the things of man, save the spirit of man
which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the
Spirit of God.... But the natural man receiveth not the things of the
Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know
them, because they are spiritually discerned."
Paul, the man of God, is saying: I came preaching and I preached with
power that would illuminate and get to the conscience and to the spirit
and change the inner man in order that your faith might stand in the
power of God.
My brethren, your faith can stand in the text and you can be as dead as
the proverbial doornail, but when the power of God moves in on the text
and sets the sacrifice on fire, then you have Christianity. We call
that revival, but it's not revival at all. It is simply New Testament
Christianity. It's what it ought to have been in the first place, but
Now look at Matthew 11: "Jesus answered and said, I thank thee O
Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things
from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so,
Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered
unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father,
neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever
the Son will reveal him."
So there we have the doctrine taught plainly that there is not only a
body of truth which we must hold at our peril; there is also a soul in
that body which we must get through to, and if we don't get through to
the soul of truth we have only a dead body on our hands.
A church can go on holding the creed. and the truth for years and
generations and grow old and die, and new people come up and receive
that same code and they grow old and die.
Then some revivalist comes in and gets everybody stirred and prayer
moves God down on the scene and revival comes to that church. People
who thought they were saved get saved. People who have only believed in
a code now believe in Christ.
A man will go along in a church and believe texts and quote them and
memorize them and teach them and maybe become a deacon and all the
rest. Then one day, under the fiery preaching of some visitor or maybe
the pastor, he suddenly feels himself terribly in need of God and he
forgets all his past history and goes to his knees and like David
begins to pour out his soul in confession. Then he leaps to his feet
and testifies: 'I've been a deacon in this church twenty-six years and
never was born again until tonight.'
What happened? That man had been trusting the dead body of truth until
some inspired preacher let him know that truth has a soul. Or maybe God
taught him in secret that truth had a soul as well as a body and he
dared to get through and pursue by penitence and obedience until God
honoured his faith and flashed the light on. And like lightning out of
heaven it touched his spirit and all the texts he had memorized became
Thank God, he did memorize the texts and all the truth he knew suddenly
now bloomed in the light. That is why I believe we ought to memorize. [20/21] That is why we ought to get to know the Word,
why we ought to fill our minds with the songs and the great hymns of
the church. They won't mean anything to us until the Holy Ghost comes.
But when He comes He will have fuel to use. Fire without fuel won't
burn but fuel without fire is dead. And the Holy Ghost will not come on
a church where there is no Biblical fuel. There must be Bible teaching.
We must have the body of truth.
Jesus said if any man is willing to do God's will, he shall know
-- he shall know the doctrine, he shall know the teaching. Now, this
body of truth can be grasped by the average, normal intellect. You can
grasp truth, but only the enlightened soul will ever know the truth and
only the prepared heart will ever be enlightened.
And just what is the preparation needed? Jesus said: 'If any man is
willing to do My will the light will flash in on him. If any man
will obey Me, God will enlighten his soul immediately.'
We make Jesus Christ a convenience. We make Him a lifeboat to get us to
shore, a guide to find us when we are lost. We reduce Him simply to Big
Friend to help us when we are in trouble.
That is not Christianity. Jesus Christ is Lord. But when a man is
willing to do His will, he is repenting and the truth flashes in.
No man can know the Son except the Father tell him. No man can know the
Father except the Son reveal Him. I can know about God, that's the body
of truth. But I can't know God, the soul of truth, unless I am ready to
Before the Word of God can mean anything inside of me there must be
obedience to the Word. Truth will not give itself to a rebel. Truth
will not impart life to a man who will not obey the light! "If we walk
in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with
another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all
sin." If you are disobeying Jesus Christ you can't expect to be
But there is illumination. I know what Charles Wesley meant when he
wrote: "His spirit answers to the blood, And tells me I am born of
God!" Nobody had to come and tell me what he meant. 'He that is willing
to do My will,' said Jesus, 'shall have a revelation to his own heart.
He shall have an inward illumination that tells him he is a child of
If a sinner goes to the altar and a worker with a marked New Testament
argues him into the kingdom, the devil will meet him two blocks down
the street and argue him out of it again. But if he has an inward
illumination and he has that witness within because the Spirit answers
to the blood, you can't argue with that man. He will say: 'But I know.'
