"A Candlestick of Pure Gold: of Beaten Work" Exodus 25:31

"The Testimony of Jesus"
Revelation 1:9

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November -- December, 1970 Vol. 48, No. 6




We asked for much prayer for the conference in Switzerland in September. It is therefore due to you to be told of the Lord's very great faithfulness in answering. Many who have been at these conferences over a number of years said that this was the best ever. As you know, after twelve years at Aeschi, and more years in other places, we had to find a new and larger hotel this year. This was found (through the help of one of our old friends) and everyone said that there could be none better. It made it possible for practically all our guests to be under one roof, in very comfortable provision. There were also daily visitors in addition to the resident conference company. The management and staff were most helpful, and the Lord gave us beautiful weather throughout. We have often remarked that, apart from the ministry, the fellowship at these conferences is a very great blessing, for so many come from lonely places where fellowship with other believers is very limited. Our company was composed of friends from some twelve nations, such as France, Denmark, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, South Africa, India, Australia, Jugoslavia, United States of America, the United Kingdom, and Singapore.

The ministry was fulfilled by Mr. Poul Madsen, Mr. Roger Forster, Mr. W. E. Thompson, and the Editor.

The gathering around the Lord's Table on the closing day of the conference was both precious and wonderful. It was just as though the nations were waiting at the door in order to move in to lay their tributes of praise at the Lord's feet. The opening of that door to worship just found a spontaneous stream of thanksgiving which would have gone on much longer than time permitted. It was a miniature of that vision of saints from all nations worshipping the Lamb to which we are looking forward.

Valuable help in the interpretation was given by [121/122] our brothers Rohrer, Wollf, and Vaiss. The messages, in whole or part, will appear in the Witness and Testimony, and we should very much have liked to have put in this issue a full message from each speaker, but the completion of some series makes it necessary for us to hold these over until later.

We have come from that conference feeling quite truly that it was really of the Lord, and much conflict beforehand was well explained.

So we thank all who prayed with and for us, and we greet all who were with us.

Now, with this issue of the paper we complete another year. It is truly of the Lord's grace that we have done so, for it has been a year of unusual pressure and difficulty. There have been times when we have wondered whether our ministry was not drawing to a close. It has not been easy to reconcile such a contingency with the many -- and growing number of those -- who express their sense of need for what the Lord gives through this medium. But that event must come at some time, either by our personal homecall, or by His coming. The Lord has given us a motto for 1971 which, while encouraging and assuring us, seems to point to need in the coming days. It is not easy to believe that things can go on much longer as they are in the world. Much easier is it to believe that His coming is drawing very near. Amongst the various 'signs' in the national, international, political, industrial phenomenal, etc., the moral degeneration has always been a very clear pointer to an intervention on God's part; what the Bible calls "the cup of iniquity". Surely this cup is fast filling up. In Noah's time it was said that 'every imagination of man's heart was evil'. The Pilgrim Church longs for home. Nature groans within itself. Iniquity cries in the streets. We all say: 'Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!" But the urge is upon us to take from the Lord's hands all that He is prepared to give us to feed the hungry sheep. Pray that the strength needed may be given, and that we may still "bring forth fruit (even) in old age".

Thank you truly for all the help you have given through this year, and the Lord make your cup overflow with His goodness.

Yours in His unfailing grace, T. Austin-Sparks


(Note: In the sequence of this series of messages, the next in order would be the Letter to the Philippians. This has been included in the other series -- last month's issue, "The Battle for Life". Hence, we proceed to "Colossians".)


IN 'Philippians' the climax and crown of all is in one clause: "the Name which is above every name" (2:9). That is the point at which the Colossian Letter begins. The supremacy of Christ is horizoned in 'Philippians' by two clauses: "Equal with God" (2:6) and "the Name above every name" (2:9). In 'Colossians' the One who was equal with God is presented as the Creator of all things and the [122/123] Upholder or integrating centre. But here we are brought to the farthest range of His victorious work, and the utmost realm of that "Name". We are not going to take time in telling of and explaining the Gnostic error which called forth this Letter from the Apostle. The conclusion which we shall point out will do all that is necessary in that connection.

Having declared that Jesus Christ was the Creator, the Container, the Consistor and the Upholder of all things, the Apostle makes one flashing and devastating declaration: "He stripped off the principalities and powers, and made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it [the Cross]" (2:15). This is terrific! It links the Cross with that immense revolt against God and His 'appointed heir of all things' which took place in a dateless past, before creation: the occasion of the "casting down" of Satan and the angels which "kept not their first estate" (Jude 6), a rebellion which has built up a vast world kingdom and system which determined to exclude or prevent Christ from His inheritance. The serried ranks of spiritual forces are opposed to God and all His rights. A kosmic conflict for the government of this world and its occupants has been operative through the ages, and for the universe. This conflict from outside made its first historical impact upon the first couple, and it looks as though that battle went in favour of Satan. From then on an innumerable host of hostile forces were let loose to press home this advantage. The two major spiritual weapons of Satan and his hosts are sin and death. God's counter to these are righteousness and life in similar sequence. Upon these two pairs the whole Bible rests. Thus it is that something more than historical (i.e. earthly) redemption is essential; it had to be kosmic, universal, super-mundane.

'Colossians' is set in that context, and its focus is the supremacy of Christ and the range of His Cross. The Cross there is seen as cleaving a devastating rift between the two kosmic and world rulers, and between the two forces of sin and death, on the one side, and righteousness and life on the other.

But what a different complexion it gives to Christ crucified! The broken, battered, pierced, bleeding, despised and rejected "Man of Calvary" is not just Jesus the Nazarene dying at the hands of evil men; He is fighting out to an eternal issue the battle of the eternities with the kosmic forces of the universe, and settling for ever the question of sin and righteousness; of death and life, and laying down the foundation of human destiny!

There are two ways of seeing that drama of Calvary. One is that of a human tragedy with all its horrors and pathos, giving a place to Satanic triumph and sinful man's evil power. This interpretation would spell the defeat of God, the vanquishing of righteousness, and the victory of death. Such an interpretation would give credit to all the planners and executors of Christ's destruction and make the crucifixion to be a vindication of the Jewish rulers, who were the primary schemers and actors in the work. But there is another and still deeper interpretation and power. The Bible speaks of a Wisdom, a profound wisdom which is hid in God from before times eternal, hid from men, hid from devils, and hid from Satan himself. This means that both men and the evil kosmic forces are in darkness and blindness, and are deceived, so that they really do not know what they are doing in their hatred, malice and spite. The result is that, all unconsciously and blindly, they are only carrying out what God intended, and fulfilling the very purpose which they intended to destroy. This is exactly what happened at Calvary. A great work of kosmic redemption was accomplished there through the very means being used by Satan with the idea of totally preventing it. So Paul speaks of "Christ crucified , the wisdom and power of God" (1 Corinthians 1:23-24).

The Bible views the human race and the world as being in the prison and authority of this great spiritual system headed by Satan. Man is wholly unable to free himself; he has neither the wisdom nor the power to do so. A Man must come to his rescue and, because it is sin and death which are the binding power and basis of the arch-enemy's hold, the Rescuer and Deliverer must draw both the enemies and their power on to Himself (like Samson and the Philistines) -- "through death destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil" (Hebrews 2:14).

This the Final Adam did when He "to the rescue came". The original commission of the Apostle Paul was couched in these words: "I send thee, to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God ..." (Acts 26:17-18). There you have it. While redemption has many aspects, which are represented by the various words and terms used in the Gospel, that is the outermost and all-inclusive range and realm in this kosmic redemption.

We have, in much fewer words than are really required, ranged the Gospel of our salvation, but surely we have said enough to show how much greater salvation is than is often so cheaply presented in evangelism. One sometimes thinks that Satan must be very pleased with the cheap and easygoing presentation of this that -- to him -- spells such devastation! We are called to a very great heavenly vocation in the ages to come and to "attain" is through the most terrific debacle in the history of this universe. Read again the Letter to the Colossians in this light. It is surely not without significance that -- in the Holy Spirit's ordering -- this Letter is the last doctrinal document from the pen of the Apostle Paul before the Letters on the Lord's coming, the consummation of all things, although the chronological order would be otherwise. [123/124]



"For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Romans 8:29).

"He that descended is the same also that ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things" (Ephesians 4:10).

"My little children, of whom I am again in travail until Christ be fully formed in you" (Galatians 4:19).

"... to whom God was pleased to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the nations, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27).

"... being made manifest that ye are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in tables that are hearts of flesh" (2 Corinthians 3:3).

IT is very important for us to recognize just what those last words are saying. What is the meaning of 2 Corinthians, chapter three and verse three? To begin with, we can break it up into three things.

Firstly, it says that the Holy Spirit is writing a life of Christ. Secondly, this writing of the life of Christ is in the inner experience of believers. Thirdly, this biography of Jesus Christ is for all men to read. Is that perfectly clear? Well, let us break it up again.


We will begin with the parchment. You know that the New Testament was written originally upon parchment. At one time the Apostle Paul asked someone very particularly to bring his parchments to him, and probably they were his epistles. Now he says that the Holy Spirit is writing a life of Christ on parchment, but this parchment is the inner life of believers. He says: "Not in tables of stone", and although he does not actually say so, he means that it is not on parchment. The writing material of the Holy Spirit is the inner life of believers. The born-again believer has a new inner life upon which the Holy Spirit can write, but the one who is not born again is not suitable parchment for the Holy Spirit. The Apostle said quite a lot about that in the first letter to the Corinthians. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them" (1 Corinthians 2:14). In other words, the natural man is not suitable writing material for the Holy Spirit, and it is only the spiritual man who is suitable for the work of the Holy Spirit.

The Lord Jesus said this to Nicodemus, who was very familiar with the parchments of the Old Testament. He knew all about those manuscripts, but the Lord Jesus told him that he was not suitable material for the Holy Spirit. He could not receive Him, and therefore he could not understand what He was doing. The Lord Jesus told him: 'You must be born again, for you must be a new man to understand what the Holy Spirit is saying.'

This new man is made alive to the Holy Spirit and is sensitive to Him. We have here a tape recorder, and all that is being said is being received because the tape is sensitive. If anyone coughs in this meeting we shall hear it for months, and perhaps for years to come! So it is with the spirit of the new man in Christ. The Holy Spirit is writing a life of Christ, and I do trust that we are all going to be very sensitive to Him in these days.


The next thing that we note is that the spiritual experiences of believers are a repetition of the life of Jesus Christ, and it is upon that statement that our morning meetings this week will be founded. It may take you some time to understand it, but I do want you to recognise what this word is saying. The Holy Spirit is writing a biography of Jesus Christ, and it is a spiritual biography, written in the spiritual life and experience of believers. All that which was true of the Lord Jesus, excepting His deity, is going to be written in our spiritual experience. That is a tremendous statement! And it is going to be a tremendous thing to recognise. You have spiritual experiences, things come into your spiritual history; but if you understand what the Holy Spirit is doing, you should realise that He is writing something about the Lord Jesus, and that [124/125] something that was true of the Lord Jesus is being reproduced in you.

