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

"The Testimony of Jesus"
Revelation 1:9

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September -- October, 1968 Vol. 46, No. 5



"Christ! I am Christ's! and let the name suffice me,

Ay, and for me He greatly hath sufficed;

. . . . . .

Yea, thro' life, death, thro' sorrow and thro' sinning

He shall suffice me, for He hath sufficed:

Christ is the end, for Christ was the beginning,

Christ the beginning, for the end is Christ."

   F. W. H. M.

FEW words more aptly express the motive and object of the ministry which this little paper has sought to express through these many years. As we get nearer to His coming, and the conclusion of the ministry, there is an increasing burden and urge to bring Him more and more into view. We believe that the books of the last things, e.g. 'Revelation' and John's Letters, indicate that, with the coming of Anti-Christ the Spirit's movement will be a concentration and intensification of focus on Christ Himself. Surely this is the deepest movement of the Spirit today! So many of God's people are feeling, if not saying: 'We do not want systems of teaching, nor your techniques and particular forms; we do not want your orientations of Christianity; but "we would see Jesus"!' They are using the word 'Reality', but what they mean is Christ! The non-Christian world is turning out and repudiating Christianity as a system. But it cannot turn Christ out where He is a life and a spiritual power. The Church began by a 'seeing of Jesus', and its apostleship and expansion was essentially through that spiritual vision and seeing. The chief Apostle based his whole life and ministry upon his having had God's Son revealed in him. If there is to be, what so many are praying for, revival, we are convinced that it can, and must, only come by a new seeing of Jesus; a new apprehension of His significance in the Divine economy. If individuals are to come into an enlargement of spiritual life, and if the Church and churches are to recover, or enter upon, a state of fuller life and power, unto more effective testimony, [93/94] it will only be by a new and fuller seeing of Christ unto a new captivation by Him.

The writer of the poem quoted at the head of this editorial has a stanza which contains the essential feature of this 'seeing':

"Oh, could I tell, ye surely would believe it!

Oh, could I only say what I have seen!

How should I tell or how can ye receive it,

How, till He bringeth you where I have been?"

If it is true that 'Christianity is Christ', and that the Church is Christ in corporate expansion, then, not from without, by forms and organization, by human efforts, but by a Holy Spirit work of inward eye-opening and inward revelation of Christ will Christianity be what it really is in the mind of God. We cannot do this, but our labours may, and must, be to provide the Holy Spirit ground to work upon by seeking to 'present' Christ in His greater fulness to the Lord's people in these serious times. This will we do, by His grace and enabling. So help us, Lord!

Do pray that this ministry may be maintained in this vision and vocation until the Lord sees that its need is no more. We are much exercised about the continuance of the ministry, when the present personal channels are called to 'higher service', and we would ask your prayers concerning this. 'He takes His workers, but carries on His work.'

Thank you for your wonderful co-operation and fellowship. We often feel that we would like all our faithful helpers to share the many letters from far and near telling of the help received through this ministry. This is not possible, but we want you to know that "your labours are not in vain in the Lord".

May He bless you yet more! Yours in His grace, T. Austin-Sparks.



Reading: Acts 12

"I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!
But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened
till it be accomplished!"
(Luke 12:49, 50).

IN our first message we were mainly occupied with the cup and its consequence in the scattering of the fire, with a view to taking fresh account of the relationship between those two things: that there is no scattering of the fire, and all that that means of the progress of the Gospel and the growth of the Church, except in so far as the meaning of the cup is established as the foundation of everything, right at the very heart of the life of the people of God.

We are now going to look at the twelfth chapter of the book of the Acts, for this chapter is a microcosm of the history of the cup and the fire. That, of course, is true of the whole of this book: it is the cup, undoubtedly -- the Church in suffering relationship with the Lord. But it is also the book of the scattered fire. This chapter, as I have said, is a miniature of that whole great truth; indeed, it is a miniature of the struggle of the ages between the powers of evil and the invincible spiritual forces which eventually triumph. The tremendous amount of history and truth packed into this chapter never fails to move and stir us when we read it. I wonder whether there is a chapter in the Bible so pregnant with phrases and clauses, piled one upon another, every one of which could, without exaggeration, occupy our whole chapter.

Take some of these clauses, only a few of the many: "Now about that timen ...". What a key that is, and what a lot that key opens if you stay with it! We shall probably make use of it presently. "Herod the king ...". There is far more in that than you recognize. "To vex certain of the church ...". The vexation of the Church or the attempted vexation of the Church. "Killed James ...". We pointed out previously that it was this James and John who came to the Lord requesting places on the right hand and on the left in glory, to whom the Lord immediately uttered the challenge: 'Are you able to drink of the cup that I drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism wherewith I am baptized?' And they said: 'We are able.' 'You shall ...'. "And he killed James with the sword ...". "When he saw that it pleased the Jews ...". 'It pleased the Jews!' There is a lot in that. "He proceeded further ...". And so we might go on. The whole chapter is full of phrases and clauses like that which are just packed with meaning. [94/95]

Let us look at the message of this chapter. "Now about that time ...". About what time? It is full of significance to put your finger on that and note the time. The answer is a very large one, but it has two main features. There is the answer lying within Herod himself, and there is the answer which lies behind Herod, much more deeply -- the answer of Satan. Let us consider the answer in Herod.

"Herod the king" (verse 1). There were six Herods in the Bible. All of them were Idumaean in origin: they are gathered under that symbolic name of 'Edom'. That is, they were descendants of Esau, not of Israel. All that is very significant. This man before us was the first and the last of them properly to hold this title of 'king'. None of them up to him had officially held that title, and after he died the title of 'king' was taken away.

We are witnessing here the heading up of a long history. The prophecies of Obadiah should be read in order really to get the substance of this -- this historic antagonism between the flesh and the Spirit, between heaven and hell, between Esau and Israel. There is a long history here, headed right up to this man who now takes the title of 'king'. What irony that the Jews should come to be ruled by a descendant of Esau and not of Israel, and that that ruler should be appointed by pagan Rome! It is something to think about. We are in the presence of a tremendous drama here, profoundly fascinating -- but oh, how deeply instructive!

"About that time Herod the king put forth his hands to afflict certain of the church.... And when he saw that it pleased the Jews ..." (verses 1, 3). Now why should Herod do this Jew-pleasing thing at that time? It might look just like a human story, it might seem to be something very simple, but we are in the unfolding of this much deeper thing. Satan, as we know, is very deep, but God is deeper still, and that is what is happening here. If you look back to the chapter before this, you will find that there was a great famine. "Now in these days there came down prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch. And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be a great famine over all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius.... Now about that time ..." (Acts 11:27-28; 12:1).

The simple answer is this: the Jews were a very difficult people to rule. That is perfectly clear, of course, we know that. But add to the normal usual, common difficulty a famine. You know there is nothing that leads to revolution more quickly than famine and hunger. We are told later in the story that the people of Tyre and Sidon, in Phoenicia, were fed from King Herod's province (verse 20). It is a question of food, and it has become very acute. There is a seething and surging and a rising, and Herod must do something to get these people diverted from their troubles, get them preoccupied. Something must be done for them; there must be some diversion. He cannot provide the food and avoid the famine; it has come, it is a fact. Then, if he is going to maintain his position and hold these people and keep them in check, he must do something to please them. And there is your answer!

It sounds like a human story, a bit of trickery, politics, or whatever you like to call it; but that is one part of the answer. "Now about that time ...". Why must he please the Jews? Well, that is the answer. How will he please the Jews? He knows their hatred for the Christians -- that is a long story, too -- and so he will "put forth his hands to afflict certain of the church". The Christians were being used to buttress up this ramshackle, false kingdom of Herod, to keep his throne intact. He is using them for his own ends. Well, that is only part of the answer -- Herod's part. It is a very simple one.

