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lwpray
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 Re: THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST



LIVING BY THE TRUTH
I am going to get right down inside this thing. What is a Christian? A Christian is one who was not a very good tempered person, but is now good-tempered; not a very genial person, but is now very much more genial; a person who was not very zealous, but is now very zealous; a person who is different in disposition from what he was formerly. Is that a true definition of a Christian? Give me a homeopathic cabinet. Bring along to me a very irritable person. Give him a dose of, what shall I say?—nux vomica; in two or three hours he will be a very good-tempered man. Is he a Christian? Give him something else; turn him back to what he was before. Was he saved, and has he backslidden? Drugs can change a man’s temper in a few hours. From being a lethargic, careless, indifferent person, you become alive, energetic, active; from being miserable, discontented, morose, melancholic, disagreeable, irritable, you become amiable, pleasant, relieved from all that nervous strain which was making you like that, and all that disordered digestion which was making you such a boor to live with. For a little while, you have made a Christian with drugs! You see the point.

Where is the truth? If the truth about my salvation lies in the realm of my feelings, my digestive system, my nervous organism, I am going to be a poor Christian; because that will be changing from day to day according to the weather or to something else. Oh no! Truth; where is the truth? ”Not what I am, but what Thou art.” That is where the truth is, ”Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Free from what? Bondage! What bondage? Satan clapping his chains of condemnation upon you because today you are not feeling up to scratch. You are feeling bad in your constitution, and you are feeling depressed, you are feeling death all around, you are feeling irritable, and Satan comes along and says, You are not a Christian! a fine Christian you are! and you go down under it. Is that the truth? It is a lie! The only answer for deliverance and

emancipation is, ’It is not what I am, it is what He is; Christ abides the same.’ He is not as I am, varying here in this human life from hour to hour and day to day: He is other.
Forgive me being so strong in my emphasis, but I do feel this is the only way in which we are going to be saved really. Jesus, you see, says, ”I am the truth.” What is the truth? It is that which stands up to all arguments of Satan who is ”a liar and the father of it”. It is that which delivers us from this false self which we are; and we are a false self. We are a bundle of contradictions. We can never be sure that we are going to be of the same mind for long together, that our convictions are not going to do a right-about-turn. Oh no, it is not ourselves at all; it is Christ. You see what a false position we could be in if we were on that other level of nature. What a game the Devil could play with us.

I am using these illustrations to try to get to the heart of this. What is the truth? What is true? It is not found in us. We are not true in any part of our being. Christ alone is truth, and you and I have to learn how to live on Christ, and until we have done that the Holy Spirit cannot do the other thing. Perhaps you are saying, Is not a true Christian less ill-tempered? Is there no difference at all? Is a Christian right to be irritable and all that? I am not saying that, I am not letting you off on that; I am saying that in the school, until you and I have learned to hold on to Christ by faith, the Holy Spirit has not the ground upon which to work to bring us into conformity to Christ. If we are going to live upon the false basis of ourselves, the Holy Spirit leaves us alone. When we come to live by faith on Christ, then the Holy Spirit can come in and make Christ good in us, and teach us victory and teach us mastery, and teach us by deliverance how not to become a prey to good or bad feelings in ourselves, but to live on another level altogether. I mean this, that you cut the ground from under a great deal when you really get on to the ground of Christ.