You will recall the passages which we read: "Foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son ... Christ fully formed in you ... that he might fill all things." Our spiritual life belongs to the "all things", and your spirit is one of the "things".

Let me repeat: The Holy Spirit is now writing a biography, the life of Christ, in the spiritual history of the Lord's people.


The first great thing about the Lord Jesus was His Sonship, and the Holy Spirit is writing sonship in us. Remember that sonship always relates to God's purpose, for it is the beginning and the end of His purpose, which is in humanity. While Jesus Christ, as Son of God, is God Himself, sonship relates to humanity. It is in the incarnation of the Lord Jesus that His Sonship is manifested. You see, I am leaving deity aside, for the deity of the Lord Jesus is not something that will be reproduced in us, but, leaving His deity aside, the Holy Spirit is writing His sonship in us. The little fragment that we read said: "That he might be the firstborn among many brethren", and by new birth we receive the gift of sonship.

So, sonship is the basis of all God's work. It begins in Jesus Christ, and then it is carried on in the born-again believer.


We often use the word 'testimony' in relation to the Lord Jesus. The 'testimony of Jesus' is used in various ways, but it is not a system of doctrine. It is the continuation of the life of Jesus. You can have the doctrine of the testimony and not be an example of the life of Jesus. Our basic word says that we, as living epistles, are to be read and known of all men, but what are all men to read and know? Is it a system of doctrine? Is it a form of Christianity? It is not one of the many things that are said about it, but just Christ going on living in His people. We sing:

"Thine be the glory, risen, conqu'ring Son!"

and we put everything on that! He is the risen, glorious Son of God, reliving His life, by the Holy Spirit, in us.

Perhaps that is not very encouraging to us, but that is because we are trying to get it all at once. No, this is a whole lifework of the Holy Spirit, and then, after this life, there is that wonderful parenthesis, that interval between this life and the next when we shall all be changed. So we are back at the beginning: "Foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son", and we are being "changed into his likeness" (2 Corinthians 3:18). That is going on through this life -- or, it ought to be! -- and then there comes the interval when we leave his world and we awake in His likeness.

So the testimony of Jesus in this world is not only that Jesus is alive, but He is alive in us.

Now let me repeat: The life of the believer is intended to be the history of Jesus Christ rewritten. "Ye are an epistle" -- or a biography.


That leaves us with two things. It brings us into the school of the Holy Spirit, where we are learning our lessons, but we are not learning them from a book. We are learning them by what the Holy Spirit is doing in us, which means that when we are in His hands everything that comes into our spiritual history has in it a lesson about Jesus Christ.

So the second thing is that we have to look at our experiences and ask: 'What have I to learn about Christ in this? In what way does this experience provide the Holy Spirit with an opportunity of teaching me something about Jesus Christ?' Sometimes we cannot understand what the Lord is doing with us! We cannot see the meaning of an experience, but if we are really in the hands of the Holy Spirit, our experiences are going to lead us on to know the Lord better. Therefore we must not reject our experiences; we must not think of them as unnecessary, we must not rebel against them, we must not think that they have no meaning, but we must take every experience into the presence of the Lord and say: 'Now, Lord, You must teach me what You mean by letting me have this experience.' That is the foundation of this ministry: learning Christ, but not just in our heads. You may have your heads and your notebooks full of information this week, but it has to go down deeper. The New Testament speaks about "the eyes of your heart" (Ephesians 1:18).

So often at the beginning of a conference people come to us with a lot of problems and questions and they would like to take all our time getting answers to their problems and questions. They are not always very pleased when we say: 'Wait until the end of the conference, and perhaps you will have no more questions to ask!' If the Holy Spirit is with us He is going to enlighten the eyes of our hearts, and we are going to see with our hearts. That is the best way to see, and the only way. [125/126]

You know, a mother sees in one way, and a woman who has had no children sees in another. When our eldest daughter was a little baby she was in her pram, crying very loudly, and a lady came along and said: 'What is the matter with her?' She had not got a wedding ring on. My wife said: 'Oh, she is tired', and the good lady said: 'Well, why does she not go to sleep, then?' The mother understands what someone who has not the heart relationship cannot understand.

The best knowledge is heart knowledge. That word: "The eyes of your heart" is sometimes translated: "The eyes of your understanding", and understanding is the best knowledge.

Now have you got this clear at the beginning? You see, during this conference I am going over the life of Christ and will take up a number of His experiences and will try to show you how those experiences are reproduced in believers so that we become the living biography of Jesus Christ, for that is what those words mean.

I would like you to think about this. The four Gospels have a literal biography of Jesus Christ, but they were written after the epistles. They tell us of the earthly life of the Lord Jesus, but when you have that you have not got everything. Indeed, you have only a very little. The epistles were written in order to show us that all that which was in the Gospels has to be made real in us. I have always had a question about going to the Holy Land! If you do not agree with me, well, that does not matter! But, you know, I have been to the Holy Land spiritually. I have seen so much of it in my inner life. I do not need to go to Mount Calvary, for I understand much more of Calvary by not having gone there. I need not go up to the high mountain of the Transfiguration, for I have seen that in my heart. All these things that happened to the Lord Jesus only happened in a temporal way, in order to lay the foundation. The Holy Spirit had not come down then, so in the Gospels He was only writing a historic life of Jesus. He was not writing the inner spiritual experience of that history. That is what He came down to do, and that is very much better than going to Palestine. Well, go to Palestine if you want to, but remember that the Holy Spirit has come to write Palestine in us, and we are going to think about that this week, if the Lord helps us.

Are you clear about what I have tried to say? "Ye are an epistle [or biography] of Christ ... written not with ink ... not in tables of stone", and we may add, 'not on sheets of parchment, not by the finger of man, but by the Spirit of God, who is writing upon the tables which are hearts of flesh'. Does that give you a new idea about what is happening? Remember, then, that if you are in the hands of the Holy Spirit, He is trying to write the life of Jesus Christ in you so that all may be able to read.

The Christians in the early days were known by different names. They were known as Christians, and by other names, but one of the names by which they became known everywhere was: 'The people of the way.' I wonder where that name came from, and how people got that idea? Was it the Christians' different way of life? Yes, perhaps so. Was it their teaching and their practice? Yes, perhaps. But was it because Jesus said: "I am the way", and the Christians were going the way of Christ, and people saw that they were going that way? Perhaps that was what it was, and that is what it is meant to be. These people were going the way of Jesus Christ, and not trying to follow His example. That may be important, but they were going that way because the Holy Spirit in them was taking them that way. The Lord Jesus was driven into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit. There is, or should be, in us an inward urge to go in a certain way, and that way is the way of the Lord Jesus -- and in that way we learn Christ. We are 'People of the Way'.

(To be continued)



[Harry Foster]


So you have passed your Final Examinations with Honours! We are glad, but we are not surprised. When we heard that you were refusing to do any study on Sundays we realised that this must have been a difficult resolution for you to keep, for as one gets closer to Finals the pressure mounts and every moment is valuable. [126/127]

I know that your action worried some of your best friends, who quite understandably feared that you might get behind in your preparation and fail your exams. We did not share this fear. In fact, we felt bolder to pray for your success, because we knew of God's promise: "Them that honour me I will honour" (1 Samuel 2:30). I am not sure whether you know this verse, but you have certainly proved that it is true. Yes, it is just as true in 1970 as it was when the man of God spoke it to Eli.

All this has brought back to my mind a striking event which took place in the world of sport at the time when I myself was a student. It happened at the 1924 Olympic Games, which were held in Paris. Eric Liddell, who had just graduated at Edinburgh and was planning to go to China as a missionary, was a well-known athlete in those days, and he had hoped to run in the 100-metres race. He was already British champion, and he had high hopes of the world title, but his hopes were dashed to the ground when the organisers announced that the race would be run on a Sunday.

Liddell was a convinced Christian, and he would not race on the Lord's Day. The British athletic authorities first tried to persuade him to stretch a point, and when he refused they then tried to get the day of the race changed. It was all in vain. Liddell would not run on a Sunday. The only alternative which suggested itself was that he should abandon his ambition for the 100 metres and enter for the 400 metres, which was being held on a weekday. As you know, there is a lot of difference in the two races, and Liddell had not trained for this longer distance. He agreed, though, to have a try at the 400 metres, but not without much criticism by those who felt that he was foolish to throw away the chance of a gold medal for himself and honour for his country.

On the morning of the race one of the masseurs with the British team handed Liddell a note as he left his hotel. He put it into his pocket, saying that he would read it when he got to the Colombes Stadium. Nobody seems to know just when he actually did read it.

Came the time for the 400 metres and came the crack of the starter's pistol. They were off! Liddell was in the outside lane, so you can appreciate that he could not see any of the other runners and had to race as though he were all alone. Naturally, he was far from being alone, for in one of the inner lanes was Imbach of Switzerland, who had already set up a world record of 48 seconds. Fitch of Chicago was in another of the lanes, and as in one of the preliminary heats he had recorded the even faster time of 47-4 seconds, everybody thought that he had it in the bag. As for Liddell, he had not been able to clock even 48 seconds, which is not surprising when we remember that he was really a 100-metres sprinter.

None of the others ever caught up with Eric Liddell. He beat them all. He won the gold medal all right, and, what is more, he set up a record that remained unbeaten for many years. Harold Abrahams, who is still an athletics commentator, was the British captain that year, and when Liddell raced through to win the race in the record time of 46-7 seconds, he described his effort as "inspired". The runner's own explanation of his success was that he ran the first two hundred metres as hard as he could, and then, with God's help, he ran the second two hundred metres even harder. His former critics were now loud in their praises of his achievement in bringing this honour to his country. He had done more than that -- he had brought honour to the Word of God and had proved its practical truth.

You remember that slip of paper which he had put in his pocket. He must have read it some time, for when he returned to the dressing-room he found the masseur and thanked him for it. On the paper the man had written: "In the Old Book it says: 'He that honours me I will honour.' Wishing you the best of success always ..." Those wishes were fulfilled, for after a life of service to God in China, Eric died in an internment camp there and went to receive the "Well done!" from his Lord.

Perhaps the British captain was right when he described Liddell's running as "inspired". It may be that there is a sense in which all our efforts can be called inspired if their motive is to put God first. 1924 is a long time ago, and it is now 1970, but you and I are still here to face the challenges of life. You have started well. Keep it up! Not just reverence for Sunday, for while that is not without importance, it can easily become a matter of mere superstition. It is the principle which matters and which is all-important -- the principle of putting God first.

