The daily open windows devotional from T. Austin-Sparks on December 12th had these timely lines:
…tragically, grievously, on this earth so very many of those who bear the name of Christian are…standing for their own rights,…
…the reproduction of this seed which is Christ, which is the embodiment of this love that lets go, this love that knows how to yield, this love that is all the time giving. That is what the Lord is after. It represents a deep work of the Cross within,
Of the increase of His government and of peace there shall be no end. Isaiah 9:7a
He must increase, but I must decrease – He must grow more prominent, I must grow less. John 3:30
In yesterday’s post was this sentence: “A people enamored with their golden calf are a people in need of having this assurance and proof revealed to their senses. This makes them a people without faith.”
Brothers and sisters, I am not without my own need of an increase of faith. This year showed me that among many other things. But He is faithful and He is true, if we would cooperate with His deep inner work. This is not written seated atop a high horse for having arrived anywhere. Believe me. But it is written from a heart that is, like Paul, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. In order that we may, as His set-apart-ones, press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward (Philippians 3:13-14).
Upward. Upward. Upward. That is our heavenly calling. Not down here. And not to succumb to the age-old idea that to be so heavenly minded we would be of no earthly good. No! For to be a heavenly people, a people marked by a deep work of the Cross within is to be a people affecting the earth in whatever corner we may be!
And so this is not written to berate anyone in the hopes they would change their minds or see the light, as it were. But this is written as a voice of Truth amid the many voices of deception today. The Lord is the only One capable of making a blind person see. That is at the heart of this. He is at the heart of this.
If we can now backtrack into Hebrews chapter ten, verses 32-38a
32 But be ever mindful of the days gone by in which, after you were first spiritually enlightened, you endured a great and painful struggle,
33 Sometimes being yourselves a gazing stock, publicly exposed to insults and abuse and distress, and sometimes claiming fellowship and making common cause with others who were so treated.
34 For you did sympathize and suffer along with those who were imprisoned, and you bore cheerfully the plundering of your belongings and the confiscation of your property, in the knowledge and consciousness that you yourselves had a better and lasting possession.
35 Do not, therefore, fling away your fearless confidence, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward.
36 For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised.
37 For still a little while (a very little while), and the Coming One will come and He will not delay.
38 But the just shall live by faith…
It has now become common to hear within the Christian community a clamor of voices rising up to defend their rights and freedoms. But these verses tell us that those who have been spiritually enlightened bore cheerfully the plundering of their belongings and the confiscation of their property, in the knowledge and consciousness that they themselves had a better and lasting possession.
This better and lasting possession is Christ Himself! Those who have been spiritually enlightened, or those who have seen Christ, endure a great and painful struggle. This is a deep work of the Cross within. How many of you have endured a great and painful struggle on your journey in Him? Exactly. It is the flesh which demands and defends, and the work of the Cross is to separate; to crucify the one and deem alive Another. It is no longer we who live, but Christ Who lives in us. Imagine the gospels with a Jesus defending His rights and His freedoms. Philippians 2:5-7 encourages us this way:
5 Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:]
6 Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained,
7 But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity],
The flesh doesn’t strip itself of all privileges and rightful dignity. The flesh is not humble. There may be a false humility present but it is not the humility of Christ. The humility of Christ is a work of the Spirit, the outward proof of His inner work. The flesh thinks Christianity as a system of religion with its institutions they call the house of God is a thing to be eagerly grasped and retained. The Spirit bears cheerfully the plundering of earthly rights and the confiscation of earthly freedoms.
Dear reader, these verses, the whole letter to the Hebrews has been one of heart-focus for me for almost five years now. It is quite stunning to see the very present value of its exhortation; a value that only seems to be increasing in intensity as the hours pass.
What does the Body need at this present hour? We have need of not flinging aside our fearless confidence – confidence in what? The knowledge and consciousness that we ourselves have a better and lasting Possession, Who is Christ – we have need of steadfast patience and endurance; we have need to live by faith, for the Coming One will come and not delay!
Let T. Austin-Sparks words he spoke at a conference during World War II speak to us to-day:
Watch things now and in the near future. I do not want to assume the role of a prophet. I do not think it needs a prophet to foreshadow what is going to take place. I think we are going more and more to see that these things which represent mixture among the Lord’s people are going to come very much under the sword of the Lord, that a real purifying work is going to be done, and those who will not be purified unto God in these coming days are going out. That is, God is going to effect a new separation in an inward way among His people to get them into a more utter position; everything is forcing that necessity just now.(The Sons of Levi Chapter 10 – Purified by the Coming Messenger of the Covenant
Anyone with ears to hear, let them listen.