Take irritability, for example. Some of you, of course, may never suffer in that way at all, but others do know what that battle is. Well, let us take such a case. Today we feel like that, all nervy, strained and short. What are we going to do about it? Are we going to make that our Christian life or the negation of our Christian life? If we come on to that ground, then Satan is always swift to make the most of it and bring us into terrible bondage and really to kill all spiritual life. But if you will take the position, ’Yes, that is how I feel today, that is my infirmity today, but Lord Jesus, You are other than I am, and I just rest on You, hold on to You, make You my life’, you see what you have done. You have cut the ground from under the feet of the Devil altogether, and you will find that there is peace along that line, and rest, and although you may still be feeling bad in the outer part of you, in the inner part you are at rest. The enemy is shut out from the inner part of you, he has no place there. The peace of God stands sentinel over heart and mind through Christ Jesus; the citadel is safe. What Satan is always trying to do is to get into the spirit through the body or soul and to capture the stronghold, the spirit, and bring it into bondage. But we can remain free inwardly when we are feeling very bad outwardly. That is freedom by the truth. That is the truth! Not a thing, not an affirmation, but a Person. It is what Christ is, and He is altogether different from what we are. Well, the Holy Spirit would teach us, as the Spirit of Truth, that it is abiding in Christ that means everything. The alternatives are to get into ourselves, or into other people, or into the world, in a mental way. Abide in Christ and there is rest, there is peace, there is deliverance.

But do not forget that, if we mean business with the Holy Spirit, He is not going to allow us to be deceived. I mean that the Holy Spirit is going to expose our true selves. He is going to uncover us and show us thoroughly there is nothing sound in us, nothing to be relied upon in us, in order that He may make it equally clear that it is only in Christ, God’s Son, that there is security, and safety, and life.
I have a sense of failure in trying to convey to you what I have in my heart. So many people think that the spiritual life, the life of a child of God, is a matter of things. It is a thing called ’the message of the Cross’. It is a thing called ’sanctification’. It is a thing called ’deliverance’. It is thing called ’death with Christ’—some thing. They are trying to get hold of it, and there is no deliverance that way at all. It does not work. ’Its’ do not work! It is all a matter of the Person, the Lord Jesus, and the Holy Spirit will never save us by an ’it’. He will always bring us to the Person, and make Christ the basis of our life, of our deliverance, of our everything. So the word is ”Christ Jesus . . . is made unto us wisdom from God, both righteousness and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Cor 1:30).


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 Re: THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST



THE ABIDING NEED OF FAITH
Well, I must close. The work of the Holy Spirit is to conform us to Christ, to cause us to take the form of Christ, to form Christ in us; but Christ will always remain other than we are, so that there will never cease to be a call for faith. Do you expect to reach a point in this earthly pilgrimage when faith can be dispensed with? It is a false hope. Faith will be required as much as ever in your last moments in this life, if not more than at any other time. Faith is an abiding thing for the duration of this life. If that is true, that in itself dismisses any hope whatever of our having the thing in ourselves. That was the first sin of Adam, that choice of his, not to have everything in God, but to have it in himself in independence, to get rid of the idea of faith. So he sinned by unbelief, and all the sin that has come in since is traceable to that one thing—unbelief. Faith is the great factor of redemption, of salvation, of sanctification, of glorification; everything is through faith. It undoes the work of the Devil. And faith simply means that we are put into the position where we have not got it in ourselves, we only have it in Another, and can only know it and enjoy it by faith in that Other. Thus Galatians 2:20 always comes with renewed force—“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me: and 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” (A.R.V.). I live the life in the flesh by faith in the Son of God.
The Lord interpret His word to us.


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 Re: THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST



THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST
by T. Austin-Sparks

Chapter 3 - Learning by Revelation

“In the visions of God brought he me into the land of Israel, and set me down upon a very high mountain, whereon was as it were the frame of a city on the south. And he brought me thither, and, behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed, and he stood in the gate. And the man said unto me, Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thy heart upon all that I shall show thee, for, to the intent that I may show them unto thee, art thou brought hither: declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel” (Eze 40:2-4).
“Thou, son of man, show the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities, and let them measure the pattern. And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, make known unto them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the egresses thereof, and the entrances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof; and write it in their sight; that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them” (Eze 43:10-11).
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:1-4).
“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
“And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye shall see the heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man” (John 1:51).