A man may not win every race. He may not pass every examination. But if he seeks truly to honour God in all things he may be certain of Divine blessing and of ultimate vindication. That you may be such a man is the prayerful wish of

Your affectionate UNCLE - H. F. [127/128]


[Roger T. Forster]

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1).

"And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran" (Acts 7:2).

"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6).

GOD has a face. There is a face behind this universe, a Person with ears that hear, with a mouth that speaks His Word, and with a mind that orders things, that guides and leads. Behind this magnificent universe that God has made the most wonderful thing of all is that there is Someone who can be met, Someone with a face we can get to know. The enemy of our souls hates the face of God! God's message and good news to man is that the light of this glorious glory of God is in the face of Jesus Christ. Nothing could contain God's glory like a face. God is a real Person who is seeking all the time to get to know men and women, to make His face known, so that we can know Him face to face.

Now this was known from the very beginning of mankind. The more we study archaeology, the more we trace primitive societies back to their sources, the more we track world religions back to their beginnings, the more we study the early chapters of the Bible, the more we find that behind the knowledge of man was the knowledge of God, the one God, the Creator of heaven and earth, and that men everywhere approached Him by sacrifice. It was not the earliest knowledge of man to believe in many gods, nor was it man's earliest knowledge to believe that God was a sort of something that filled everything else. The history of the human race confirms the Bible story. In the beginning God was known and worshipped as a Person, a Creator, and man could come to him on the costly price of a sacrifice.

But the god of this world wants to blind our eyes so that we might not see that face and might not know God as a Person, so it was not very long in the history of mankind before priestly men hid the truth in myths and stories, and God was locked up in temples. The one God was split into a hundred gods and in the sight of men God's face was lost. In Babylon, in Egypt, and later in Greece the polytheism of man hid the face of God.

Then came another movement. Satan was not satisfied with splitting God's face into a hundred faces. There came the reaction of Buddhism, certain forms of Confucianism, and Hinduism, and religion became god in everything as a sort of gas, a sort of misty something that was in everything. God had lost His face and people did not know where to find it. The more people looked into these things, trying to discover the face of God, the more they came to the conclusion that it did not exist, and the devil's attack moved into another stage, the stage of atheism.

What is God doing about all this? Right in the very beginnings of mankind, before pagan religion was in full control, the God of glory appeared and revealed Himself to Abraham, and Abraham discovered that God has a face, an ear, a mouth and a mind. And as Abraham listened to what God had to say, he found out God's plan. God was beginning His counter-attack which goes through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob into the history of Israel, and right on into the days of our Lord Jesus, when God appeared in the face of Jesus Christ. "If any man has seen me," says the Lord Jesus, "he has seen my Father." God was discoverable in His Personhood as man made encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ, and since that day that same God is seeking to appear to men and women, to reveal Himself to us as a Person, so that we can speak to Him face to face.

God cannot be shut up in a little box in the universe, like one of the Babylonian gods of the past, nor is He to be found up in space, as though one day we will open a door and say: 'Oh, there is God, running the controls!' Neither is God to be found by searching around for the soul of our universe, because we do not find anything there. We do not even find a misty gas that we can call God, because our God is the Creator of heaven and earth and He stands in relationship to this earth as an author does to his book. Some people look through the book and say that they cannot find the author in the story, and so they do not believe there is a God. Other people read the book and find the author's fingers on every word; they find Him terribly close, not only in the beautiful things, but also in the bad parts of the story. His fingers are [128/129] still there. Many men have listened to the stories, they have heard that God is a misty something and is not a Person, and it may be that they have even become atheists, yet suddenly there is a moment when they cannot avoid the Author any more. God is there and they come to see Him, so they try to hide from Him, but God is difficult to avoid. The Author is on every page, in every experience, but we build up techniques to avoid Him. It was a little more difficult in the past, but it is so easy in the twentieth century, even for Christians, so that they do not know what God is saying, or what He wants in their lives.

There came a moment in Abraham's experience when he could not avoid God any more, and he saw Him. The God of glory appeared to him and began to draw him across the desert to the land of Canaan. When he arrived in the promised land, we read that once again the Lord appeared unto him. He knew that God was a Person, and that he had a face. Two thousand years before our Lord Jesus Christ came, Abraham was getting the good news in the face of Jesus Christ. It is good news to see God, or, rather, it should be, for one day we are all going to have to see Him. It will be a beautiful vision when our hearts will go out in worship and adoration, or else we will cover our eyes and run from the face of Him that sits on the Throne. It is the same face and the same God, but, when heaven and earth pass away and there is nothing left but the unveiled face of God which lies behind the universe, for some men it will mean heaven and for some men it will mean hell. How important it is that we see our God, that we get to know His face, in anticipation of that moment when there will be nothing to behold but the face of the Almighty.

Did I say that for some it will be glory, wonder and worship, while for some it will be destruction? That gives us a clue. Seeing God face to face always means some sort of destruction. That is why we read in verse 7 of Genesis 12. that Abraham built an altar unto the Lord who appeared unto him. That is the reaction of a man who has seen God and wants to go on seeing Him. In the next verse we read that he built another altar and called on the Name of the Lord. In verse 18 of chapter 13 we read for the third time that he built an altar unto the Lord, and in chapter 22, verse 9, we once again find Abraham building an altar. It all began with seeing the Lord, and then there was a pathway through the land of promise which was marked by altars. This is the way of the Cross, the pathway of a man who has seen his God. Abraham built four altars, and we will also find in these beginning chapters of the Bible that Isaac dug four wells, that Jacob set up four pillars, and that Joseph was involved with four sets of dreams. At this crucial point in human history God is reasserting His Personhood, revealing Himself to Abraham by the way of the Cross, to Isaac by the way of the well, to Jacob by the way of the pillars of stone, and to Joseph in a fourfold revelation. Right at the beginning of Israel's history Abraham saw the Cross, Isaac saw the gift of the Spirit (Pentecost), Jacob set up the pillar representing the ground of truth which is the Church of the living God, while Joseph revealed the Lord through his visions. This is always God's pattern of working, from Calvary to Pentecost, to the birth of the Church, to the revelation of Christ in the midst, that we might unveil His face, that we might know our God. It begins in the way of the Cross.


Now, what does Abraham's action in building an altar when He saw the Lord mean? Well, anything that we see of the Lord is only secured by an altar, for it is only properly experienced in the Cross. Otherwise we lose it, or it destroys us. That is why in the last day some will be destroyed by the vision while others delight in it. The vision of God is the vision of love, and when love reveals itself it is not so that the other person might abuse it or make use of it, but for giving love back to the Revealer, and as we do that we must lose ourselves.

There was a moment in Peter's life when he suddenly saw the Lord. 'You are not Elijah or one of the prophets. You are Christ, Son of the living God!' The Lord Jesus replied: 'That is right, Peter. Flesh and blood did not reveal that to you, but your heavenly Father showed it to you. Now I am going to have to die. I am going to Jerusalem, where I shall be crucified.' Immediately Peter says: 'No! Be it far from You!' Do you remember the Lord's reply? 'Get behind Me, adversary! You savour of the things of man.... If any man will come after Me, let him take up his cross, deny himself, and follow Me.' If God has revealed anything to us, it is for the purpose of building an altar, of finding in our hearts that decision to lay hold of the Cross and follow the One who has revealed Himself to us. The other is just self-concern. Peter thought he loved the Lord, in fact, he was sure he did and protested it at the Last Supper, but you remember his failure to follow the Lord. Then there came that moment on the resurrection morning, and once again he had seen the Lord, but this time he did not say anything to anyone.

It is in that moment of revelation, when God [129/130] shows us something in Jesus Christ, that we have to decide what we are going to do with it. Do we give it back to Him? That hurts! But if we decide that it is all for Him, being what we owe Him in love, we have something which we can never lose, because it has been given back to Him.

Judas was sitting there at that Last Supper, and there was another unveiling of our Lord Jesus. He offered His person to Judas in the sop, revealing Himself in utter, Divine friendship, which goes on loving in the face of hatred. In that moment Judas saw the Lord, but he did not want to build an altar. He did not want the pain of giving himself back, of losing himself, of having to say: 'I am wrong. I am sorry!' He did not want the pain of making a confession of sin and self, so he put up a barrier, and went out into the night. That meant a self-crucifixion, for he had to hang himself. The face of God drives a man to the one thing or to the other. That is why some Christians are not moving on with God, but find destruction in their lives. They are trying to grasp the revelation of the Lord Jesus and make something of themselves from it, when it was a revelation of love, given that they might learn to love Him.

That is the whole paradox of Calvary. Some of us stand there and look at Jesus dying, and we say: 'Goodness always finishes up in a cross. There is the judgment of goodness in God!' But God says: 'That is the judgment of the world.' Some of us stand at Calvary and see that moment of Christ mangled and crucified, and we say: 'Everything good has gone!' but God points at the Cross and says: 'There Christ is condemning sin in the flesh.' We think it is the end, but God says it is the beginning. There are two sides of Calvary -- our assessment and God's view. It is the same God, the same Cross and the same revelation of the Lord Jesus, but one will be our destruction, while the other will be our salvation.

Do we want to see the Lord? Then that love which has been revealed to us has to be responded to in the hurt and pain of real life, which loses itself and gives itself back to its Maker.


Abraham was beginning the pathway to Calvary. If you look at Genesis 12:8 you will see that not only did Abraham know that God had a face, because God appeared to him, but he believed that He had an ear, because he built an altar and called on the Name of the Lord. Yes, God has an ear, but Abraham got the ear of God through an altar. What does that mean? If we start talking to God and calling on His Name, we are saying that we need God, that in ourselves we are not sufficient. In effect, we are saying: 'You are the Author. I am only one of the characters of the Book and I depend upon You' -- and that is another meaning of Calvary. Without God we are like a man who is twisted and mangled on a cross, and God is saying: 'Look, that is man without Me. Finished, meaningless, hopeless, puny and weak.' That is one side of the Cross, but when we have built an altar and have seen ourselves like that, then we have to call on the Name of the Lord. The most stupid thing that man can do is not to call on the Name of the Lord, not to apply to God, but to act as though he were independent and did not need Him.

If we are Christians we will remember how we first began in the Christian life. We needed Christ for everything, and were calling on the Name of the Lord. We knew how much we needed Him, and if we began to preach, we knew how much more we needed Him! But time has gone on. We get on quite well now in witnessing to others, for we know the answers, and as for the problems that come into our lives, well, we can handle most of them. When it comes to preaching even, we do not need Him as much as we used to. But we are not building the altar! If we are building the altar of the Cross, we must cry to Him. We need Him in everything, in every experience, and even when we pray. Therefore we should pray, even if sometimes the answer turns out to be 'No'. So often when that happens we give up praying. We still go to church and will still talk about Christian things, but God said 'No!' so what is the point of praying? Or our prayer was not answered in the way that we thought it should be, and so we say: 'It does not matter if I call on the Name of the Lord!'