But let us get behind Herod, because Herod is not acting alone. There is something more, something deeper. The deeper and the more real answer to the question is found in the satanic realm behind the man. Let us look at chapter 11 again, verse 19: "They therefore that were scattered abroad upon the tribulation that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia, and Cyprus, and Antioch speaking the word to none save only to Jews."

"They ... that were scattered abroad upon the tribulation that arose about Stephen ...". That is a profoundly inclusive word. There is something happening. Oh, what a lot has been happening! That takes us back to chapter 7 -- the martyrdom of Stephen. Stephen is stoned; that is the cup. It looks like an immense triumph for the devil. Stephen was a mighty man of the Spirit; there were tremendous hopes for the Church bound up with the life of that young man. Some have said, after reading his discourse and studying it, that he was the equal of Saul of Tarsus at least. And there he is, murdered. It looks as though Satan has really triumphed.

But what after that? From that very point there was a scattering of the believers far and wide, and they went everywhere, testifying. Saul of Tarsus is converted, and what a tremendous thing that is! Peter is led to the house of Cornelius, away up there in the north, and we know what happened there -- the door is opened to the Gentiles. Things of the greatest significance are coming out of the cup, the cup of the Lord; out of the baptism and passion into which the Church has been baptized. [95/96] Believers were constantly added to the Church (9:31, 42; 11:21, 24). The thing is growing. The fire is spreading, Satan's kingdom is being shaken. The kingdom of Satan is being stirred to its depths, and something must be done about it.

Someone tersely put it 'The men that have turned the world upside down have come hither (17:6). "Now about that time Herod the king ..."; You see? That is the explanation. Out of this baptism of the passion of the Lord into which the Church has been brought, the fire is spreading; but the enemy is moved -- deeply moved. Herod 'puts forth his hand' -- and there is a hand behind that hand -- "to afflict certain of the church. And he killed James ... with the sword. And when he saw that it pleased the Jews ..." he proceeded further. I would like to stay with all those fragments, because there is a message in every one of them. Herod is carried on by his own momentum. Have a little success, and see what it will do for you!

However, we turn away from that for a moment to the other side -- the aspect of this that we may call a drama indeed, that of the sovereign Kingship of the Lord. It is all summed up in three things: "Herod ... put forth his hands to afflict ... an angel of the Lord smote him ... But the word of God grew and multiplied" (12:1, 23-24). That is tremendous, is it not? We begin the story with Herod putting forth his hands; we end the story with Herod eaten of worms and giving up the ghost. You begin with the Church a victim and martyr; you end with the Word of God growing and multiplying. This is the story of another King. It is the story of two kings pitting themselves against each other. It is, as I said at the beginning, the microcosm of this long history of the conflict between the forces of evil and those invincible forces of the Spirit, which always triumph in the long run.

But here a pressing question arises. When you think of the beginning -- that he killed James with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews he proceeded further to take Peter also -- the question that clamours for an answer is: Why does God allow this kind of thing? Why did He not intervene before James was killed with the sword? Why did He not stop this thing before Peter was thrown into prison? Ah. that is another key to another large history, is it not? The mystery of God's permissive will: God allowing His servants, His so useful servants, to be killed or cast into prison, allowing the Church to suffer like this. Why does God allow it?

The answer lies deep down within the cup. If you get deep enough into the cup, you will find the answer. Let me put it the other way -- it is deep within the Cross. God, in the mystery of His will and His ways, uses the Church as He used Israel, to draw out the evil forces to their own destruction. 'God moves in a mysterious way ...' Is it the Church, or is it the forces against it, that are destroyed eventually? You see the answer in history. It is here in this chapter in representation. Here you have Israel in Egypt. What a tremendous extending of Pharaoh -- drawing him out, drawing him to the limit of his own resources to give an answer through the magicians, and then going on and going on, further and yet further, all Pharaoh's resources are exhausted, and then God smashes him. The sum total of his whole resource is broken and destroyed -- and God has used a suffering people to draw it all out.

That is the story here. In the mystery of God's ways the Church suffers, but its suffering comes from the enemy, whom God is drawing out by means of the Church -- drawing him out and extending him. And when his cup of iniquity is full, God will smash him beyond repair. That is the issue of Herod. It is the Church that has brought this about. It is the sufferings of James and Peter and the Church in these days that have accomplished that. But is that not found right in the Cross? Look at the Cross! Is the Cross the extending of all the powers of evil in earth and in hell? It is that! When you see Him there on the Cross, dead, and know how it is brought about, and all that has gone to bring it about -- the whole story of human and satanic malice and spite -- you ask: Is there anything more that they can do? No! What is the answer? The scattered fire! That is the answer. It is in the cup, it is in the Cross, it is an integral part of this whole matter. The sufferings of Christ which abound unto us, unto the Church, are working Satan's undoing and for us a 'far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory' (2 Corinthians 4:17).

Why does God allow it? Wait, if you can, in patience and in faith. "Here is the patience of the saints" (Revelation 13:10, 14:12). Do you remember that word? If you can wait, you will see that, on the one side, your suffering, or your sufferings, wrought havoc in the kingdom of Satan, brought him to an end of his power: they drew him out, they were the marks of his coming out. On the other side, the sufferings have worked glory for you. And in the meantime there has been spiritual increase, spiritual progress, scattered fire.

God uses the work of Satan for Satan's undoing. But it is the Church and it is the saints who are the instrument. It is in their soul that this battle is fought out. "Now unto the principalities and the [96/97] powers in the heavenlies ... made known through the church the manifold wisdom of God" (Ephesians 3:10). Something is happening in the unseen.

The progress of the Word of God is a costly thing. It involves much suffering -- it involves the cup; but that is His way. Here, then, we see God using Satan's work -- on the one side for Satan's own undoing and overthrow, and on the other side for the progress of the Word, for the Church's advance and for the glory of God. All that is wrapped up in this anguish of fellowship with His sufferings.

You and I have had a good deal of difficulty in understanding why Paul should long to know the fellowship of His sufferings. It is one of the most difficult prayers for us to pray, is it not? But Paul knew this secret, that that is the way of the progress of the Gospel, that is the way for the destruction of this that is set against it: the fellowship of His sufferings; for that is the heart of the Cross of the Lord Jesus Himself.

And all this is inherent in the cup. The cup ceases to be an object, it ceases to be just a thing: it becomes something living, something potent. That cup is a mighty force in this universe. When you and I come to the Lord's Table next time, may God give us some larger conception of what a tremendous thing is there, touching every realm in His universe. It is the representation of something living. This blood speaks, this blood tells, this blood counts. Blood is vital, it is a terrific force in this universe. When we take the cup, and thereby accept the baptism, the passion, let us recognize that in faith we take also the tremendous victory that it sets forth. It is costly!

Let us now see where this was all wrought out. On the one side, Herod -- wicked, wicked Herod, with all the cruelty of his long history, going back to Esau; the Jews, delighted that action was being taken against the followers of Jesus; the prison, the chains, the strong guard within and without -- four quaternions of soldiers. These are things that represent great forces and great difficulty -- all the things which are against. They are not just words: they are tremendous things, all of them, viewed from the natural standpoint. That is on the one side. On the other side, "an angel of the Lord": and Herod, and the Jews, and the prison, and the chains, and the guard, are as nothing.

Where is it wrought out? In a prayer meeting, as it were right in between those two. Between the forces of hell and of heaven was the Church at prayer. The thing would not have happened otherwise. Those forces of evil would not have yielded to the heavenly authority of the ascended Christ through an angel, if it had not been for what was going on in that room. "But," it says, "prayer was made ... of the church ...". But ... But ... Away all the forces! Calculate them, take their full strength and meaning, and then put one word over it all -- 'But'. 'The Church prayed ...' And in response to that the angel -- and all the other was as nothing.

The Church at prayer. What do you think about that? It says that "prayer was made earnestly", but that English word does not really convey the force of it at all. The Greek word means literally 'extendedly', 'stretched out'. The Church prayed in a stretched out way; the Church was extended. Satan was extended, heaven was extended, and these two powers came into collision because the Church was extended. It will never come about in any other way; it is just like that. What a tremendous thing is wrapped up with the Church at prayer!