GOD’S ANSWER TO A STATE OF DECLENSION
We have observed that, when the Divine thought as represented by the temple and Jerusalem was forsaken and lost and the glory had departed, Ezekiel was given and caused to write the vision of a new heavenly house, a house in every detail measured and defined from above. In the same way, when the Church of New Testament times had lost its purity and truth and power, and its heavenly character and order, and the primal glory of those early New Testament days was departing, then John was caused by the Spirit to bring into view the new, wonderful, heavenly, spiritual presentation, the person of the Lord Jesus; that new heavenly presentation of Christ which we have in John’s Gospel, his letters, and the Revelation: and we must remember that the Gospel written by John is, in point of time, practically the last writing of the New Testament. Perhaps the real significance of this has not fallen upon us with due power and impressiveness. We take up the Gospels as we have them in the New Testament arrangement of books, and immediately we are put by them back into the days of our Lord’s life on the earth, and from the standpoint of time that is where we are when reading the Gospels. For us, all the rest of the New Testament has yet to be when we are in the Gospels, both as to the writings and the history which followed, all is in prospect. That of course is almost inevitable, perhaps almost unavoidable; but we must try to extricate ourselves from that position.
Why was the Gospel of John written? Was it written just as a record of the life of the Lord Jesus here on earth to go alongside of two or three other records, that there might be a history of the earthly life of the Lord Jesus preserved? Is that it? That is practically the sole result for a great many. The Gospels are read with a view to studying the life of Jesus while He was on the earth. That may be very good, but I do want to emphasize very strongly that this is not the Holy Spirit’s primary intention in inspiring the writing of those Gospels. And this is particularly seen in the case of John’s Gospel, written so long after everything else, right at the end of everything; for when John wrote his final writings, the other apostles were in glory. John’s Gospel was written when the New Testament Church, as we have said, had lost its original form and power and spiritual life, its heavenly character and Divine order; written in the midst of such conditions as are outlined in the messages to the churches in Asia at the beginning of the Apocalypse, and that can be so clearly inferred from his letters.
What was the object in view? Well, just this: as John writes, things are not as they were, not as God meant them to be; they no longer represent God’s thought in and for His people. The order, the heavenly order, has broken down and is breaking down yet more. The heavenly nature has been forfeited and an earthly thing is taking shape in Christianity; the true life is being lost and the glory is departing. To that situation God reacts with a new presentation of His Son in a heavenly and spiritual way; for the features or characteristics of John are heavenliness and spirituality. Is that not true? Oh yes, here is a new bringing into view of His Son. But what a bringing into view! Not just and only as Jesus of Nazareth, but as the Son of Man, Son of God; God revealed and manifested in man, out from eternity with all the fullness of Divine essence, that His people might see.


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 Re: THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST



GOD’S ANSWER TO A STATE OF DECLENSION
We have observed that, when the Divine thought as represented by the temple and Jerusalem was forsaken and lost and the glory had departed, Ezekiel was given and caused to write the vision of a new heavenly house, a house in every detail measured and defined from above. In the same way, when the Church of New Testament times had lost its purity and truth and power, and its heavenly character and order, and the primal glory of those early New Testament days was departing, then John was caused by the Spirit to bring into view the new, wonderful, heavenly, spiritual presentation, the person of the Lord Jesus; that new heavenly presentation of Christ which we have in John’s Gospel, his letters, and the Revelation: and we must remember that the Gospel written by John is, in point of time, practically the last writing of the New Testament. Perhaps the real significance of this has not fallen upon us with due power and impressiveness. We take up the Gospels as we have them in the New Testament arrangement of books, and immediately we are put by them back into the days of our Lord’s life on the earth, and from the standpoint of time that is where we are when reading the Gospels. For us, all the rest of the New Testament has yet to be when we are in the Gospels, both as to the writings and the history which followed, all is in prospect. That of course is almost inevitable, perhaps almost unavoidable; but we must try to extricate ourselves from that position.
Why was the Gospel of John written? Was it written just as a record of the life of the Lord Jesus here on earth to go alongside of two or three other records, that there might be a history of the earthly life of the Lord Jesus preserved? Is that it? That is practically the sole result for a great many. The Gospels are read with a view to studying the life of Jesus while He was on the earth. That may be very good, but I do want to emphasize very strongly that this is not the Holy Spirit’s primary intention in inspiring the writing of those Gospels. And this is particularly seen in the case of John’s Gospel, written so long after everything else, right at the end of everything; for when John wrote his final writings, the other apostles were in glory. John’s Gospel was written when the New Testament Church, as we have said, had lost its original form and power and spiritual life, its heavenly character and Divine order; written in the midst of such conditions as are outlined in the messages to the churches in Asia at the beginning of the Apocalypse, and that can be so clearly inferred from his letters.
What was the object in view? Well, just this: as John writes, things are not as they were, not as God meant them to be; they no longer represent God’s thought in and for His people. The order, the heavenly order, has broken down and is breaking down yet more. The heavenly nature has been forfeited and an earthly thing is taking shape in Christianity; the true life is being lost and the glory is departing. To that situation God reacts with a new presentation of His Son in a heavenly and spiritual way; for the features or characteristics of John are heavenliness and spirituality. Is that not true? Oh yes, here is a new bringing into view of His Son. But what a bringing into view! Not just and only as Jesus of Nazareth, but as the Son of Man, Son of God; God revealed and manifested in man, out from eternity with all the fullness of Divine essence, that His people might see.