There was a moment in the life of Moses when he was on the mountainside praying for the people of Israel, and God said to him: 'Moses, those people of yours that you brought out of Egypt are hopeless! I am going to finish them all off and am going to start a new denomination through you.' I wonder what you would say if God spoke like that to you! Probably: 'Well, Lord, I am very humble about this, but You know Your own business better than I do. So if You really want it, Lord, I will be the president of the new denomination.' But Moses did not say that. He replied to God: 'Lord, they are Your people. You brought them out of Egypt!' God did not want them, nor did Moses. No one wanted them, but Moses went on praying for them. He was up the mountain again another day and said: 'God, don't slaughter any more of the people of Israel. Blot me out of Your [130/131] book, and save them.' God said: 'You leave the blotting out of the book for Me to do. It is My book and I am concerned with righteousness. I will blot out those whom I will blot out.' Moses had it wrong again, so the next time he was up he said to God: 'God, please go on with us. Don't send an angel in front. Please come down into our midst.' And God replied: 'I will show you My glory.' Moses replied: 'Lord, show us Your glory!' God said: 'Stand back and I will show you My glory.' Moses had it wrong again, but it did not matter. When we have built an altar and have called on the Name of the Lord, we know that our misunderstandings do not matter. And when Moses went down the mountainside the people did see God's glory, in the face of Moses. God did come down into their midst again, in the middle of Moses, and God did go on with them, even though they had to die in the wilderness. Moses' misunderstanding of God's ways did not matter. He was crucified, and did not stop praying because God did not answer his prayer in his way. So we need a Cross in our prayer-life.

Abraham prayed: 'Lord, can You not save this city? If there are fifty righteous people there ... forty-five ... and right the way down to ten, will You not save it?' He dared not go down any lower than ten, but God said: 'I will save the city if there are ten.' He knew there were not ten righteous people there, but He saved three and a half, for Lot's wife did not quite make it. God was using that prayer of Abraham, although he did not know how to pray as he ought. 'We know not how to pray as we ought,' says Paul, 'but the Spirit makes intercession for us in a man who is just dependent upon God.' 'Lord, I don't know everything, nor do I understand everything. I can do nothing -- but You can do everything. Lord, I need You.' How the Lord Jesus needed His Father! 'That which I say is what My Father is saying. What I am doing is what My Father is doing.' There was an altar, a cross, in the heart of the Lord Jesus, so that when the time of the Last Supper came and He stood up to pray, He prayed: 'Father, glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee.' That is prayer! And the Lord Jesus always prayed that sort of prayer. Baptism is a picture of it: 'I cannot!' as we go under the water, and then: 'He can!' as we come up the other side. There must be a Cross as the basis of our prayer-life, where we have seen ourselves as ruined and finished.


Now, thirdly, Genesis 13:14 says: "Lift up now thine eyes, and look ... northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it." As Abraham looked at that land he knew that God had a mouth. He already knew that God had a face and appeared, and that He had an ear and listened. Now he knew that God had a mouth and He spoke: 'All this land is for you.' It was a broad land, with so much to see, but what was Abraham's reaction? He went down to a place called Hebron and there he built an altar unto the Lord. He did not walk over the vast geography of Palestine, but went to one spot, narrowed that down to an altar, and there he sacrificed to the Lord.

You see, God deals with us in particulars, not generalities. We can carry general truths in our minds, but God makes them particular in given events. The whole land of Canaan says: 'God is free and full of love!' but the place of Hebron where Abraham builds the altar is an event in the home, an experience at work, a challenge in prayer, a requirement of God concerning our lives, and it is there that the whole test of the truth comes into experience. We want to keep God's truth in generalities, but God is all the time trying to get it down to particulars, to details, because that is where the Cross is, and as we go through the Cross we will discover the broadness of God's revelation to us.

You remember that this morning our brother was reminding us that the Spirit of God is writing upon our lives the story of the Lord Jesus. It is being written word by word. Abraham might have said: 'Oh, but I know the whole story of the Lord Jesus. I have lifted up my eyes to the north and there is Galilee, with Christ coming out of Nazareth.' The Lord is even in the despised places! Then Abraham looks south. There is Bethlehem, and he sees the humility of our God in the Babe of Bethlehem. Then he looks to the northwest, and there is the mountain where Christ was transfigured, and there he sees the glory of the Lord. Then, maybe, he looks at Olivet and sees the Lord going up. 'All the land I have given you; all the history of the Lord Jesus I have given you; all the geography of Christ is yours.' That is what Canaan is -- the geography of the Incarnation, the platform upon which Jesus lived and walked. But we have to go down to Hebron, and what is general starts to be made specific in an event on Calvary, where we say: 'Lord, not my will, but Yours be done.' In that moment the Spirit of God is writing on the parchment of our lives. You cannot write on parchment without scratching it. The tear is the way the ink gets into the fabric, and Calvary is the way the Spirit of God gets the life of Jesus into our inner man, in those [131/132] desperate moments when we are fighting with God over some issue and the Christian life seems to be so narrow. It seems like a strait gate and we feel we are being pressurised to get through. We are going to lose everything. We thought it was the liberty of the Spirit and that we could run up and down the land of Canaan and it would all be ours. But the Lord keeps pressing, and at last we get through. 'Not my will, but Your will be done!' -- and to our surprise the strait gate leads to eternal life, the narrow way brings us into the broad places, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty, but it came through the Cross. When we go through the Cross of our own death and stand, naked spirits, before our God, all that is being written on our spirits of the life of the Lord Jesus has come because there have been moments when we have said: 'Not my will, but Thine be done.' The real, deep decisions of the spirit, which have been the Cross through which the Spirit can write the life of Jesus, are going to last for eternity. Those nice things about you, and those bad things about me which you cannot stand will be in the grave. They were a part of our bodies, but the inner man has come from those decisions before God, with the pen of the Cross, written in the ink of the Spirit, writing the history of the Lord Jesus in our lives.

This was the third cross, and I am sure that most of us will have had such experiences before our God. Perhaps some of us are having them now. We are hesitating about building the altar: 'Thy will be done!' You know where that led Jesus! Well, we go that way, too, but it leads to the whole land of Canaan.


You know the story of the fourth altar. As Abraham went up the mountainside with his son he was leaving behind everything that he really had. God's blessings must go on the altar and be broken up to dust. God's gifts, the gift of his son, God's joys -- for Isaac means 'laughter' and it meant that to Abraham -- the relationship that God had established -- all that went to the altar. Everything that Abraham had lived for was going on to that altar. The purpose of his existence and his spiritual history were to be burnt up on that altar as Isaac died, and, perhaps above everything else, all that he really thought he knew about God was going on that altar, for that is what Isaac represented, Years of waiting, years of praying, all the promises of God to him to help him to understand this child, and now it was all on the altar and there was a knife in his hand. He had mentioned to the men below that both of them would be coming back after the sacrifice, but here came the moment when he must obey his God. Can you do it, Abraham? Can you bring that knife down into that child, knowing all that he stood for? I do not think that Abraham could! I think he would have to say: 'I cannot, but He can!' As he stood on the top of the mountain he was no fanatic with a deluded mind, stirred up in the emotions of the moment, who would bring the knife down and regret the act. He had gone as far as a man could, and was crying in his heart: 'Lord, if it is going to come down, You must bring it. I cannot, but You can. I have built the altar. The sacrifice is there. The knife is in my hand.' As he looks through the blade, glinting in the sun, and the breast of his son rising in its last beats, suddenly he hears the voice of the Lord: 'Lay not your hand on the child, for now I know.'

Abraham had met the mind behind the face, the intelligence behind the universe, and with his eyes fixed between the blade of the knife and his son's breast he saw the Lord. Jesus said: 'Abraham saw My day and rejoiced.' Abraham was looking forward two thousand years to where, on the very same spot -- for Mount Calvary stands on Mount Moriah -- the Lord Jesus was going through that picture and there was going to be bared the heart of God's Calvary love on the Cross. The heart and mind of God revealed at Calvary were pre-acted two thousand years before through Abraham and his son, and that is the Cross. The Cross is the place where God's great love is revealed, and He seeks to reproduce that sort of love in us, for we are being "conformed to the image of his Son", and the revelation that the world looks for, and the expression which God's heart yearns for, is that that Calvary love might be reproduced in His people, that what we saw in Jesus Christ of God's all-mighty love might be reproduced in us and poured out to the world.

But it needs the Cross. There is another altar to be built. It is the altar which will be built when, like Abraham, we are prepared to go on, and on, and on with God, because that is the way of going on -- the way of the Cross, when we come to the place where we say: 'Lord, I do not know what you want of me next. I do not know what you want to do with me next. I do not understand what the next phase of Your programme is, but You are the heart and the mind that is behind the face, and I give myself to it, even if it means that I seem to be sacrificing my blessings, my calling, my gifts, my past knowledge of Yourself. It all goes to the altar so that all that, and a lot more, can come out again [132/133] in a new way, in the resurrection way of Isaac as he laughs his way down the hill.'

Have we come to this conference wanting to go on with God? God has something new for us, something new for Europe, something new for this world, for this generation, but we are not going to move on with God unless it is by the way of the Cross. Here we are on Mount Moriah, saying: 'Let us see Your day, Lord Jesus. Help us to rejoice in it as we go on with You.' - R. T. F.


Chapter 5


WE are seeking to take a further step in the apprehension of what is related to this great and pressing matter, and are going to deal with the continuation of the conflict, with reference to its nature and its sphere.


The work of the Lord Jesus in His Cross has now been set forth in two respects. On the one hand, we have noted there was that which was actually complete and final in His work; the fact that the Lord did destroy him that had the power of death, and also death itself. With regard to Himself, that is a finished work. His presence at the right hand of God declares that death, the grave, and Satan, have been brought to naught, and no longer have any power over Him. On the other hand, there is what we have called the potential work of His Cross, that is that Christ did something which in Himself is full and final, but which has yet to become full and final in the saints; something which was for the saints, but which has still to become complete in their experience. It is potential, so far as the Church is concerned, although in Him, its Head, they have it in finality. As the result of the work of His Cross, and as the grand issue of His resurrection, eternal life is received already by those who believe. But while that life is itself victorious, incorruptible, indestructible, the believer has to come by faith to prove it, to live by it, to learn its laws, to be conformed to it. There is a deposit in the believer which in itself needs no addition, so far as its quality is concerned. So far as its victory, its power, its glory, its potentialities are concerned, nothing can be added to it. But the course of spiritual experience, of spiritual life, is to discover, to appropriate, and to live by all that the life represents and means. That is to say, the course of spiritual life and experience is the course of discovering and living by the values of that life which is within, and which is succoured from above.