As I dwell upon this story, many, many thoughts that are not in the story crowd into my mind. How different it might have been if the Church, instead of getting together and focusing upon the situation in oneness and in prayer like this, had said: 'Oh, if only Stephen had not said those things! If only so-and-so had been a little more discreet.... If only ...!' and a thousand other things of blame: blaming one and another and holding people responsible for this and putting it down to that, and that, turning in on themselves until they had got a whole situation of questions and reproaches and recriminations, and a 'case'. And the whole thing is sabotaged! Dear brothers and sisters, whenever this kind of thing happens we must look deeper. Behind all that is the strategy of Herod to frustrate the scattering of the fire. When the devil can get us turned in on ourselves and on our own problems, and upon one another's faults and weaknesses and failures, and so on, he has defeated the whole business of the Lord. You may pray and pray and pray, but if there is the contradiction of division in the background, you pray in vain. The Lord will not come in.

They prayed as the Church in this 'stretched out' way. There is no other thing in mind; they are of one mind and heart. They are concentrated upon a satanic issue. There is a lesson in that. Oh, how our prayer is paralysed by a thousand and one things which, if we only knew the truth, are not really the trouble -- they are things that Satan has got hold of. There may be faults. Was any one of the Apostles faultless? There may be weaknesses; but if only you are on the Lord's business, the Lord takes action.

It has been said, concerning the disciples' [97/98] disputing with Rhoda about Peter, that they had prayed and prayed and prayed all night, and then when their prayer was answered they did not believe it, and some people have said that they could not have prayed in faith. But there are other points of view. Some of us pray with all our might about a dear brother now in prison. I beg to suggest that, if someone came to us and said: 'Brother ... is at the door!' we should say: 'He can't be!' We should want a good deal of verification -- not because we did not believe that the Lord could do it or would do it: but, somehow or other, when the Lord does the very that we ask for, our breath is taken away and we cannot believe it. Have mercy upon these believers, and do not impute unbelief. The fact is, that, though they may have prayed like that, and though there may have been faults and weaknesses, they were on the business, and they were one in it, and the Lord moved in.

How much came out of this! They saw through the whole situation and got to the real issue, they pushed aside all other considerations, and out of their travail something was born. You remember what follows after chapter twelve. In the previous chapter (11:19-30) Antioch had come into view: and now from Antioch Paul and Barnabas are sent forth, and on and on you go. The fire is scattered to the ends of the earth -- out of this: The Church Prayed .

It is a wonderful story, but I find much difficulty in seeking to convey it. It is so true to life. There is always so much room for the mystery of God's ways. Why? Why? Why? If you stay with the 'why's' of God's wisdom, you will be paralysed. Let me recall what we were saying at the beginning of our first message. Here is a law enunciated, declared, established -- that there is no scattered fire without the cup, and that cup is always a mystery. It always expresses itself in ways concerning which you can say: 'Why this ...?' 'Why that ...?' 'Why does He allow this ...?' Those 'why's' will paralyse you if you have not reached the established, settled position, that the cup has come to stay; it will be with us to the end.

But, in the mystery of suffering permitted by God, and in all that that cup means in a crucified Son of God and a crucified Church -- in all that is the way of Satan's undoing and the establishment of the heavenly Kingdom. May God settle it in us, and give us grace!

(To be continued)


Message as spoken by Mr. DeVern Fromke at the Aeschi Conference 1967

I BELIEVE that we have reached a place in our conference where we do one of three things. We will either break out in rebellion and say 'No!', or we will break down in despair and say 'it is too difficult!', or we will break through into the life in the Spirit. You know, as you move around various companies of the Lord's people you find some who have learned the secret of a spiritual edge to their life, but even among so many who say they really love the Lord there is such a tendency to a spiritual sag, or let-down. I want to share with you this morning a principle which I believe will help us to live with a keen, sensitive edge to our spiritual life.

I will begin with a story about Billy. One morning, when Mother was leaving home, she turned to her son, Billy, and said: 'I have made some candy which you may cut when it is hard, but be sure to save twenty-four pieces for a party I am going to tonight.' At last the candy was ready to cut, and Billy cut some big pieces, but, after eating and eating, he counted and there were only twenty pieces left. He said: 'It is good that I cut such big pieces. If I cut them in half there will be forty pieces left, and I can still eat sixteen more!' After he had done all this there seemed so few on the plate, so he decided to spread them out a little. When Mother came home he could rest in the confidence that he had fulfilled the law -- there were twenty-four pieces. He kept looking at his mother all the afternoon, wondering if she would say something. That night, just as she was about to leave for the party with the candy, he came running up to her in tears, saying: 'Mother, my conscience [98/99] doesn't bother me, but something else deep within tells me that I am so selfish!'

With this story as background, I want you to turn to 1 Corinthians 8. We want now to see how many Christians there are who are content to live in the place where their conscience cannot bother them, but they hardly move up into the place where they live with a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, so we will look at a problem in the church at Corinth. There were some younger believers who were saying: 'Oh, we could not eat meat that has been sacrificed to the idols in the temple!' They kept thinking of these idols as a reality, so their conscience, wrongly trained, bothered them. Then there were the other group who had more understanding, but they were very selfish. These older Christians were saying: 'We know that an idol is nothing in the world, and if we want to eat this meat we are at liberty to do so.' Thus we see a conflict between those who were more or less ignorant and those who were more or less selfish. Here this may be a problem that deals with the eating of meat sacrificed to idols, but the principle will fit into all the practices of the Church.

We must see that there are three levels, so to speak, where people can live. At the bottom there are those who want to break out all the time and they have to have the law, or something that forbids them. Then there are those who live in the middle plane, where they fulfil all that their conscience demands, saying: 'It is lawful.' Then there are those who push up to live in the 'expedient' level, and we shall see what that is.

How does Paul deal with this problem in Corinth? There are those who would like him to write a little book of laws, saying: 'Thou shalt not do this!' They are the ones who would fit into the bottom group; but Paul writes to these weaker believers who are ignorant, and to these others who are selfish, and let us see what he says in verse 1 of this chapter: "Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but love buildeth up." Remember that we were saying last time that there is a knowledge that the mind can get hold of, and it is this knowledge that 'puffs up', but we are going to see now that there is a fuller, inward knowledge. These weaker believers had this outer knowledge. They knew some things about God but they were still very conscious of idols. These others who had been going on with the Lord longer had a fuller inward knowledge that an idol was nothing in the world. In verse 7 Paul says: "There is not in every man that inward knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat as a thing offered unto the idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled." He sums up the conflict by saying: 'It is true that you have this fuller knowledge, and you have liberty to eat this meat', but I want you to notice what Paul says now. He seems to say: 'I do not live in the middle, "lawful" plane, taking my liberty. While I could have my liberty, I move up to a plane where I am His love-slave.'

You see, the way that Paul teaches them is not the legal way of imposing restrictions, but it is the living way of love. Can you not see how some of them who had an inward knowledge were even using this revelation for their own selfish interests? They would say: 'Oh, we have had a revelation. The idol is nothing in the world, so we can eat this meat.' The one who talks in this way is still the centre of his little world, making every good thing just serve himself. Paul sums up the situation in verse 13: "If meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend." People are always saying: 'Oh, this teaching gets people under bondage.' Well, there is the bondage of the rebellious mind, but there is the wonderful bondage of love.