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 Re: THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST



So we must get to the Holy Spirit’s standpoint in the Gospel by John, and in his other writings, and just see this, that God’s way of recovery, when His full and original thought has been lost and that heavenly revelation has departed, and the heavenly glory has been withdrawn, is to bring His Son anew into view; not to bring you back to the technique of the Church or the Gospel or the doctrine, but to bring His Son into view, to bring Christ again in the tremendousness of His heavenly and spiritual meaning before the heart-eyes of His people. That is the answer that is found in John to these conditions that we meet with in the New Testament, which so plainly shows that the Church was losing its heavenly position, and all sorts of things were coming in, and the whole thing was becoming earthly. What will God do? In what way will He save His purpose which seems to be so dangerously near being lost? He will bring His Son into view again. Remember God’s answer is always in His Son to every movement. Whether that movement be in the world as it heads up to Antichrist (God’s answer to Antichrist will be Christ in the full blaze of His Divine glory), or whether it be in the Church in declension and apostasy, God’s answer will be in His Son.
That is the meaning of the opening words of the book of the Revelation. The Church has lost her place, the glory has departed, but God breaks in with a presentation of His Son.
“I am . . . the Living one, and I became dead, and behold, I am alive unto the ages of the ages, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.”

Christ is presented, and then everything is measured and judged in the light of that heavenly Man with the measuring reed in His hand. That is enough really, if we only saw that, and grasped it. Everything for God and for us is bound up with a heart-revelation of the Lord Jesus. Oh, it will not be, as I have said, in trying to recover the New Testament technique. It will not be in a restoration of New Testament order. It will not even be in the re-affirmation of New Testament truth and doctrine. These are things, and they can be used to form a framework, but they can never guarantee the life, the power, the glory. There are plenty here in this earth who have the New Testament doctrine and technique and order, but it is a cold, dead framework. The life, the glory, is not there; the rapture is not there. No, God’s way of the glory is in His Son: God’s way of the life is in His Son: God’s way of the power is in His Son: God’s way of the heavenly nature is in His Son. And that is John’s Gospel in a few words, what God is there saying. It is all in the Son, and the need, the only need, is to see the Son, and if you see the Son by God’s act of opening the eyes, then the rest will follow. That is John’s Gospel again.

“How opened he thine eyes?” Who did this? How did He do it? The man’s response or reaction to the interrogation was this, in effect, You are asking me for the technique of things; I am not able to give you the technique, I am not able to explain this thing, but I have the reality, and that is the thing that matters. “One thing I know that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” It is the light by the life. “In him was life and the life was the light . . .”
We do not want to be able just to give the technique of truth, and expound and define it all. That is not the first thing. The first thing is, the life produces the light and that is in the revelation of the Son: and if I must bring everything to a condensation it is this—firstly, God has shut up everything of Himself within His Son, and it is not possible now to know or have anything of God outside of the Lord Jesus, His Son. God has made this a settled thing; it is final, it is conclusive.