A man like that is not bigoted or arrogant, he is just sure.
Now that's revival, but yet it is not revival either; it is normal
Christianity. It's the way we should be. "If any man will do his will,
he shall know."
But you say you're going to take a Bible course. If you are holding out
on God, refusing to follow Jesus, you can take a course and learn all
about synthesis and analysis and all the rest. But you might just as
well read Pogo; all the courses in the world won't illuminate you
inside. You can fill your head full of knowledge, but the day that you
decide you are going to obey God it will get down into your heart. You
shall know. Only the servants of truth can ever know truth. Only those
who obey can ever have the inward change.
You can stand on the outside and can know all about it. I once read a
book about the inner spiritual life by a man who was not a Christian at
all. He had an amazing penetration. He was a sharp intellectual, a keen
Englishman. He stood outside and examined spiritual people from the
outside but nothing ever reached him.
You can read your Bible -- read any version you want -- and if you are
honest you will admit that it is either obedience or inward blindness.
You can repeat the Book of Romans word for word and still be blind
inwardly. You can quote the whole Book of Psalms and still be blind
inwardly. You can know the doctrine of justification by faith and take
your stand with Luther and the Reformation, and be blind inwardly. For
it is not the body of truth that enlightens; it is the Spirit of truth
If you are willing to obey the Lord Jesus He will illuminate your
spirit, inwardly enlighten you, and the truth you have known will now
be known spiritually and power will begin to flow up and out and you
will find yourself changed, marvellously changed. In that great day of
Christ's coming all that will matter is whether or not I have been
inwardly illuminated. Inwardly regenerated. Inwardly purified.
Do I know Jesus? [21/22]
We acknowledge with gratitude the following gifts received during
October and November, 1969:
Aberdare £3; Amstelveen, Holland £17 5s.; Ashtead £2
10s.; Auckland, New Zealand £1; Bangalore, India £10;
Beckenham 10s., £5; Bedford £1; Belfast £5, £1,
£2 7s.; Bengeo £1 3s. 6d.; Bideford £1 10s. 10d.;
Blackpool 15s.; Blackwood £1; Bolton £4 15s.; Boorhaman,
Australia £6 19s. 6d.; Bournemouth 16s.; Brentwood 10s.;
Bridlington £2; Brighton 10s.; Bristol £2 2s.; Bromley
£6, £3, £6; Buntingford £1; Clacton-on-Sea
£1 3s.; Cleveland, Ohio 16s. 8d.; Colchester £1 0s. 6d.;
Colwyn Bay £1; Congleton £3, £2; Coulsdon £1;
Croydon 12s. 6d.; Deal £1 18s.; Doncaster £3 10s.; Dublin
£1, £2 17s. 6d.; Durham 12s. 6d; Eastbourne £4 14s.,
£4 17s. 3d.; Edinburgh £1 10s., £5 5s.; Farsund,
Norway £5; Felixstowe 10s.; Feltham 6s.; Glasgow £2,
£1; Halesowen 10s.; Hastings £5, £5; Hemyock £4
3s. 6d.; Henley-in-Arden £2; Hirwaun £1; Horley £1
16s.; Hornchurch 3s. 6d.; Humbie £2; Ipswich £2 5s. 6d.;
Kaleden, Canada £3 10s; Knock £3; Leamington Spa £5;
Leeds £1; London N.14 £10; N.19 £1 6s. 6d; S.E.3
15s.; S.E.12 £5, £3; S.E.23 £5, 5s., £1,
£5; S.E.25 £1; Loughton 17s.; Louth £4 7s. 4d.; Lydd
£2; Maidstone £2; Manchester 10s. 6d.; New Milton
£20; Niagara Falls, Canada £3 16s. 11d.; Norwich £3;
Ormskirk 14s.; Paris, France £2 17s. 6d.; Pontypool 10s.; Porth
16s.; Preston £3; Redhill £4 16s. 9d.; St. Keverne
£10; Saskatoon, Canada £3 1s. 6d.; Sevenoaks £4 4s.