Now we move to chapter 9 and see the very same principle in operation. These people could not understand the strange, poured-out life of the Apostle Paul, and in verse 3 Paul says: "Mine answer to them that do examine me is this:" Briefly he is saying: 'I have my rights as a servant of the Lord', and then he names three rights that he has. In verse 4 he says: 'I have the right to enjoy normal food like others.' In verse 5 he says: 'I have the right to have normal relationships, a family and children', and in verse 6 and onwards he is saying: 'I have the right to have normal remuneration as a servant of the Lord.' Now he is going to prove that these are his rights. In verse 8 he says: 'Do I not say these things as a man, or does not the law also say the same?' In verse 9: "For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treaded out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?" Look at the oxen as they are treading out the grains on the threshing floor! They were not permitted to put a muzzle on the mouth of these oxen. Why? Because when they went around treading out, they could stoop down and eat some of the grain. And does God just give rights to the oxen, or does He also give rights to the servant of the Lord? And if other servants of the Lord partake of their rights, does not Paul also have that privilege?

But now Paul drops his bombshell. Listen to what he says in verse 12: 'If others be partakers [99/100] of this right over you, do I not have this right also? Nevertheless, we have not used this right; but suffer all things lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.'

You see, in chapter 9 Paul is saying: 'I do not live in this "lawful" plane, claiming my rights, but I have moved up to the "expedient" plane, where all I am concerned about is His rights in me.' He goes to great length here to prove that he has his rights. In verse 14 he says: "Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel", and goes on in verse 15 to say: 'But I have not claimed any of my rights, neither am I hinting now that you should give me my rights.'

I think we must see that in the Old Testament there were two kinds of servants. There was the hired servant who had his rights and certain recourse when he was wronged, but there was also the bond-slave, who had no rights, no remuneration, and no recourse when he was wronged. The Hebrew people were never allowed to make bond-slaves of their own people, but they could go out and capture other nations and make bond-slaves of them. It is so wonderful how the Lord Jesus laid aside all His heavenly rights and came down to earth to become a bond-slave; and now Paul uses this very same Greek word in verse 19: "For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself a bond-slave unto all."

Can you not see, in the midst of our fellowship with one another, how often folks say: 'I know my rights!'? And when people live in My liberty' or in 'My rights' on the 'lawful' plane the conscience cannot get at them. Look at a tree with its fruits, for a moment. The fruits on the tree are the things that I do. The conscience works in the higher plane to tell me that what I do is wrong, but it cannot get below the soil to the roots of the tree. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to show me, not so much what I do, but what I am. Paul says of the Corinthians that some of them had a weak conscience because they only lived by the outer mind but when the Holy Spirit comes to work alongside of my conscience with enlightenment, then I can have a good conscience working on the basis of the inner seeing, or the inner revelation. Oh, there are so many people today who are saying: 'My conscience does not bother me. I know my liberty and I know my rights.' They are the centre of their little world and they relate everything to themselves, but when we break through into the higher level, where God is our centre and everything is related to Him, then even the questions we begin to ask are different.

I remember one morning, after I had spoken along this line at a meeting, a young Bible College girl came to me. she asked 'Do you think it all right for me to go to such-and-such a place? Is it all right for me to do this, or that? Is it all right for me to wear this or that?' I did not say anything, but I just stood there and smiled. She looked up and said: 'Well, what is wrong with my questions?' I replied: 'Have I wasted the whole morning? Don't you see that the very questions you ask tell me the level on which you live? Can't you see how you are the centre and you are relating everything to yourself?' Tears ran down her cheeks and she walked away.

Now in chapter 10 we will see the reason for this. There is so much here, but we will begin with verse 23. Now please notice that when Paul says, "All things", he is talking about all this eating of meat, all 'my liberty and 'my rights'. All that is in the context here. There are some things that are definitely forbidden in the Scripture, but in this verse he is saying: 'This eating of meat, and my rights, are permissible, are lawful for me, but they are not expedient. All these things are lawful, but they do not build up my spiritual life. Let no man seek his own, but every man another's welfare.' And so he would say: 'I do not live in my liberty, for my rights, or just for my gain, but I am primarily concerned with His gain in me.' Verse 31 shows us how he relates everything to God: "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God", and in verse 33 he says "Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit (or gain), but the profit of many, that they may be served."

Oh, how my heart goes out to people when I see them so often settling down just to enjoy their liberty, their rights, and what they gain out of the Gospel. You see, if we are very legal we say: 'My conscience doesn't bother me', but this is a conscience that only works on the mind in the soul. I do believe that an enlightened conscience, sensitive to the Holy Spirit, will sense this gnawing within that something is wrong. On this higher level, then, the conscience is working on the law of the spirit of life, the inner law. There have been times when I have been in a church where there was a spiritual awakening, and people were really giving of themselves and I have anticipated that when I go back the next year they will have gone on with great fruitfulness unto the Lord, but when I got into the first meeting I sensed that the spiritual edge had gone, and they were wondering why the convicting power of the Holy Spirit was not in their midst. The constraining love of the Lord Jesus was [100/101] not really gripping them. They had been content to settle down as the objects of God's blessing instead of being a channel of His blessing. Through the years I have learned that whenever the edge seems to have gone in my own life the Holy Spirit is pointing and saying: 'You have just settled down to the "lawful level.'

Is it not wonderful that no one ever demands that you must move up to the higher level? Paul says, and I think it is with real gladness, "I made myself a bond-slave." You see, it is when we have really seen something of the Lord that our whole being goes out to satisfy His heart. I think I have been like little Billy so many times -- just fulfilling the requirements, and I could say: there are just twenty-four pieces. Mother said I was at liberty to eat, and I had my rights, so I enjoyed my gain.' But all the time I was talking with my lips there was something else speaking deep within. The Holy Spirit, who unveils the roots of the tree, is always saying: 'Give! Give!'

I hope that when we go back to our church, or the people with whom we have fellowship, this will become a living principle in us. The living way is the way of real joy. The legal way is the way of inward hurting all the time, because we know that we are not living unto the fullness that God expects. - DeV. F.



H. F. [Harry Foster]

ON Saturday, June 29th, a Frenchman arrived at Ballykelly Air Station in Northern Ireland and asked to see Squadron-Leader John Bulloch. He had travelled all the way from France to say two words. He felt so full of gratitude that he could not be content with writing a "thank you" letter, and no wonder, for he was thanking the Squadron-Leader for saving his life. You see, his name was Joan de Kat, and he had been in danger of perishing when his trimaran broke up in the Atlantic. His appeal for help had been picked up and a tremendous sea search was set in motion, with planes and ships from various parts of the world joining in the search. At last, and just in time, the Shackleton from the R.A.F. Station in Ireland had spotted him, and so he was saved from perishing. It was a costly operation, but the French yachtsman did not go to ask how much he owed for his rescue. This was just as well, for the estimated cost was £150,000, which would have meant that, even if he could have promised to pay £20 a week, he would have had to live for another 150 years to pay off the debt. No, he could never hope to pay for being saved, and he was not asked to do so. All he could do was to say those two words: "Thank you." That was enough.

That is all that we can do to thank God for sending His Son to save us from perishing. It is no use our trying to repay God, for the price He paid was much more than £150,000. He so loved us "that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). We can never begin to repay Him, but what we can and should do is to say "Thank you". We do not need to travel across the sea, as Joan de Kat did. All we need to do is to kneel down and thank Him for Christ the Saviour.

Of course, we cannot thank Him for salvation if we have not yet got it. When a missionary called Willie first went to Brazil he soon learned to say "Thank you" in Portuguese, but he had a shock when he tried to use his knowledge. It was in a cafe where he had given the waiter a large note to pay a small bill. Very soon the waiter brought him the change on a plate and he said "Thank you", expecting to have the money handed to him. To his surprise the overjoyed waiter no sooner heard him speak than he pocketed the change and went off, beaming with pleasure. Poor Willie! He had lost his money by saying "Thank you" too soon. In that country his action was the same as saying "No, thank you", so the waiter thought that he was being told to keep the change. Willie resolved that in future he would never say the words until he actually held the object in his hands.