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 Re: THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST



CHRIST KNOWN ONLY BY REVELATION
Secondly, it is not possible to have or know anything of all the fullness which God has shut up in His Son without the Holy Spirit’s revelation of that in an inward way. It has to be a miracle wrought by the Holy Spirit within every man and woman if they are to know anything of what God has shut up in Christ. That again summarizes John’s Gospel, for there at the centre is a man born blind. He never has seen. It is not a case of restoration with him, it is a giving of sight. It is the first thing. It is going to be an absolutely new world for that man. Whatever he may have surmised or guessed or imagined, or had described to him, actual seeing is going to be something with a new beginning. It is going to be an absolute miracle, producing an absolutely new world, and all his guesses of what that world contained and was like will prove to have been very inadequate when he actually sees. Nothing is going to be seen save by the miracle wrought within.
(1) God has shut up everything of Himself in His Son.
(2) No one can know anything of that save as it is revealed. “No one knoweth the Son, save the Father, neither doth any know the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal him” (Matt 11:27). Revelation can only come by choice of the Son.


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 Re: THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST



REVELATION BOUND UP WITH PRACTICAL SITUATIONS
The third thing is this. God always keeps the revelation of Himself in Christ bound up with practical situations. I want you to get that. God always keeps the revelation of Himself in Christ bound up with practical situations. You and I can never get revelation other than in connection with some necessity. We cannot get it simply as a matter of information. That is information, that is not revelation. We cannot get it by studying. When the Lord gave the manna in the wilderness (type of Christ as the bread from heaven) He stipulated very strongly that not one fragment more than the day’s need was to be gathered, and that if they went beyond the measure of immediate need, disease and death would break out and overtake them. The principle, the law, of the manna, is that God keeps revelation of Himself in Christ bound up with practical situations of necessity, and we are not going to have revelation as mere teaching, doctrine, interpretation, theory, or anything as a thing, which means that God is going to put you and me into situations where only the revelation of Christ can help us and save us.

You notice that the Apostles got their revelation for the Church in practical situations. They never met around a table to have a Round-Table Conference, to draw up a scheme of doctrine and practice for the churches. They went out into the business and came right up against the desperate situation, and in the situation which pressed them, oft-times to desperation, they had to get before God and get revelation. The New Testament is the most practical book, because it was born out of pressing situations. The Lord gave light for a situation. The revelation of Christ, we might say, in emergencies is the way to keep Christ alive, and the only way in which Christ really does live to His own. You understand what I mean.
Now then, that is why the Lord would keep us in situations which are acute, real. The Lord is against our getting out on theoretical lines with truth, out on technical lines. Oh, let us shun technique as a thing in itself and recognize this, that, although the New Testament has in it a technique, we cannot merely extract the technique and apply it. We have to come into New Testament situations to get a revelation of Christ to meet that situation. So that the Holy Spirit’s way with us is to bring us into living, actual conditions and situations, and needs, in which only some fresh knowledge of the Lord Jesus can be our deliverance, our salvation, our life, and then to give us, not a revelation of truth, but a revelation of the Person, new knowledge of the Person, that we come to see Christ in some way that just meets our need. We are not drawing upon an ‘it’, but upon a ‘Him’.

He is the Word. “In the beginning was the Word”, and the meaning of that designation is just this, that God has made Himself intelligible to us in a Person, not in a book. God has not first of all written a book, although we have the Bible. God has written a Person. In one of his little booklets, Dr. A. B. Simpson has this illustration, or illustrates this thing in this way. He says that on one occasion he saw the Constitution of the United States written, and it was written on a parchment. He was near to it, and could read all the details of the Constitution of the United States. But as he stood back from that parchment, some yards off, all he could see was the head of George Washington there on the parchment. Then he drew near again and saw the Constitution was so written in light and shadow as to take the shape of the head of George Washington. That is it. God has written the revelation of Himself, but it is in the Person of His Son, the Headship of the Lord Jesus, and you cannot have the constitution of heaven, except in the Person, and the constitution of heaven is the Person in the shape of God’s Son.