It is important to recognise that as a discriminating word. We are very often inclined to think that the life of the Lord in us needs in some way to be improved, to be added to, when really what is required is that we should discover what we have, and, discovering it by experience, live according to it. This life is not something apart from the Lord Jesus, and we can never think of His standing in need of some improvement, nor of the possibility of something being added to Him to make Him complete, or more complete. We would never think like that. And this life is one with Himself. As the Apostle says, it is Christ who is our life, and our need is to discover what Christ is in us, and to live accordingly. So in a very real sense it is a matter of the life getting more of us, rather than of our getting more of the life. That, at any rate, is the way of its working.

This, in the ordering of God, has to be done in a world where death still rules and works; for in this world the destruction of death has not yet been made manifest. Death, like the devil, goes on, although Calvary still remains full victory. We are left in this world, and it is in this world where death reigns and works as a great energy that we, by this sovereign ordering of God, have to come to prove the values of the life which has been deposited in us, and to discover its potentialities. This is an experimental [133/134] discovery. It therefore resolves itself into battle between that which is in this world and the life which is in the believer. It is the battle for life, not as to the forfeiture of that life -- not as to whether death can take eternal life away from us, for that is not the question at issue -- but as to the triumphant expression and the full manifestation of the power of that life. That is the issue. We may have eternal life, and yet that life may be pressed away in our very being without expression, without manifestation, without any triumphant issue. It may be there, but cramped and smothered.

That which is true in the case of the individual believer can be equally true in the case of the Church, the collective company; it may have life, eternal life, and yet there may be no expressed testimony of its presence, or but a very limited manifestation. With this expression, this manifestation -- not only with the possession of life but with the testimony to that possession -- there are bound up no lesser issues than the resurrection and lordship of Jesus Christ. The testimony to the fact that Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead and is at the right hand of the Majesty on High in absolute lordship is bound up with an expression here -- let us repeat -- of that life which is His risen life. That is no small matter. The last Adam was made a "life-giving spirit" -- life-giving, that is, life manifesting itself, life being transmitted, life expressed -- and if that is not exemplified in and through the believer, and through the Church as a whole, there is something taken away from the testimony of the Lord Jesus. How is there to be the proof, the demonstration, the evidence, the final establishment of the fact that Jesus is alive from the dead, and is Lord? It is by the triumphant expression of His life in His own. It is not by a doctrinal statement. Christ is never proved to be alive from the dead, nor to be Lord, by doctrinal statements. Your statement of faith may include the fact that you believe Jesus died and rose again, ascended to heaven, and is at the right hand of the Majesty on High, but how are you going to prove your statement? What has God given as the evidence of that? You may believe it; you may be willing to lay down your life for that faith; you may state it with tremendous emphasis, and yet you are not thereby proving it. You will never prove anything by saying: 'I believe with all my might that this is the case!' You will never prove a thing by standing up and declaring it as something which you believe. You will never prove a thing by saying: 'I believe in all the fundamentals of the Christian faith!' and calling yourself by some name which indicates that you believe in the inspiration of the Bible. Nothing is ever proved in that way. Reducing the whole matter to these two points -- that Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead, and is Lord of all -- you have still to prove your statement after you have made it. If you have appealed to the fact that the Word of God says so, even then you have proved nothing. Your proof can never be by argument, because what argument can build up argument can pull down, and what logic can construct logic can destroy.

How, then, are you going to prove that this is so? By the expression and manifestation of His risen life, that is all -- but it is a mighty 'all'! That signifies that you are the embodiment of the thing which you declare -- that besides the doctrinal statement there is the living expression. Thus the resurrection and the lordship of Jesus are bound up with this expression which is called the 'testimony'. The testimony is not a system of truth. It is that extra factor to the statement and presentation of truth which is the power of a life which conquers death. How, then, will you prove that Jesus has conquered death? The proof of it will be a death-conquering life that expresses itself in you.

This being the case, it means that the whole issue is one of a life-power by which Christ is attested. We do not put the life in the place of Christ, but we say that the attestation of Christ is by the life. We do not mean the manner of life, but the life-power, the impact of a spiritual force which emanates from Him as in the throne, the registration upon a spiritual realm of a greater spiritual power. That is the attestation of the Lord Jesus. Therefore the major weapon of the enemy will be death. Death is also a spiritual power. Thus it becomes a battle between two spiritual powers, the power of life and the power of death. The battle goes on, and will go on, until the Church becomes so vitalised by this Divine power that, in a moment, those who went into the grave, and those who are alive and remain, are united in a mighty resurrection-ascension to the Lord in glory. The battle between these two great spiritual powers will go on till then.

That is the battle in which we find ourselves. It is an intensifying battle, and we had better recognise it once for all. It is difficult to accept that sometimes, even though we assent to it mentally. When things become difficult we are surprised and wonder, perhaps thinking it strange that it should be so. But it must be recognised and accepted that this spiritual warfare between life and death will intensify toward the end, and it will reach its highest point of tension right at the point where the Church is about to be translated. That is undoubtedly made clear by the Word of the Lord. [134/135]


We speak in the first place about the individual believer. We must remember that this life of the risen Lord, as linked with the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of life, resides in the very deepest part of our being, in our spirit, or in what the New Testament calls "the inner man". Therefore the most spiritual people will find that the conflict of life rages around and upon their spirit. There is a direct assault upon their spirit in order to get their spirit weakened, shut in and pressed down, so that somewhere in the depths of their being they feel that they are unable to breathe, so to speak. They cannot actually locate it, but they are conscious that right within there is a locking up, a pressing, a hemming in, a suffocating of spirit. One of two things will result. Either their spirit will be pressed out under this weight of spiritual death, and they will go under; or else they will have to call earnestly upon the Lord that they may be strengthened with might by His Spirit into the inward man, and then exercise faith on the ground of their prayer and seek to assert their spirit against this thing.

The trouble with a great many of the Lord's people is that they do not rise up in spirit and, in the name of the Lord, meet and resist that thing which is threatening to crush the very life out of their spirit. There is an accepting of things; there is a consenting; there is a passive attitude; or else there is a getting into an awful swirl of questionings doubtings, arguments and discussions with the devil, going round in an eternal circle of introspection and self-analysis, when really in such circumstances believers ought in their spirits to rise up in faith in the name of the Lord to resist this thing and refuse to have it, calling, in His name, upon the energies of the Holy Ghost. We shall never get through until we learn how to do that. If the enemy finds that he can hold the situation by keeping us in that circle, that awful going round of debate, argument, discussion, of analysing, of questioning, of doubting, he will keep us going round; he will whip us up like a circus horse to keep us running round all the time, while we never get beyond the point where we started. If you keep going back there all the time, not making one fragment or fraction of real spiritual progress toward victory, you can go on so indefinitely.

Another favourite method of the enemy is to try to get us to explain this thing along lines which are less than the real explanation, to draw in other things which he would like us to believe may account for it. The things may be numerous and various. If we settle down to accept such an explanation, it will prove our undoing. While there may be much that he can use and play upon in natural conditions, and while it may be true that he is making the most of all that is available of our own human weakness, and perhaps our physical condition, and our constitution, our make-up, and our surroundings, nevertheless ultimately it may not be a question of anything in nature at all, but a matter of being strong in spirit. You may take it as one of the settled things that there is no hope for anybody in the direction of those natural conditions. If you start working from the circumference to the centre, you are working the wrong way, and you will not get through; you will be held on the circumference until you are dead. The enemy will not let you reach the centre from the circumference. You must start at the centre and work outward. The key to victory is our spirit-union with our risen and reigning Lord.

There are other realms, of course, in which this death battle goes on, and where this assault of death is made upon the believer. Sometimes it is upon the mind. There is a darkening, a numbing, or something like a paralysing of the mind when you turn to consider the things of the Lord. At other times you may be quite clear and free, and your mind have little trouble in working in ordinary things, but immediately you come to spiritual things, to the things of the Lord, you discover that your mind is becoming overclouded, and is not functioning. It is being paralysed; there is a darkness and a death creeping over it. The enemy does make assaults upon our minds; there is no doubt about that. He attacks our soul: not only the intellectual side, but every side. The enemy makes an assault upon the emotional side, to dry up and freeze our feelings, so that we are totally incapable of giving any response or of exercising any kind of heart function in relation to the Lord. The same is true in the realm of the will. There are times when it seems we cannot make a decision, and cannot will in the way of the Lord. The will comes under assault like that.

Death breaks upon us in each of these spheres, and the experience is more or less common to us all. It is a battle. As is the case with the spirit directly, and also with the soul, so it is with the body. There is no doubt at all that the enemy makes assaults upon the bodies of the Lord's people. I do not say that every malady, every sickness, every physical weakness, every bit of natural tiredness is the direct work of the devil. Of course, historically it is the outcome of his work, but immediately it need not be the direct work of the devil, and we are not saying that it is. We should find ourselves in great difficulties were we to teach that. But there are direct [135/136] attacks of the enemy in the spirit of death upon the bodies of the Lord's people. Where there is a weakness he may fasten upon it, add to it, and seek to cripple us altogether through our weakness when, although that basic weakness might remain, we need not be crippled by it. That has been the history of the Lord's people. It becomes a question as to whether the enemy is going to use that thing to undo us altogether, or whether, in spite of it, we are to be found proving the power of a life which triumphs over it, and carries us on.


The Apostle Paul always comes to our help in these matters. Paul has placed it on record that, because of the greatness of the revelation which came to him, lest he should become exalted above measure there was given unto him a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet him, to smite him in the face. For this thing he besought the Lord thrice, but the Lord said: "My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). We have good reason to believe that the weakness was physical weakness; I find it difficult not to believe that it was malaria. There is every reason, I think, to believe that to have been the malady. Paul's journeys were oftimes in places which were infested with the malarial elements, while he was without any of the modern helps to overcome them. And when you remember that the complaint affected his eyes -- anybody who knows anything about malaria knows of those sharp pangs through the eyes which in the long run do interfere with the organs of sight -- it all points strongly to malaria. We are not arguing that it was so, but we find difficulty in believing that such was not the case. But, whatever it was, here is something which from time to time laid hold of Paul, and it seemed that he never knew when this thing was going to overtake him. His "thorn" was undoubtedly physical weakness, and it is called "a messenger of Satan". The whole direction of it, from the enemy's side, was a working of death. In relation to that, Paul speaks of death working in this mortal flesh. It was all in the direction of death, death, death; he was facing and fighting death all the time. But the point is, that while the devil most clearly had to do with this physical state, as the statement shows, and the Lord Himself permitted it, it did not work out in death. On the contrary, the course of that man's life is the course of a continual triumph over that death and Satan. That the power of death does assail, and that the Lord does not all the time prevent the devil from attacking these bodies, is manifest. But that does not mean that the Lord intends us to die! You might think the logic to be that if the Lord allows a messenger of Satan, whose effect is death, surely the Lord means us to die. There is no justification for such an argument. Quite the opposite is the case. The Lord had a very salutary purpose for everything in the case of the Apostle, and this working of death was expressly used to keep the man spiritually alive; for had he not had the thorn, his spiritual life would have been smitten with a blight. Hear his own words: "Lest I should be exalted above measure ..." Find the man exalted above measure, and you find the man of poor spiritual life, for his spiritual life has been blighted. Find the man who is kept humble in this way, and yet triumphant in a way which is not explained on a natural ground, and you will find the man who is a giant in spirit.