This is the kind of "Thank you" that God wants from us. He wants us first to accept His forgiveness and love, and then to be sure to say "Thank you". And to keep on saying it by our devoted lives. - H. F. [101/102]


WE began these messages with a fresh contemplation of the greatness of Christ; and then we went on to remind ourselves that everything which has to do with the realization of God's purpose in creating man, and this world, and its universe, is a matter of knowing God in Christ, which, of course, means knowing Christ. Every aspect and detail of God's will and God's way and God's end is a matter of knowing the Lord Jesus. All progress, as all life, rests upon that -- knowing Him. The Christian life here is meant to be one of continuous growth and development and progress, but that only takes place as we come to know more, and still more, of the meaning of the Lord Jesus. This progress will not stop when we leave this world, and when time gives place to eternity: "Of the increase of his kingdom there will be no end." Stagnation is no mark of life, and life there will be ever manifesting itself in new and more wonderful fulnesses and forms. Therefore, the knowledge of Christ which will, in time and eternity, be the secret of growth and progress, will continue in heaven, and it will take eternity to exhaust it. Well, that was our next thing -- all growth, progress, fruitfulness, rest upon this growing knowledge of the Lord Jesus.

That brought us to this: Seeing He is so vast, so immense, so many-sided, we can only see Him from one standpoint at a time; we have to move round to see Him from every angle. And at this time we are just looking at the Lord Jesus from one of the many angles, or points of view, which is this particular aspect of His significance: that He, in His Person and in His work, stands related to an eternal, heavenly order. He Himself, in His wonderful, complex Person, is the very embodiment of all the principles and laws of a great heavenly order. When everything is conformed to Christ and takes its character from Him, it will be one glorious harmonious whole, perfected into one, just one glorious unity.

So that is what we are seeking to grasp at this time: the relationship of Christ to this eternal heavenly order. We have, of course, laid our foundation in the Word of God; we have allowed that to come to us in one marvellous statement through the apostle Paul that 'in the fulness of the times -- the fulness of the times -- God has determined to gather together (or, re-gather together) all things in Christ'. Seeing that the very word contains that idea of re-gathering, it implies, if it does not declare, that there was a glorious order at one time when everything was as God meant it to be. All the sons of God shouted for joy as they beheld the marvel of His creation and His order. That word implies that that order has been lost, and in its place there has come disorder, and it declares that the order is going to be restored in Christ. That is the great significance of the Lord Jesus from this standpoint. We repeat: He personally is the embodiment of that; and His work is related to that.

That led us to the place where the great river of revelation divides into four:

1. God is the God of order. We dwelt a little while on that, although it altogether defeats us, for it is so great and so full. This fact, of God being such, is revealed clearly, firstly, in His creative work;

Secondly, in the great representation that we have in type and symbol in the Old Testament;

Thirdly, in His redemptive work;

Fourthly, in the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

In all these four ways there is a wonderful revelation that God is a God of order.

Let us think for just a minute or two on the first of those -- revealed in Creation.

While, of course, we are confronted with so much in this present world and system which seems to shout disorder, derangement, discord and confusion, even in nature, there is still discernible in nature a wonderful background of an ordered system. That is something which has engaged men for their whole life, and is a marvellous universe itself of instruction and of fascination. Here is an extract from a big work by one of the most outstanding biologists. He writes thus:

"The hosts of living organisms are not random creatures. They can be classified into battalions and regiments. Neither are they isolated creatures, for every thread of life is intertwined with others in a complex web. This is one of the fundamental biological truths, the co-relationship of organisms in the web of life. No creature lives or dies to itself. There is no insulation in nature. One organism gets linked on to others, and becomes dependent upon them for the very continuance of its race. Flowers and insects are fitted together as hand in glove. When we learn something of the intricate give and take, supply and demand, action and reaction, between plants and animals between flowers and insects, we begin to get a glimpse of a vast organization in the creation." [102/103]

Well, take it for what it is worth. You will see that that gathers up into a few sentences something that is capable of tremendous enlargement. You see it everywhere. Behind this creation there is a Mind that loves to have things properly ordered and related. Behind this creation there is a perfect, spiritual system. God is the God of order, and what is true in natural history is seen to be true everywhere else . God has arranged the year in seasons. He has arranged the co-operation of heaven and earth in that the heavenly bodies govern the movements of the earth, the tides; and so on.

We would not know where to stop if we were to allow ourselves to go on with this! There is one hymn in our hymnbook which begins: "The spacious firmament on high ...". You notice that the conclusion of that hymn is: "It all declares a Mind Divine." Well, if we wanted to go on with this we do not need to go far away to the celestial bodies or to objects outside of ourselves, we have only to have a little intelligence about our own human bodies, and to see that the human body, in health, is a marvellous system of related, dependent, inter-dependent, co-operative functions, principles and elements. I think that anyone who really has any knowledge of the human body ought to be a great worshipper! It is a marvellous unity in diversity. It all speaks of this 'hand in glove' principle, of one thing fitting into another in perfect harmony and symmetry. There is another side to that, I know, and I am going to speak about it presently.

We have done no more than stated a fact: that wherever you can trace the Hand of God before the other hand comes upon it -- either the hand of man or the hand of the devil -- you find this beautiful harmony, this wonderful order.

We come to the Old Testament, and anyone familiar with it will not need an exhaustive proof of this great truth. In the Old Testament representations of God's Mind we begin with Him bringing order out of chaos, for that is where everything begins. God, who is the God of order, reacts against this state of chaos, and His reaction issues in a wonderful and beautiful order. And what is true as to God bringing order out of chaos where the earth is concerned is seen to be a principle that is working all through the Old Testament. You see it at work in a representative people -- and here is the glory and the tragedy of Israel. The glory of Israel is that they were taken out of the nations to be the embodiment and the manifestation of a heavenly order on this earth, and the tragedy of Israel is that Israel has come to chaos. You see them in Egypt, and what was true in nature was true spiritually and morally of Israel in Egypt -- chaos; no order; barrenness; frustration, confusion; hopelessness. Exodus is the book of emergence from all that, and they are not a rabble, a crowd of refugees going out into the wilderness. They are ordered, and ordered by their ranks. You can trace these marks as you read carefully. No, they are not just a mixed-up crowd, a disorderly crowd, running amok to get out of Egypt. See them marching like an army, in their serried ranks and their appointed order! It is order out of chaos. See them at Sinai, when God has given His pattern for their national life. Just take a look at one of those pictures that we have of Israel assembled around the Tabernacle. And then, the order of the service. Leviticus is the book of the ordering of worship. And what a marvellous system that book is of the order of worship! It is not just that God said this, and that, and that is to be in the way of sacrifices and offerings and feasts, you will notice that there is a marvellous sequence, an ordered sequence, and that need is supplied at every point. It is a progressive, ordered development of worship, of approach to God, under a specified and particularized government. That book of Leviticus is a wonderful book! You move into the book of Numbers, and the very name of the book indicates what it is all about. This is the book of the marchings through the wilderness, and everything is numbered, tabulated and ordered. I just indicate the details and you will pick them up.

Pass over the many years until you come to the Temple and this is one of the things that almost overwhelms you! The marvellous. meticulous order about this Temple -- every detail, every measurement, the size of everything, the place of everything; the material of everything. And what shall we say about the 'courses of the singers' and the 'courses of the priesthood' -- all in course round the clock. Everything is prescribed for. And when the Queen of Sheba came and looked at the order of the house there was no more breath left in her! That was the impressive thing. Everything here was so quietly, harmoniously and beautifully regulated. It all speaks of a master-mind, and that was God. He gave the pattern for that, and He gave the revelation. And although that was disrupted and the people went into captivity, passing seventy years in exile, the return of the remnant, the rebuilding of the wall and of the house were again marked by this order. We have read and studied the book of Nehemiah from other standpoints and have perhaps not been impressed with the wonderful organization in it. You notice that one whole chapter is taken up with 'next unto him ... and next unto him ... and next unto him ...' It is [103/104] all arranged and ordered. It is, if you like, all organized. We can use that word in the Old Testament if we cannot in the New Testament. Nehemiah represents a master-organizer in the things of God. This is all under Divine direction, and it all points to this: God is a God of order. We must be impressed with this, dear friends. It is not something to be contemplated objectively and historically. You and I have to be tremendously impressed with this, and see that God is very particular about how things are done, what things are done, and who does these things, and also about the relationships that obtain amongst those who are employed. God is very particular, and, as we have said, this is not because He loves to have things 'just so', but because He is made that way. We know quite well that real progress, real fruitfulness and real achievement demand order. If we come into a place that is all upside down, disturbed, with everything all over the place, we know that we have got a job on hand, and we begin by saying: 'Well, we cannot do anything until we have got this straightened out.' That is God: 'We cannot get on until we have got it straightened out! We shall never get anywhere until things are put straight.