This is only an affirmation of things. I do trust you will take hold of the fact stated and go to the Lord with this. Do not ask for light as some thing; ask for a fuller knowledge of the Lord Jesus. That is the way, for that is the only living way to know Him: and remember God always keeps the knowledge of Himself in Christ bound up with practical situations. That cuts both ways. We have to be in the situation. The Holy Spirit will bring us, if we are in His hand, into the situation which will make necessary a new knowledge of the Lord. That is one side. The other side is that, if we are in a situation which is a very hard and a very difficult one, we are in the very position to ask for a revelation of the Lord.


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 Re: THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST



THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST
by T. Austin-Sparks

Chapter 4 - THE HOUSE OF GOD

Reading: Ezekiel 40:2-4; 43:10-11.

You remember it was at the time when everything which had formerly been God's means of setting forth in type His thoughts in the midst of His people, had been broken down and lost, and the people were far out of touch both spiritually and literally with those things (the temple and Jerusalem, etc.), that the Lord took up His servant Ezekiel, and in the visions of God brought him back to the land, setting him upon a high mountain, and showed him in vision the city, and that great, new, spiritual heavenly house. Very full and very comprehensive and very detailed was the vision and the unveiling that was given, and the prophet was taken to every point, every angle, and through the whole of that spiritual temple step by step; in and out, up and through, and around, the angel with the measuring rod all the time giving the dimensions, the measurements of everything; a most exhaustive definition of this whole spiritual house. And then, further, after being shown all the form and the ordinances, the priesthood, the sacrifices and everything else, the prophet was commanded to show the house to the house of Israel and to give them all the detail of the Divine thought.

In our previous meditation we pointed out, in that connection, that whenever there is a departure from Divine thoughts, whenever there is a loss of the original revelation of God, whenever the heavenliness, the spirituality, the Divine power of that which is of God ceases to operate in the midst of His people, and whenever the glory departs, the Lord's reaction to such a state of things is to bring His Son anew into view; and we followed through to see how that, in just such a time in the history of the Church in the first days, when things changed from the primal glory, John was used by the Holy Spirit through his Gospel, his Letters, and the Apocalypse, to bring the Lord Jesus in a full, heavenly, spiritual way anew into view; reminding ourselves, in so doing, that John's Gospel is practically the last New Testament book that was written, so that in spiritual value and significance, it stands really after everything else written in the New Testament. That is to say, it represents God's breaking in again with a fresh presentation of His Son in terms of heavenliness and spirituality, at a time when things have gone astray.

I just want for a few minutes, as I feel constrained, to stay with that: and we have the Gospel of John opened before us, at the first chapter. And note that this is God coming back in relation to the fullness of His thought for His people, and the meaning is just this: Christ is the fullness of God's thought for us, and the Holy Spirit (represented by the angel in Ezekiel), has come with the express object and purpose of giving and leading us into the detail of Christ, so that we get a comprehensive and detailed expression of the Divine thought in Christ and are brought thereinto.
Now you notice with John 1 you get the fresh, great, eternal presentation:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
That is the eternal background of Divine thought. Move on a little:
"And the Word became flesh, and tabernacled among us."

That is the Divine thought coming out of eternity and being planted right in the midst in a full and comprehensive way; all God's thoughts summed up in His Son, the great Eternal Thought, and centred in the midst of men in the Person of Christ. And then you move (and I am not touching all that lies between these points) to the end of that first chapter and you have by implication something that is very beautiful, if you recognize its significance. It is the word to Nathanael. It is always interesting to notice that it was to Nathanael. Had it been to Peter, James or John, we might well have concluded that it was for a sort of inner circle. But, being Nathanael, he is in the widest circle of association with Christ, and therefore what was said to him is said to every one.
"Ye shall see the heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man."