Yes, the enemy does attack the body. He impinges upon what is already there and seeks to intensify it. He seeks to cripple the saints. But the whole of this word, especially in relation to the life of the Apostle Paul, is one great declaration that even in the presence of a natural handicap, a natural weakness, or something with which the devil himself has come in at a given point in the permission of God, there is a life which can carry us on to the fulfilment of a great Divine purpose which need not be curtailed because of natural conditions. Get hold of that! Do not sink under your condition and say: 'Because such and such is the case with me, then the Divine purpose in its greater dimensions is impossible!' That is despair, not faith. The Apostle's declaration was this: "... that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me" (Galatians 2:20). It was life by faith in the Son of God. And what a living it was! What a life it was! Indeed, in his case it was a life triumphant over ever-present death. You must remember that the ministry of Paul to these Galatians was occasioned by "an infirmity in the flesh", i.e. a physical sickness, affecting his eyes (4:13-14).

It was a battle. Read the second letter to the Corinthians, and you will see the traces of the battle. Paul had just emerged from that desperate situation where he despaired of life. He had been laid so low with this thing, whatever it was, that he never expected to recover. But he came out. He bore the marks of the battle with death (Galatians 6:17), but he continued on his course long after he wrote the second letter to the Corinthians. Some of the most glorious things found expression after that. Let us believe in the possibilities of the Lord's life within us, and disclaim all the arguments in our [136/137] own state, or which the enemy would impose upon us by reason of how we feel and how things appear. We must all take this to heart.


We close by referring to this one point. We must seek always to believe in the fact that this Divine life, with all its tremendous potencies, is far deeper down than surrounding conditions and circumstances, than our own physical life, and than our own soul-life. Unless we grasp that, hold that firmly, we have not the ground of victory. When we feel that death is working with such tremendous force in the realm of our bodies or our souls, and everything in this sentient life of ours speaks of death, we are too often in danger of surrendering the whole position. I believe that this thing which is of God is deeper than our mortal being. I believe that it is possible even for children of God, being truly born again and possessing eternal life, to lose their reason and go into an asylum, and yet to have no change made in the deepest fact and reality of the being in relation to the Lord. We touch that point to indicate what we mean -- that if our rational life is the sum total of our life, then it is a poor look-out for us. If our sanity, our natural mental balance, is the ground of our being children of God, then some from time to time would have real reason to doubt whether they were born again. And if that is true in the mental, it is true in the physical. This life of the Lord is far deeper than this mortal life of ours.

I am going to say something which may, to some, sound very terrible. It may perplex some, but it may help others. It is this: it is possible for a true child or servant of God, living in true fellowship with Him and walking in the light as far as they have it, to pass through a time of deep and terrible darkness. At such a time it may seem as though the Lord has left them and that Satan has taken His place of government. Prayer seems impossible or useless, and the Bible closed. Evil seems triumphant. The promises of God never to leave nor in anywise to forsake seem to have failed. Things may seem to be even worse than that, and one's salvation may be brought into question. Such has been the experience of some of the most saintly, devoted, and God-used servants of the Lord. Abraham had it (Genesis 15:12). Jeremiah knew it (Jeremiah 20:7). David knew it (Psalm 22). Job knew it. Our Lord Jesus knew it (Matthew 27:46). Dr. A. B. Simpson had this experience near the end of his wonderful life for God. And so it has been with others.

What is the explanation? With all my heart I do not believe that this seeming forsakenness is true, however real it may seem. In many cases it is because those concerned have done so much damage to the kingdom of Satan that he has rallied all his forces to quench their life and testimony. Or it may be that the enemy has discerned the potential value of a life which will be a menace to his interests. But, whether either of these explanations be true or not so, the fact remains that, where the Lord Jesus truly is, the battle for life often assumes most serious forms. Sometimes it is a devastating and desolating experience.

We need to remember that these are spiritual forces, and spiritual forces stand at no physical barriers. We have a soul, a great nervous system. Children of God for many reasons, and very often after a time of pouring out spiritually, will find their nerves are all a jangle, and they feel anything but good and holy. But are you going to say that that means that after all they are not children of God, and that it is all a myth? Do you mean to say that Elijah was no longer the prophet of the Most High when he cast himself under the juniper tree and asked the Lord to take away his life? He was still the servant of God, still as true to God as ever. We are not trying to excuse our weaknesses, but trying to get to the heart of a situation. That does not argue that the Lord has forsaken, that the Lord is not there, and that such are not the Lord's children or His servants. It indicates that the enemy has made them marked men or women because of something he is trying to destroy in the life. If you get into that realm, do not accept the suggestions of the enemy or seek to interpret things in the light of circumstances.

If you do not understand this that we are saying, do not strive after an explanation, and please do not put your own construction upon it. There are some who know what it is to have such an assault upon their being, their physical and nervous life as to make them feel that they are lost. I do not believe that it means that they are lost, and it is because some people accept that suggestion from the tempter that they sink into darkness. Oh, that many of these people who feel this thing upon them could know what we are trying to say, that it is for the spirit to rise up in faith and refuse the argument of the seeming! The seeming is sometimes so terribly real. People who have not suffered sometimes say to us: 'It only seems to be so; it is not really so!' And we reply: 'You do not know what you are talking about! It is more real than anything else to those concerned.' But the Lord will teach us as we go on not to accept that as the final thing. There is something deeper than that. The Lord is [137/138] deeper than our physical feelings. The Lord is deeper than our soul.

Let me say here what I have said elsewhere. There are times and situations when ordinary lines of communication with a child of God are suspended. They are in a state of unconsciousness. It is useless to speak to them, for they can make no response. But if you pray, so often there is a response, not in words, but deeper than natural consciousness. You touch something deeper; it is the spirit, and spirit responds to spirit. We have known this to happen, even to the point of a hand-squeeze, or a facial glow. It is the mystery of Divine life.

(To be continued)



"Therefore ... let us run ... looking off unto Jesus the author [or captain, or file-leader] and perfecter of our faith" (Hebrews 12:1-2).

I WANT to try to gather up and focus the ministry of these messages, taking you back to the beginning and reminding you that we pointed out that the whole Bible, in every part, is concerned with the will of God; which means that, as the Bible is the Word of God, the will of God is only to be found in the Word of God. Then we pointed out that the Bible introduces God to us as a 'going' God, a God moving in and with purpose. He is in action from the first verse: "In the beginning God created" (Genesis 1:1), and all the way through the Bible He is seen to be pressing onward in purpose and revealing Himself, and that purpose, in His Word. So the Word of God has to govern everything if the purpose of God is to be fulfilled and completed.

We moved on to see that, in order to be in that full, comprehensive will of God with purpose, it is necessary for us to have no purpose of our own, and so we dwelt upon the great law of spiritual progress -- the law of letting go; the law of renunciation of all unto God. We mentioned three factors for a true beginning:

(1) That we are supremely concerned to know the will of God;

(2) That we are quite prepared at least to listen to and consider anything that might help us to know the will of God, being open-hearted and open-minded

(3) That we are committed to do what the Lord shows us as to that will.

That is the point at which we have now arrived, and, as I have said, I want to gather all that up with one other great essential to going on with God.


Let me say this. In the presence of such a great deal of misapprehension and inadequate understanding in the world as to what Christianity is, I would say that Christianity really is that persons are caught up in the goings of God. The Apostle Paul used the word "apprehended", and this is what he meant. He had been apprehended of Christ, and Christ was going on, moving forward -- and how true that was at that time! In the early days of the Book of the Acts it is so evident that He was a forward-moving Christ. There was a great forward movement from heaven, and this man was caught up, and carried on in that going as one under arrest.

That is what Christianity is. It is not just a little thing. It contains many things, but what it really amounts to is that you and I have been caught up in something; we have been taken hold of. There is a very interesting word in the New Testament which is just this very thing. It comes in the betrayal of Jesus, when the band of people came out to arrest Him, and there is a clause which says: "And they that had laid hold of Jesus led him away" (Matthew 26:57). You can see what kind of men they were! They were pretty tough, and to be in their grasp and grip would certainly be something that was not easy to resist. Again, it is the same word as the Apostle Paul used when he said: "The love of Christ constraineth us" (2 Corinthians 5:14) and the word just means that we are taken hold of [138/139] and irresistibly carried on. There was the woman who touched the hem of Jesus' garment for healing, and He said: "Who is it that touched me?" The disciples said: "Master, the multitudes press thee" (Luke 8:45). That, again, is the same word. Have you ever been in a mob, a crowd, a multitude that is going? There is plenty of that sort of thing today! There is a rushing multitude, and when you get in what can you do but go? It is no use trying to resist. And Christianity is just being caught up in the eternal going of the eternal God, in Christ, by the Holy Spirit, and being mastered and irresistibly carried on.

I am very careful that you should get the point, for this is a law of progress. That may seem very obvious, but we need to see the principle of it.

You know the content of this Letter to the Hebrews. What does it do right at the beginning? It gathers up everything of all the goings of God. It gathers up all the previous movements and goings of God -- "God, having of old time spoken unto the fathers in the prophets by divers portions and in divers manners" -- and focuses them in His Son, Jesus Christ -- "hath at the end of these days spoken", not by bits and pieces, not here and there, by divers portions and manners, but focused, concentrated, consummated, fully and finally, " in his Son." Then the writer goes on to tell us what Jesus Christ is, and who He is. This wonderful Christ that is being presented is greater than all the angels, greater than the law, greater than Moses, and greater than everything. Then the writer uses the metaphor of a race, a going. We are caught up in something as in a race, and what is it that is governing this movement, this race, all this energy? "Looking unto Jesus" -- it is this wonderful Jesus about whom he has been writing. He is the full and consummate embodiment of Divine purpose into which we are called and caught up.

What does this say to us? We have used a lot of words, but what does it all mean?