But I do not want just to be piling a lot of data upon you. It is of very vital spiritual consequence that we get it into us that God is particular, and He is not going to overlook anything, or by-pass anything. He will have it so, or He will not have all that He desires. He will be patient; He will work, He will wait, He will do a lot to get it so; He may take years to get it so, but that will be our loss. If He could have it His way, He would get on with His job forthwith by having things according to His order. Frustration, delay, unfruitfulness, are always due to this absence of God's way of doing things, or of His object in doing things, or of what He wants done, or of the way in which He wants it done. Let us never deceive ourselves in false satisfaction because God gives some blessing!

That is perhaps enough by way of emphasizing the fact that God is the God of order. I have only opened a window to you through which you can see a universe.

We come to the next thing: the disruption and disorder. There is a sense in which the Bible throughout is occupied with the confronting of this long-drawn-out, obdurate, incorrigible disorder, and with the evil forces that are behind it. You meet it everywhere -- the dealing with interfering forces is found almost everywhere in the Bible. The Bible shows the source of this disruption and disorder. And we are all too aware of this disorder. Everywhere in this universe, in this creation, there is a disrupted order, a dis-order. There is a great schism everywhere. That is true, is it not? Well, taking it that you agree that it is so, the Bible shows us where it came from, the range of it, the entrance of it into this world, its development in this world, its nature and its effects, and its main cause.

This disorder, the Bible shows us, began in heaven. It was a rebellion against God; and we know how it entered into this world. The first result was that man himself became a divided creature, a centre of civil war in his own nature. Man is, by nature, no longer a unity. He is himself a clash of two worlds. The Psalmist prays: "Unite my heart" (Psalm 86:11). 'Unite my heart !' Our hearts are divided things. Man is a division, and he is himself a conflict. And when I speak of man, I am uniting the man and the woman, for with both of them this became true in themselves individually, and then, of course, it became true of them as two. The enemy sought to divide the husband and the wife -- and he did it. He struck right home to that marvellous oneness. You see, the Scripture goes out of its way to describe and emphasize the oneness: 'They shall be one flesh ... the twain shall be one flesh.' It has so much to say about that oneness of husband and wife, but this disruptive influence and power came in and divided them. It is a real lesson! From the husband and the wife it reached to the family, and it is not long before you find the family disrupted. Cain and Abel -- the one murdering the other, and destroying the family life. From the family, it reached out to embrace the whole race, and you know how the book of Genesis contains the story of racial disruption and confusion. This thing spread and it has become universal. The sprit of it is in the lower heavens: 'The spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience'; it is in the air: 'the prince of the power of the air'; you can breathe it and you can sense it in this world, the antagonism, hatred and malice, and much more like that. It has come right into the human life of the individual, and into human relationships, into the nearest two. It has come right into the family -- and what a problem family life is now! And what a key it is to so much more! -- until the race is shot through and through with this disrupting and dislocating spirit and power. Yes, it is here. We have seen where it came from, how it started, its range, its development, its nature and its effects -- to set every man's hand against his brother.

Its main cause. This is something that we must stay with for a moment. Do remember that the Bible always regards this matter as a rebellion, for it is the spirit of rebellion. The more we know of [104/105] our own natures under stress, under trial, under pressure, the more true we know this to be. Right in our constitution there is something that rebels, and would even rebel against God and His ways, would question His wisdom and His love. It is in us. And the seat of this rebellion is in man himself. He is a disrupted being, not only disrupted in his relationship with God, but disrupted in his own personality. Man is a divided creature in himself, for the spirit of rebellion came in. The word 'iniquity', which is such a characteristic word of the Old Testament, has its roots in this very idea of rebellion.

Now the real nature of this thing lies here -- and perhaps we can illustrate this best by looking at the physical body, because those who know something about this -- the laws of physical health and disease -- tell us that it as all a matter of the environment of the living cells. This is a quotation: "It is the cell environment that is responsible for whatever disease affects the human body, either in the immediate environment of the cells, the presence of a poison, or the absence of some essential ingredient." All these millions of living cells are environed by this lymph stream, which provides what is necessary for their life. This lymph stream is their environment. If some poison gets into that stream, or if something essential to their life is lacking, then the living cells fall into disease, and the body in its whole order is upset. And sickness is only disorder, is it not? Now, I have taken this illustration, for God has written His spiritual laws in all His creation, and, I think, preeminently in the human body.

You see, all this disorder, and resultant sickness, all the pain and agony due to this disruption, are because man left his environment. God is man's true environment. In Him there is no darkness at all, and no poison. In Him is all that we need for our life and for our health. But man left his environment. He took himself out of his environment in God, and took his life into his own hands, to say what he would do and not do, what he would have and not have. He became a law unto himself, rebelling against God as his law and his environment. What happened? He entered into an environment of poison and of fatal lack of what is necessary to his very life. Salvation -- which is the word for health -- is a return into God. Hence Christ emphasized the need to "Abide in Me".

Now start again with that thought. You see, this whole Bible is about bringing man back to God, bringing him into God, and restoring him to his environment. 'In Him we live and move and have our being' is the fundamental truth of the spiritual life. There is one thing I suggest to you, or hint at, which, if you grasp it, would be such a tremendous help to you. When the Lord says anything it may look on the face of it something very simple, and not at all profound and wonderful, but anything that comes from the Lord, though it be apparently very simple, contains all the vast knowledge and understanding that the Lord has, and not to take account of that 'simple' thing may bring you into a vast amount of trouble. When the Lord Jesus says: "Abide in Me" it sounds so simple and so ordinary, but it contains all this history, and this great principle and truth: 'If you get out of your environment you are exposed to all the poisons and all that creates spiritual disease. Abide in Me for your health's sake! for your life's sake! for the sake of everything! Abide in Me, and I in you!' Have you got that? You look again at any seemingly 'little' thing that the Lord says, and if you could see you would find that you have a universe of meaning in it.

Well, the main cause of all the disorder is getting out of your rightful sphere in God, and that is what happened at the beginning. The cure, as we shall see when we come to the redemptive work, is to get back into your place, into your cover, in God. Forsake your wandering, which is outside. Leave your independence, and come in.

Now, you see, this carries with it the whole matter of the absolute, undivided, unquestioned supremacy and sovereignty of God in and through Jesus Christ. Put that another way: the absolute surrender, yieldedness, unquestioning acceptance of the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ as Head. That is the way of life, the way of health, the way of fruitfulness, and the way of progress. And we know so well that frustration, limitation, arrest, barrenness are because there is still unyieldedness to Him in the life. Adam took things into his own hands and said: 'I will be the lord of my life', and we are like that by nature. And I am afraid we have not got so far away from it in grace. We meet one another, and what do we meet? We meet a man and a woman who have got a mind of their own, a will of their own, and a way of their own, and will never be taught by you, or told by you, what they should do. Unteachable, stubborn, mulish, knowing best!

Let me close with this: Pain, all pain, is because of disorder. Pain is nature shouting: 'There is something wrong!' It is true in the physical. You may kill pain. There are lots of things provided for killing pain, and I am afraid I am one who says 'Thank the Lord for that!' Nevertheless, no sensible person believes that the killing of pain is getting rid of the trouble. No, you may kill the [105/106] pain and silence the cry, but the trouble that is there may work itself out in your death. The killing of the pain does not mean that you heal the disorder.