9d.; Sheffield £1 10s.; Simmozheim, Germany £1; Somers
Point, New Jersey £4 3s. 4d.; Stonebroom £1 2s. 6d.;
Stowmarket 10s.; Sutton £5; Trelewis £5; Tunbridge Wells
£1, 13s. 6d.; Wales £1; Wimborne £1. Total:
£289 13s. 4d.
Allentown, Pa. $5; Baltimore, Md. $5; Bedford, Ind. $20; Birmingham,
Ala. $25, $25; Braintree, Mass. $10; Brooklyn, N.Y. $15; Cleveland,
Ohio $2; Clubb, Mo. $5.35; Corinna, Maine $5; East Corinth, Maine
$49.25; Fort Worth, Texas $10, $10; Franklin Square, N.Y. $11; Hacienda
Heights, Calif. $9.30; Hastings, Minn. $2; Highlands, Texas $2;
Hilversum, Holland $5; Irving, Texas $2.50; Lansdowne, Pa. $20;
Lexington, Ky. $25; Los Alanitos, Calif. $10; Mansfield, Ohio $10;
Marshall Minn. $30; Monroe, Mich. $9.50; Mt. Vernon, N.Y. $5; Orlando,
Fla. $5; Pinson, Ala. $10; Richmond, Va. $5; Ridgefield, N.J. $20; San
Dimas, Calif. $10; Westchester, N.Y. $10; Williamsport, Pa. $5. Total:
Val Marie, Saskatchewan $2; Woodstock, Ontario $10. Total: C$12.00.
Bern, Switzerland Swiss Fcs. 20.00.
"Out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote
unto you ... that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly
unto you" (2 Corinthians 2.4).
A ministry that is to bring healing and life must spring essentially
from experience. This fact is strikingly displayed in the apostle Paul.
The ministry of 1 Corinthians, for example, is based firmly on the man
revealed to us in 2 Corinthians.
In 1 Corinthians Paul writes of God's choice of "the weak things"; 2
Corinthians shows in grim reality his own experience of a divinely
imposed weakness. In the first letter Paul appeals to his readers for
unity; in the second he shows how, in spite of their rebuffs, he still
counts himself one of them. Chapter 13 of the fist letter offers his
classic treatment of love; in 2 Corinthians 12.15 he affirms "I will
most gladly spend and be spent for your souls." Finally, 1 Corinthians
15 gives us the clearest teaching anywhere in the New Testament on the
subject of the resurrection: yet 2 Corinthians makes plain his own
desperate need to trust from hour to hour in "God which raiseth the
dead". At every point his doctrine is backed with experience. Nothing
else really constitutes a basis for a ministry of Christ. - W. N. [22/23]
WITNESS AND TESTIMONY LITERATURE
The books and booklets listed below can all be ordered
by post from the addresses given at the end of the list. More detailed
information about the literature is available on application to the
Witness and Testimony office in London.
|By T. Austin-Sparks
|THE STEWARDSHIP OF THE MYSTERY
| Vol. 1 ALL THINGS IN CHRIST
| Vol. 2
||(Art paper covers)
|WHAT IS MAN?
|THE ON-HIGH CALLING or COMPANIONS
| OF CHRIST AND OF A HEAVENLY CALLING
|DISCIPLESHIP IN THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST
|GOD'S REACTIONS TO MAN'S DEFECTIONS
|WE BEHELD HIS GLORY (Vol. 1)
||(Art paper covers)
|WE BEHELD HIS GLORY (Vol. 2)
||(Art paper covers)
|RIVERS OF LIVING WATER
|THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PAUL
|WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CHRISTIAN
|FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS OF THE
| CHRISTIAN LIFE
|THE GOLD OF THE SANCTUARY or
| THE FINAL CRITERION
|THE CITY WHICH HATH FOUNDATIONS
|THE RECOVERING OF THE LORD'S
| TESTIMONY IN FULLNESS
|THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST
|THE SPIRITUAL MEANING OF SERVICE
|THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CHRIST
|IN TOUCH WITH THE THRONE
| (Some Considerations on the
|THE CENTRALITY AND SUPREMACY OF
| THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
|HIS GREAT LOVE
|UNION WITH CHRIST
|THE MORE EXCELLENT MINISTRY
| (Incorporating Union with Christ
| The Ministry of Elijah and Stewardship)
|CHRIST -- ALL, AND IN ALL
|CHRIST IN HEAVEN AND CHRIST WITHIN
|"I WILL OVERTURN"
|THE SUPREME VOCATION
||or 5/- per dozen
|A GOOD WARFARE
||or 5/- per dozen
|WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN?