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 Re: THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST



BETHEL—THE HOUSE OF GOD
Now for the implication: we are instinctively carried by those words right back to the Old Testament, to the book of Genesis, and Jacob immediately comes into view, and we remember Jacob on his way between two points, as it were in an in-between place, between heaven and earth; neither wholly of the earth nor wholly of the heaven, but an in-between place. That night, in that in-between place, somewhere in the open he lay down and slept; and, behold, a ladder set up on the earth, the top of which reached unto heaven, and upon it the angels ascending and descending, and above the ladder the Lord; and the Lord spoke to him. And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not; this is none other but the house of God! And he called the name of that place "Bethel", or the House of God.

The Lord Jesus appropriated that and made it to apply to Himself in His words to Nathanael, and, in effect or by implication, said, I am Bethel, the House of God; I am that which is not wholly of the earth, although resting on it; not wholly of heaven in My present capacity, though related to it; I am here between heaven and earth, the meeting place of God and man, the House of God, in Whom God speaks, in Whom God is revealed—He speaks in His House, He is revealed in His House—I am the House of God: the communications of God with this world are in Me, and in Me alone: "no one cometh to the Father but by me". He might well have said, although it is not recorded that He ever did so: the Father comes to no one but by Me.

Now, it is just that House of God, as represented by Christ, that is our thought as leading up to the practical testimony in baptism: Jesus—God's House. We know, of course, that every other house in the Bible is only an illustration of Him. Whether it be the tabernacle in the wilderness or the temple of Solomon, or any subsequent temple which was intended to fulfil the same function, or anything that in more spiritual terms in the New Testament is called the Church, it is not something other than Christ, but it is Christ. In the thought of God it is just Christ and there is nothing other than Christ and nothing extra to Christ which is the Church or the House of God.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/8/26 15:46Profile
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 Re: THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST



The point that we feel the Lord is seeking to emphasize in these meditations is how He has bound up everything in a final way, conclusively and exclusively, with His Son, and that there is nothing to be had of God except in Christ, and by revelation of the Holy Spirit at that, as Christ is revealed by Him in our hearts. So that the Lord Jesus, being God's House, fulfils every function which is in type set forth in these other houses on this earth.
You begin with the Most Holy Place, the Holy of Holies. In Him is the Holy of Holies, where God verily and personally and actually dwells, has His habitation. God is in Christ, and in no other does He dwell in the same sense. It is going to become true that the Father will take up His abode in us. But, beloved, there is a difference. By the Father coming to dwell in us, we are not constituted so many more Christs. We are not in the same sense indwelt by very God as was the Son. The difference we will see in a minute. The indwelling of God in Christ is unique, and the Most Holy Place is in Him alone.
In Him is the oracle; that is, the voice, the voice that speaks with authority, and final authority. The final authority of God's voice is in Christ, and in Christ alone. The three disciples were in a very exalted position, both in their souls and in their bodies, on the Mount of Transfiguration. It was a wonderful, wonderful experience, a tremendous spiritual happening. But even so, when you are in a very exalted and elevated spiritual state, full of spiritual aspirations and spiritual expressions, you may make most grievous mistakes. So Peter, with the purest of motives, the highest intentions, said, "Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, I will make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah." And while he yet spake—as though God stepped in and did not give him a chance to finish, but said, Enough of that—while he yet spake, the cloud overshadowed, and there came a voice out of heaven saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him." 'Don't you begin to give expression to your thoughts and ideas here in this position: the final word of authority is in Him; you be silent to Him. Your spiritual ecstasies must have no place here; you must not be influenced by even your most exalted feelings.' God's authoritative voice in Christ is the final word of authority. It is the oracle that is in Him, as in the sanctuary of old. So we may go through all of that tabernacle or temple and take it all point by point, and we see Him as the fulfillment of it all, as the House of God where God is found, and where God communicates.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/8/27 3:32Profile





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