The world is trying to silence this cry of pain, to numb this ache, to kill it, and go on as though there is nothing wrong; but it is there. What is true in the physical is true in the spiritual. Pain in our spiritual life, in our corporate life, is the cry that there is something wrong, there is disorder somewhere, and things are not as the Lord intended them to be. There is a dislocation in the joints, there is a fracture in the fellowship and there is a disease of sin in the Body. We cannot just take something to numb the pain, silence the cry, and go on as though it were all right. No, the thing will work itself out. We have got to stop and say: 'What is it? Where is the disorder? Where are things wrong? What is it that is against God's Mind?' Until we can get our hand upon that, there is no hope for clearing up the situation at all. That is the need. Remember that the Bible says that the end of the age will see disorder -- rebellion -- come to the full.

(To be continued)



"Now when Jesus came into the parts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Who do men say that the Son of man is? And they said, Some say John the Baptist; some, Elijah: and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But who say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou Simon Bar-Jonah: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I also say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:13-18).

"Therefore I say onto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken away from yow and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof" (Matthew 21:43).


WE have been saying very much about the Kingdom of God, and have remarked more than once that the Gospel by Matthew is peculiarly the Gospel of the Kingdom. Now here, right in the middle of this Gospel which is all about the Kingdom, suddenly and without any explanation or introduction the Church is mentioned, and it is mentioned as though everybody understood what it meant. Jesus does not say: 'Now I am going to speak about something else. I have been speaking about the Kingdom, but now I am going to speak about the Church, and then I shall have some more things to say about the Kingdom.' There is nothing like that. It is taken for granted that these people understood what He meant by the Church, and, indeed, it was no new idea to them. It may surprise some of you when I say that the Jews knew about the Church. In that long and very interesting discourse of Stephen's which ended in his being stoned to death, Stephen said that God was "in the church in the wilderness" (Acts 7:38).

The point is: is it the same thing here or is there a difference? Of course there is something new here, because Jesus says: "I will build My Church", so that whatever the other church was, the one that He was going to build was something other. Indeed, He had come to constitute a new Israel.

I have often been asked the question: 'What is the difference between the Kingdom and the Church?' I am not going to enter upon that subject now, that is, I am not going to discuss the technical points in the matter. If there is a difference -- and I believe there is -- it will come out in what we are going to say.


What is the purpose of our having conferences? We will answer that by asking some other questions.

Firstly, why is the New Testament so very much occupied with ministry to Christians? Of course, [106/107] you recognize that that is a fact. By far the greater part of the New Testament is concerned with Christians.

Another question of the same kind: Why were Peter and John and Paul so intensely concerned about Christians? Indeed, they were deeply and strongly concerned about Christians. Paul at one time says that we should be 'anxious for nothing', but another time, included in all his difficulties and troubles, is 'anxiety for all the churches'. These men had a real anxiety and concern for Christians. Paul said about the Christians in Galatia: "Of whom I am again in travail" (Galatians 4:19). If you can answer this question you can answer my first one: Why is it that for many years we have had conferences?

The answer is found in the two passages of Scripture which we read. In both of those Scriptures we have a transition. In the first it is a very beautiful transition; in the second it is a very tragic one. Let us take the second first.

"Therefore I say unto you" -- and this is to the Jews of His time -- "The kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof."

That is a tragic transition -- the taking of the Kingdom of God away from a nation and giving it to another. We will come to the first transition in a minute, but let us say without any further delay that the Church is the concentration of the truths of the Kingdom of God. You may not quite understand what I mean by that, but the Church contains the concentration of all the truths of the Kingdom.

Now we will look at this second transition. The old Israel had all the oracles of God. We can say that they had all the truth, for they had all that came through Moses, all that came through the Prophets, and they had the full content of the Old Testament, which was the content of the Kingdom of God in the old dispensation. They had all the teaching and all the truth, all the law, the Psalms and the Prophets, but they did not bring forth the fruits thereof, and there is a very big difference between having the truth and bringing forth the fruit of the truth. There is a very great difference between having the knowledge of the Kingdom and having the fruit of the Kingdom. You know that the New Testament is always aware of a great peril in the history of God's people, for three times the dying of the first Israelite nation in the wilderness is used as a warning to Christians. That nation had had all the signs in Egypt, and all the testimony of the Passover Lamb and the precious blood, and all the experience of being brought out of Egypt and through the Red Sea by the very power of God. They had had all the supernatural provision of God in the wilderness, but that generation perished in the wilderness. It did not make the great transition, and I say that that is used three times in the New Testament as a warning to Christians. Then the last book of the New Testament sees the Christian Church in a state of decline, and the Lord Jesus appearing to the Apostle John with strong warnings about this decline.

So the New Testament contains this warning, this fear, for Christians, and it is because there is something so much more for them and that they might miss it. That is the answer to the question: Why conferences?


Let me say to the most experienced and mature Christians here, even to those who are the leaders, the teachers and the preachers to God's people: be careful that you never come to the place where it is not possible for God to do a bigger thing in your life than He has ever done before. You may have a lot of experience and a lot of history. You may have been a Christian for many years and have done a lot of Christian work and preaching, but we never reach a point where it is not possible for God to do something that He has never done before.

Now we have been giving a great deal of teaching. Do you think that that is all that we came here to do? Is that what you came here to get? Did you come here only to get your notebooks full of notes of teaching? Well, that is not my idea about the conference. We are here for a crisis. The idea of these conferences is that there should be crises in lives, and the teaching is only intended to bring us to such crises.

I do not present myself as an example, but so far as I am concerned, conferences sprang out of a crisis. I did not say over thirty years ago 'Now it will be nice to have some conferences in which we will give the Christians a lot of teaching.' God had brought about a tremendous crisis in my life. I had been minister of churches for years. I had organized a tremendous amount of Christian work. Oh, yes, I was a very busy minister! And I was a Bible teacher. I was a member of a Bible Teachers' Association; -- and then God brought about a crisis, such a tremendous crisis in my ministerial life that all the past was as nothing. From that crisis everything was changed. There was a new ministry because of a new life. I have always called that my 'opened heaven'.

Now I am not saying that I am your example, but [107/108] I am getting to grips with this principle. I doubt whether there is anyone here who is more fully occupied than I was before that crisis, but I repeat, when God did that new thing in my life the past was as nothing.

Now our concern and our purpose in having conferences is that Christians can say: 'God has done a new thing.' We know of a brother in Scandinavia whom the Lord had used quite a lot. He came to a conference and God met him in such a way that he says today: 'At that time, and in that conference God gave me a new Bible and an altogether new vision.' For years since that time God has been using him as He never used him before.

What I am saying is that there is a transition which has to be made. I will begin at the beginning, where the transition really begins, and it is in this matter of gathering the fruits of the Kingdom into the Church, that is, the Church becoming the embodiment of the fruits of the Kingdom.


The first thing about the Kingdom of God, whether it is in the Old Testament or in the New Testament, is this The Kingdom of God is always selective and distinctive. The rule of God came down into the nations and took hold of one nation, selecting it from among the nations.

The first law of the Kingdom of God is separation. You have only to look at the history of Israel to see that. God said to Israel: 'You are a separate nation and are different from all the other peoples in the world.' That Israel lost its distinctiveness, for they intermarried with other peoples. You read the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. What a terrible business it was to separate the Lord's people from the ones they had married! They lost their distinctiveness of life and vocation, and the distinctiveness of their testimony in the world. They lost the fruits of the Kingdom of God. They had all the tradition, all the teaching and all the oracles, but they lost all the fruits thereof.