||or 5/- per dozen
|THE BLOOD, THE CROSS AND THE
| NAME OF THE LORD JESUS
|THE ARM OF THE LORD
|CHRIST OUR LIFE
||Free of charge
|By H. Foster (Booklet)
|THE REALITY OF GOD'S HOUSE
|By Various Authors
| (Each volume contains a number of
separate messages )
|THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY
| The three volumes, when ordered
|For Boys and Girls
|By G. Paterson
|GOSPEL MESSAGES FROM THE ANTARCTIC
| (170-page cloth-bound book.
|By H. Foster
| (All with illustrated art paper
|READY FOR THE KING (48 pp. Illus.)
|ON WINGS OF FAITH (52 pp. Illus.)
|BURIED TREASURE (48 pp. Illus.)
|OPENING IRON GATES (40 pages)
|Published by SURE FOUNDATION
|By DeVern Fromke
|THE ULTIMATE INTENTION
|UNTO FULL STATURE
A WITNESS AND A TESTIMONY
The six issues of the magazine, bound together, to form a volume with
light blue art paper cover, are available for the following years:
1956, 1959, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969. Price per volume (1
year): 5/- ($0.70).
Certain back issues of the paper are also available and will be sent to
those who desire them at cost of postage only. Please indicate the date
of the issue(s) required.
POSTAGE AND PACKING: For postage and packing please add
the following to the total amount of the books ordered:
Orders totalling less than £1 -- please add 2d in the shilling.
Orders totalling more than £1 -- please add 2/6 in the £.
To the U.S.A.: Please add 10 cents in the dollar.
Orders for literature and requests for "A Witness and A Testimony"
should be addressed to:
WITNESS AND TESTIMONY LITERATURE TRUST,
39 Honor Oak Road, London, S.E.23, England.
Telephone: 01-699 5216/4339
Witness and Testimony literature can also be obtained from:
|P.O. Box 68505,
||1505 South Westmoreland Avenue,
|Indiana 46268, U.S.A.
||California 90006, U.S.A.
|Convocation Literature Sales,
||Evangelical Literature Service,
|1370 Ray Street,
||(Mr. Donald J. David),
||158 Purasawalkam High Road,
|Virginia 23502, U.S.A.
||Madras, 7, India.
Printed in Great Britain by Billing and
Sons Limited, Guildford and London [24/ibc]
[Inside back cover]
LITERATURE IN FRENCH
(translated from English)
|By T. Austin-Sparks
||[By T. Austin-Sparks (continued)]
|L'Alpha et l'Oméga
||Questions Fondamentales de la Vie
||Le Service de Dieu
|Ce que Signifie Etre un Chrétien
||Son Grand Amour
|Le Chandelier Tout en Or
||Un Témoin et un Témoignage
|Les Choses de l'Esprit
||La Vie de l'Esprit
|Christ notre Vie
||La Vocation Céleste
|Christ -- tout, et en tous
|Le Dieu de l'Amen
||By H. Foster
|L'Ecole de Christ
||L'Eglise que Dieu demande Aujourd'hui
|En Contact avec le Trône
||La Prière de l'Eglise et l'Accroissement
|Il faut qu'll Règne
|Un Jeu de Patience
||La Réalité de la Maison de Dieu
|La Loi de l'Esprit de Vie en Jésus-Christ
|La Maison Spirituelle de Dieu
||By Watchman Nee
|La Place Centrale et la Suprématie du
||Etre Assis, Marcher, Tenir Ferme
| Seigneur Jésus-Christ
||Qu'en sera-t-il de cet Homme?
|Quelques Principes de la Maison de Dieu
||La Vie Chrétienne Normale
|Qu'est-ce que l'Homme?
|Qu'est-ce qu'un Chrétien?
The above literature in French can be obtained from: Mr. J. C.
Lienhard, 12 rue des Peupliers, 92 Bois-Colombes, France. Telephone:
[Back cover is blank]