Dear friends, it is a law, amongst the others, of going. This Letter is full of phrases such as: 'Let us go on', 'let us leave the beginning and go on', 'let us ... let us ... let us be caught up in something that makes us shed every impeding, arresting and hindering thing.' What is it that carries us on? We have seen the Lord Jesus! We have had a vision, not objectively, perhaps, but something has happened in our hearts and Jesus Christ has become the all-mastering, all-controlling and all-absorbing object of our existence. We have seen Jesus, and that vision carries us on. What we have seen about Him, what God's purpose is in Him, what we have seen in Jesus has become a dynamic in our life, and such a dynamic that nothing else matters. 'Let us lay aside this', for this does not matter. 'Let us lay side that ... and that ... and that', for they are not the thing. This is it -- what we have seen of God's will, in its fullness, as comprehended in His Son for us. All that He is is for us.


You know, we have not yet really grasped the Lord Jesus. I say that meaningly and knowingly. Oh, how many of our worries would go if only we had seen the Lord Jesus! How many of those delaying, arresting things in our life would go if only we had seen the Lord Jesus! What is it that is holding us back? What is "the sin that doth so easily beset us"? What is it that is slowing us in the race, or even holding us up? 'Oh, this terrible sinful thing that I am! This wretched man that I am! This poor thing, so weak, sinful and faulty. I think about this, I dwell upon that, and what happens? I stop running! All the "go" goes out of my being!'

You stop and think about yourself for five minutes, and see how fast you will run forward in the Lord! Oh, yes, we all do it. We are overwhelmingly obsessed with this terrible, poor, miserable thing that we are! We dwell upon it, and then we flop down -- and the race is at an end for us while we are there. We have not seen the Lord Jesus!

In Him we have been dismissed. In His death we have been put out of sight. In Him risen we no longer appear before God, for He appears for us as us. He is us. That is seeing Jesus! If only we could get hold of that! If only we could get hold of Him! If only our eyes really did see what God has made Him to be for us -- "Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who is made unto us wisdom from God" (1 Corinthians 1:30). Not dwelling upon our own foolishness and folly, but "unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." What more do you want? That comprehends everything in redemption and unto glory! "Looking off unto Jesus."

Do you see what I am trying to say? The writer of this Letter to the Hebrews sees us as in a race and he says that if we are going on in this we have to see Jesus, and keep Him always in view; not by seeing ourselves and other people all the time, but keeping our eye on Him. Then we will keep going, but if we do not keep Him in view, then we will stop going.

That is very plain, very simple, but it is the Gospel concerning God's Son, Jesus Christ. [139/140]


You and I, dear friends, individually, and if we belong to a company of the Lord's people, that company, will only make progress toward that full, ultimate end of God in Christ if we have a spiritual vision of Jesus Christ. Vision is essential to progress. Is it necessary for me to stay with the word 'vision'? I am not thinking about something objective that you see with your eyes of flesh. It is something that has happened inside of you, and your inner spiritual eyes have been opened. You can say: 'I have seen , and that has revolutionised my life. That has put me on my feet. That has set me on a course. That has become a dynamic in my life which, in spite of myself, keeps me going.' Yes, thank God, it works like that. I know the aspect, the factor, of our responsibility, but God help you and me if it is all going to be left to our responsibility and what we do! I tell you -- and this may have been your experience, or it may interpret your present experience -- many, many times I would have given up the race. That is an awful confession! Indeed many times I have given it up in my heart. It became so difficult that I could go no further, so I gave up. It was not, therefore, my persistence that enabled me to go on, but what the Apostle calls "the power that worketh in us". What is that? The Holy Spirit has put a dynamic in us and we have seen. We cannot un-see! We cannot go back. The seeing may fade, and it may even be eclipsed by days of darkness and trouble. We may know what Paul meant when he said: "We were pressed out of measure, beyond our strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life" (2 Corinthians 1:8). That was a terrible thing for the greatest of all apostles to say! What happened? Did Paul give up and say: 'Well, I cannot go on!'? No, not at all! "The power that worketh in us" got him on his feet again and again. Let Elijah seek out his juniper tree and say: 'Take away my life!', but the Lord does not agree. He has given Elijah a part in his great, eternal purpose, and so he will come up again.

Be encouraged! Are you down? Are you despondent? Are you despairing? Are you feeling you cannot go on? You still come up again, for something has taken place. I am calling it 'vision', but that may be misleading. What I mean is that something has come into our life which is a spiritual knowledge and has become a spiritual dynamic, giving us a sense of purpose, God's purpose. It is something that God has done, and that is going to be the secret of our survival, at least. But for that we will not survive. We will not get through on any resource of our own, but we will go on in the going as the eternal goings of God if there has been this initial seeing of God's purpose in Jesus Christ.

Oh, I do wish with all my heart that in the preaching of the Gospel to the unsaved the note of eternal purpose was more often struck! The Gospel is generally presented from the point of view of what we are going to get. The appeal is to our souls, that we will have something that will make us happy. That is the whole set-up: being happy! O, you will not get much of a Christian by that means, but you will if those who have come to the Lord have come because they have seen something of the greatness of Jesus Christ, and of their calling in Him; if they have had this vision which has produced a sense of vocation, a sense of mastering purpose. Without that we will not get very far in the race! It is that which the Apostle means, though he speaks in symbolic language. Do not just dwell upon the literal idea. The spiritual motivation is "looking off unto Jesus", who started it and will finish it. He is the author, the file-leader, and the perfecter. It did not begin with us, thank God! How many times we have been rescued by that word of the Lord Jesus: 'You did not choose Me. I chose you. I initiated this thing and I will complete it, if you will let Me, if you will fall in to this going, if you will keep your eye on Me, and off the things that delay and arrest this vision' -- or whatever word you may use for the idea, the principle, the law, this something that has taken hold of you, and you know it is that which is carrying you on.

Have you got that? Are you a Christian of that sort? I am not asking you if you had a Damascus Road experience, when the whole thing was visual, ocular and sensational, but whether something has happened so that, if you wanted to put it into words, you would say: 'Well, I have come to see Jesus Christ, and in Him my eternal destiny has been bound up.' Do you see what I mean, what I am trying to say? A mastering motivation has been brought into us, and upon us, by Jesus Christ at the beginning that will make us Christians that go on in this race with patience. Have you got a mighty, Divine imperative in your life?

I wish I could get this home! After all your troubles, trials, temptations and difficulties, are you prepared to give up, to abandon everything and say: 'I am not going on with this any longer!'? Well, sit down and try! I venture to say that you will not get very far with that! You may have two or three miserable days over it, but sooner or later you will say: 'It is no use; I have to go on!' That is what I mean by vision -- this sense of a God of purpose having laid hold of us to carry us on.

This is exactly what is meant by inspiration. The [140/141] Lord's people ought to be inspired people, which is only another way of saying 'inspirited'. And, because of that, they ought to be an inspiration to others. Oh, if we are not an inspiration to others there is something seriously lacking in the very nature of our Christianity! If we cannot inspire others, if we cannot bring in inspiration in our ministry and our contacts, in our leadership, then that is a contradiction in terms, because the idea in the Bible of leadership is inspiration, inspiring people. If you are leading a meeting you ought to inspire people, in whatever kind of meeting it is.

And what should be true of the individual should also be true of every company. They should be a company of people who are being carried on by this mighty Divine dynamic of purpose, or vision. 'We know where we stand. We know where we are going, and what we are after.' Many of the Lord's people today do not seem to know where they are going, or where they are. No assembly ought to be like that! They ought to be a 'going' company and everybody ought to know that those people have seen something and are mastered by something that is carrying them on, something that is a real force in their being.


Such a vision has many side-effects and values, one of which is the resolving of the whole question of unity. And what a question that is! I hardly know what to say and what not to say, for there is so much. Take up the first Letter to the Corinthians and what have you there? People with internal dissensions, divisions and quarrellings, and anything but unity and oneness. Paul knew it well before he went to them, and so he said: "I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2). To him that was the one all-unifying thing -- a focused vision of Jesus Christ and His Cross.

If you have this what I am calling 'vision', this dominating sense of purpose and meaning given by the Lord, it will resolve so much of this trouble manifested in divisions and lack of real fellowship. A vision of Jesus Christ is a unifying dynamic.

We go to the Old Testament for an illustration. Take the case of Nehemiah. Well, Nehemiah had a vision. He was a man of vision. He saw Jerusalem rebuilt, with the wall reconstructed and made complete. He had a vision of this new Jerusalem on the earth for that time, and he was a man who was tremendously mastered by his vision. Then all these poor people -- and they were a bedraggled remnant! -- came back, with all the possibilities of more disintegration, murmurings and quarrellings to hinder the realization of this thing that had mastered this man. But what? They shared his vision! They were gathered up into it. They met persecution, opposition, and everything that could deter them, but the verdict was: "The wall was finished ... in fifty and two days" (Nehemiah 6:15). Why? Because the people had a mind to work. And what was that mind? Well, it was this vision of the purpose which had been put into the heart of this man and which unified the people. Let the devil come alone and do everything that he can to discourage and make difficulty! He even tried the subtle ruse of trying to get Nehemiah to come and have a conference in order to discuss things. 'No!' said Nehemiah, 'Not on your life! I am doing a great work and I will not come down there.' You see the power of a mighty objective, a vision, to unify, to energise, to keep going? Do we not need that? Does not Christianity need that? Do we not need it in our assemblies? We do indeed need something like that, so we must have this new apprehension of God's purpose and will as centred in His Son concerning us, a mighty, animating power in life that is (as I have said and want to say again) more powerful than all our capacity for giving up and being discouraged and resigning. It is more powerful than all the weaknesses of our own souls.

Oh, I do thank God for survival! That is a weak word, I know. It is not enough to say that we survive, for we are doing more than surviving, but in order to survive all this that is against us, there must be something more than ourselves. The Word says: "God is greater than our heart" (1 John 3:20), and we have proved that many times. Our hearts have fainted and wellnigh given up the struggle, but He is greater than our hearts.


This thing, call it vision or what you will -- you know what it means now! -- is a mighty emancipating power. I use that word in this sense: it is a great power for lifting us out of our smallness, our narrowness, our littleness.

In illustrating this we will take up our good friend who supplies us with so much instruction in this matter in his own history, the Apostle Paul. You know, dear friends, that the cause of the old Israel's calamity, first of all of being sent into Babylon and captivity for seventy years, and then eventually being dismissed by God, was because of exclusiveness. There is no other answer. 'We are the people. The truth will die with us. No one else [141/142] has any place at all. We are it, and only we are it. These nations, the Gentiles, are mere dogs. There is no place for them in the Divine economy! We are the chosen people, God's elect, and no one else.' This was in spite of all the prophecies of what they were meant by God to be to the Gentiles, to the nations. They were to be the seed in which all the nations were to be blessed, but in spite of that covenant with Abraham, they had closed in on themselves until they were the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. It was exclusiveness, and Paul the Apostle was a representative of that. He was born and brought up in that, trained in it, imbibing it from his childhood. He was an embodiment of that pharasaic exclusiveness. What are you going to do with a man like that? Try argument, and see how far you will get. He will out-argue you! Try persuasion. No, not a bit of it! He is not the kind to be persuaded. He is a bigot in this! Try persecutions. It makes no difference. You will not move that man! He is shut in to this exclusive position -- but the thing is done. He is emancipated, and the old Israel is no longer his parish. The world is his parish. How vast is the range of his vision now! You cannot cope with his language about this! He leaps over all language barriers because of what? He has seen Jesus Christ! He had a vision, and not only has he seen Him in the incident of the vision of a Person, but he has seen the significance. He has seen what Jesus Christ means in God's universe, in God's economy, in God's goings from eternity to eternity. You cannot be exclusive if you have seen Jesus Christ! That would dissipate and ruin all exclusiveness. You cannot be mean, contemptible and small if you have seen Jesus Christ!

Do you not agree with me when I say that this presentation of Christ in His infinite greatness is the only way to emancipate people from their littleness in their spiritual life? Is that not needed today? Oh, indeed it is! It is unifying, because we have one central Object which draws us together and makes us say to about one-thousand-and-one things that would hinder: 'You get out of the way! We are set upon this purpose of God, and we are going on.' It is unifying, emancipating and enlarging. Oh, that the Lord would give us this emancipation again, and enlarge us! The Psalmist says: "I will run the way of thy commandments when thou shalt enlarge my heart" (Psalm 119:32), and enlargement of heart will make you fleet of foot in the ways of the Lord.


Vision is the great battleground of all time. Oh, if you have seen you will be a marked person. If your eyes have been opened you will know something of what that fellow knew when the Lord opened those eyes that had been blind from his birth. It is all so true to life! He had his eyes opened and said: "Whereas I was blind, now I see" (John 9:25). 'This one thing I know, and you cannot rob me of that!' But it was not long before he was excommunicated from the synagogue. He was cut off and made an object of the Pharisees' spite.

That is true to spiritual experience. If you have seen you are in the battle. You will not be troubled very much by the devil if you have not got this dynamic in you, because it is this dynamic which spells his final overthrow. You have to count for God, and you only do so by having seen; and when you have seen you are marked, and there is a battle on. Anything to destroy you, to get you out of the race and out of the battle will ensue!

How are we going to end? What are you praying? I will tell you what I am praying! After all these years I am praying with all my heart: 'Lord, reveal Thy Son in me more than ever. Give me yet a larger apprehension and comprehension of the meaning of Jesus Christ!' Will you go and pray that? Will you seek the Lord continually that He will enlarge and strengthen your apprehension of Jesus Christ so that, figurative language or not, this is what it is in actuality: 'Looking off unto Jesus, all that He means, all that He contains, all that He represents of God concerning us, the File-leader, the Perfecter, the Completer, the Beginning and the End.' Pray that Christ seen in the heart becomes this dominating power in our lives which saves us from all that would bring us into despair.

"I have seen the face of Jesus,
Tell me not of aught beside!"


We acknowledge with gratitude the following gifts received for the ministry of A Witness and A Testimony from 28th July to 30th September 1970:

Aberdare 13s.; Bath £1; Bellflower, Calif. £4 3s. 4d.; Biggleswade £3; Bradford £5; Brighton £1; Brisbane, Australia £1 17s. 2d.; Bromley £5, £5, £5; Burnley 5s.; Chorley Wood £1; Croydon £5; Doncaster £5; Dublin £1 10s.; East Bentleigh, Australia £1 7s. 10d.; Eastbourne £1; Edinburgh 10s.; Felixstowe £5; Gateshead £5; Grimbsy £1; Gy, Switzerland £15; Hastings £5; Helston £3; Hornchurch £1; Lancing 11s.; Lentran 10s.; Llanelli 11s.; London N.6 £10; S.E.9 10s.; S.E.23 10s., £5, £10, £5; Luton 10s. 2d.; Newcastle-upon-Tyne 10s.; Northwich 1s.; Norwich £3; Nottingham 10s.; Papatoetoe, N.Z. £2; Piet Retief, S. Africa £3 1s. 10d.; Rosewater, S. Australia 9s. 3d.; Sheffield £1; Simmozheim, Germany £1, £1; Singapore £2; Southampton £2; South Shields 5s.; Tadworth 11s.; Wolverhampton £1; Woodbridge 10s.; Zetten, Holland £5. Total: £139 6s. 7d.

Ashland, Va. $1; Bedford, Ind. $20; Collingswood, N.J. $5; Dallas, Texas $5; East Lemster, N.H. $5; Folly Beach, S.C. $15; Glassboro, N.J. $50; Hacienda Heights, Calif. $16; Hagerstown, Md. $10; Indianapolis, Ind. $200; Irving, Texas $10; Jacksonville, Fla. $10; Jacksonville, Oregon $20; Kansas City, Mo. $5; Lansdowne, Pa. $20, $20; Minneapolis, Minn. $5; Montgomery, Ala. $60; New York, N.Y. $25; Pinson, Ala. $20; Redlands, Calif. $25; St. Petersburg, Fla. $5; Seminole, Fla. $10; Tucson, Ariz. $3. Total: $565.00.

Madison Heights, Va. Canadian $5.00.
Zaandam, Holland HFL.75; Zeist, Holland HFL.25. Total: HFL.100.00.
Chermside, Queensland Australian $14.00.

Asswiller, France Fcs. 20; France Fcs. 300; Illkirch, France Fcs. 10; Ingwiller, France Fcs. 100. Montpellier France Fcs. 150. Total: French Francs 580.00.

Amstelveen, Holland Fcs. 30; Berne, Switzerland Fcs. 20, Fcs. 20; Colombes, France Fcs. 10; Croissy, France Fcs. 20; Glarus, Switzerland Fcs. 20; Gümligen, Switzerland Fcs.10, Fcs. 30, Fcs. 40, Fcs. 15; Hilterfingen, Switzerland Fcs. 100; Illkirch, France Fcs. 10; Karlsruhe, Germany Fcs. 30; Mulhouse, France Fcs. 10; Neuchâtel, Switzerland Fcs. 30; Parakou, Dahomey Fcs. 50; Paris, France Fcs. 10, Fcs. 12, Fcs. 30; St. Gallen, Switzerland Fcs. 20; Schlieren, Switzerland Fcs. 20; Tuart Hill, Australia Fcs. 10; Tuggerawong, Australia Fcs. 9; Zetten, Holland Fcs. 30; Zürich, Switzerland Fcs. 20. Total: Swiss Francs 606.00.


The wording of the new motto card will be:

"My grace is sufficient for thee" 2 Cor. 12:9

"Our sufficiency is of God" 2 Cor. 3:5

"Always having all sufficiency" 2 Cor. 9:8

"We may find grace to help" Heb. 4:16

Printed in blue and gold.

Large size -- 9d. each

Postage and packing -- on one card: 6d.; up to a dozen cards: 1/4d.

Small size -- 4d. each

Postage and packing -- up to a dozen cards: 4d.; up to 3 dozen cards: 6d.

The postage on cards sent overseas is a little higher than the above rates. [143/144]


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    
   Vol. 1 ALL THINGS IN CHRIST   8/6 ($1.80)
   Vol. 2 (Cloth boards) 7/6 ($1.60)
  (Art paper covers) 6/- ($1.28)
WHAT IS MAN?   7/6 ($1.60)
  Vol. 2 5/- ($1.07)
WE BEHELD HIS GLORY (Vol. 1) (Cloth boards) 6/6 ($1.39)
  (Art paper covers) 5/- ($1.07)
WE BEHELD HIS GLORY (Vol. 2) (Art paper covers) 3/6 ($0.75)
OUR WARFARE   4/6 ($0.96)
   CHRISTIAN LIFE   4/6 ($0.96)
   THE FINAL CRITERION   4/- ($0.85)
   TESTIMONY IN FULLNESS   3/9 ($0.80)
THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST   3/9 ($0.80)
   (Some Considerations on the Prayer-Life)   3/6 ($0.75)
   THE LORD JESUS CHRIST   2/9 ($0.58)
IN CHRIST   2/- ($0.42)
HIS GREAT LOVE   1/6 ($0.32)
UNION WITH CHRIST   1/6 ($0.32)
   (Incorporating Union with Christ in Consecration,    
   The Ministry of Elijah and Stewardship)    
CHRIST -- ALL, AND IN ALL   8d ($0.15)
"I WILL OVERTURN"   6d ($0.10)
THE SUPREME VOCATION 6d each ($0.10)
  or 5/- per dozen ($1.00)
A GOOD WARFARE 6d each ($0.10)
  or 5/- per dozen ($1.00)
WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN? 6d each ($0.10)
  or 5/- per dozen ($1.00)
6d ($0.10)
2d ($0.04)
CHRIST OUR LIFE   Free of charge
By H. Foster (Booklet)    
2d ($0.04)
By Various Authors    
   (Each volume contains a number of separate messages )

THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY Vol. 1 3/- ($0.64)

Vol. 2 3/3 ($0.69)

Vol. 3 3/6 ($0.75)
   The three volumes, when ordered together:   9/- ($1.92)
For Boys and Girls    
By G. Paterson    
   (170-page cloth-bound book. Illustrated)   5/- ($1.07)
By H. Foster    
   (All with illustrated art paper covers)    
READY FOR THE KING (48 pp. Illus.)   1/6 ($0.32)
ON WINGS OF FAITH (52 pp. Illus.)   2/- ($0.43)
BURIED TREASURE (48 pp. Illus.)   2/- ($0.43)
OPENING IRON GATES (40 pages)   2/3 ($0.47)


Printed in Great Britain by Billing and Sons Limited, Guildford and London [144/ibc]

[Inside back cover]


The six issues of the magazine, bound together, to form a volume with light blue art paper cover, are available for the following years: 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 3d 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:
39 Honor Oak Road, London, S.E.23, England.
Telephone: 01-699 5216/4339

Witness and Testimony literature can also be obtained from:

M.O.R.E., Westmoreland Chapel,
P.O. Box 68505, 1505 South Westmoreland Avenue,
Indianapolis, Los Angeles,
Indiana 46268, U.S.A. California 90006, U.S.A.
Convocation Literature Sales, Evangelical Literature Service,
1370 Ray Street, (Mr. Donald J. David),
Norfolk, 158 Purasawalkam High Road,
Virginia 23502, U.S.A. Madras, 7, India.


[Back cover is blank]

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