So the first fruit of the Kingdom of God which has to be recovered is an absolute distinctiveness of life and testimony. Christianity is in a terrible position today. There are those who are saying that the day of Christianity is over and it is no longer a force to be reckoned with. Of course, that is an extreme view, but there is a great deal of truth in it. The impact of New Testament Christianity has been largely lost, and it can no longer be said: 'The men that turned the world upside down have come here.' The best circles of Christianity are troubled about their lack of power. What is the reason for this? The Church has got mixed up with the world. It is in captivity to the world. It is having to use all the world's means, ways and resources to carry on. It has not got enough of the real joy of the Lord to prevent it from going to the world for its pleasures.

Now you may think that I am out of date, but I do not believe that it is necessary to have worldly entertainments and all those things to carry on Christianity. I believe that it is possible to have the most living testimony and the most joyful life without any worldly entertainments. The loss of power is due to the loss of distinctiveness.


I want now to come back again to this very vital matter, and I want you to listen to this, especially my brethren in ministry. Earlier we said that the Kingdom of God is the Kingdom of light. That was the first great thing in my crisis. I must speak out of my experience to explain what I mean. I have told you that I was preaching a great deal and was a Bible teacher. Well, how was I doing it? I was a member of several theological libraries and I used to go and spend hours in them, studying all the authorities on the Bible. Sometimes I studied so hard and so long that I had to get up and go for a walk because my head was going round and round. I was having to find the straw to make the bricks, and it was hard work, but it was deadly work. It was all the work of my head, my reason -- 'flesh and blood' was revealing all that to me. And then the crisis came. What was the difference? It was no longer reason, but revelation. It was no longer just human brain work, but Holy Spirit inspiration. Yes, the Bible was a new book. Before, I could have given you a very good lecture on the Letter to the Ephesians, putting it all out on the blackboard, but when God made that transition I saw what I had never before seen in that book. My spirit was released and I had a new world. The transition was from reason to revelation, and it was a very wonderful transition.


Now we come back to the first passage of Scripture that we read. Peter, in a moment of inspiration, said: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." What did Jesus say? 'Oh, Simon, you are a blessed man! Flesh and blood did not reveal that [108/109] to you. You did not get that in the schools, nor by going to the theological libraries. You did not get that by your own brain effort. Flesh and blood did not reveal that to you, but my Father in heaven.' You can go through the New Testament and you will find that phrase 'Flesh and blood' again and again, and wherever you find it you will see that it is under a veto. It says: "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 15:50), and the first and second chapters of the first Corinthian letter are an enlargement of that fact. "The natural man" (which is only another word for flesh and blood) "receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God ... he cannot know them " (1 Corinthians 1:14). Flesh and blood cannot know the things of the Spirit of God, for they are only known by the spirit.

Here is a transition. Peter had been receiving all the teaching of Jesus and had seen His wonderful works. He knew all of that -- but it never saved him from denying his Lord! It never prevented him from being a contradiction to all the teaching, but later on, when Peter got his 'opened heaven', he was free from Peter. The great transition has been made. Now the teaching is alive. Before it was truth, words, but now it is alive. He has entered into the fruit of the Kingdom, and the fruit of the Kingdom is light. The old Israel went out in darkness. Jesus said to them: "The sons of the kingdom shall be cast forth into the outer darkness' (Matthew 8:12), and that is where they have been for nearly two thousand years -- in the outer darkness with "the weeping and gnashing of teeth". The Kingdom was taken from them and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof, and Peter says that it is the Church that is the holy nation, so that it is in the Church that the fruits of the Kingdom are to be found.


I must close, but just this last word. I said that this passage in Matthew 16 represents a great transition. It is the transition from all that is meant by flesh and blood, the transition from natural energy, natural wisdom, and all that is of ourselves, even in Christianity, to that which is in life and revelation. Do you want that? With all that you may have, do you not want more of that? After the transition in Peter's life he went on and on and on. We have it indicated that he had some more crises after that big one, but every new crisis brought him into more of the fruits of the Kingdom.

What are you going to do about it? Are you going to say: 'Lord! Lord! make it like that with me!'? Will you do that? Have you the courage to do that? Do you recognize that immediately after that episode in Matthew 16 Jesus began to tell His disciples that He must go up to Jerusalem and be delivered into the hands of wicked men, and that they would kill Him? Peter said: 'None of that, Lord. Oh, no, Lord, this shall never come to You.' Peter was at that moment in danger of shutting the door to an opened heaven, for the opened heaven lies by the way of the Cross. You will only have more of the fruits of the Kingdom as you have less of the fruits of self. In the Cross of the Lord Jesus Peter was emptied of Himself. He was a broken man, but that was the way to the heavenly fullness.

Will you say: 'Lord, make this all real!'?

(To be concluded)



Reading: Acts 16:6-13, 16-19, 23-26. Philippians 1:1-2.

WE are beginning a meditation in the Letter to the Philippians with its message as to how the Cross makes Christ our all, for that is what this Letter really does bring before us. Not any of us can preach from this Letter as the standard of our attainment, but we must be very quiet and humble as we speak of it. Indeed, our approach must be that of its writer: "Brethren, I count not myself to have attained, neither am I already perfect."

When the Apostle wrote the Letter to the Romans, he set himself to set forth a great and tremendous theological argument. When he wrote his first Letter to the Corinthians, he set himself to answer a lot of questions that had arisen, and to give his judgment on some very serious matters. When he wrote the Letter to the Galatians, he gave himself up to issuing a tremendous challenge [109/110] and to answering a challenge which had been issued. When he wrote his Letter to the Ephesians, he was pouring out a great revelation which had been growing and growing and growing until it had reached a great measure of fullness. But now, in writing this Letter to the Philippians, he is not doing any one of those things. He does not say: 'Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ', nor: 'I, Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ.' No official designation is used and no great treatise is in his mind, but he simply takes the position of a man -- with Timothy he says: "Bondsmen of Jesus Christ" -- and is about to open his heart as a man to men, as a Christian to Christians, as a lover of Christ to other lovers of Christ, and to share what is in his heart on common ground and on a common level with them.

"Brethren" -- he will say presently -- "Brethren, I count not myself to have attained, neither am I already perfect, but this one thing I do ...". You see, it is the appeal from his own spiritual life and aspiration. His position is just this: 'Brethren, this is what I have in view, what I am seeking after, and what I call upon you to join with me in seeking after!' That is the position of this Letter, and you and I must come to that position as we approach it, for here not one of us can give an address. We can only say: 'Brethren, this Letter is beyond us! All that is here is far beyond anything to which we have attained! We cannot preach at one another but here is the Lord's thought, and let us talk to one another about it with a view to encouraging one another if it may be that we, by any means, may also attain.' So that is our starting-point. May it be that the Lord leads us on from that to some increased measure of Himself!

We have said that the message which comes out of the Letter bears upon Christ as our all through the work of His Cross, and that arises in several particular connections. Each chapter of the four has a particular connection. We shall now just look at the first, which arises in chapter 1, verse 21:


'For me to live is Christ.' Then that means that Christ is our very life, the very motive of our life, of our being. Asked what life means, the Apostle would say: 'Just Christ!' 'What does life mean to you, Paul?' 'Christ!' 'What is your outlook, Paul?' 'Christ!' 'What are you working for, Paul?' 'Christ!' 'What is your hope?' 'It is Christ!' 'Have you nothing else, nothing else at all in this world for all your days?' 'No, nothing else. Christ, just Christ; that is all! For me to live, for me to live is Christ!'

I trunk we have already established what we said a minute or two ago: this Letter is beyond us! I think that if we were put to the test on that in a number of different connections, interests, associations and objects on this earth, we should be weighed in the balances and found wanting. Well, we will not press it. It would be too painful and we should all be ashamed. But, again, it is an object and an aspiration that it should be like that.

Before we go further, let us just look over this chapter and see what place Christ has here:

Verse 1: "Bondsmen of Christ Jesus."

  2: "Peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

  6: "Until the day of Jesus Christ."

  8: "The tender mercies of Christ Jesus."

11: "The fruits of righteousness ... through Christ Jesus."

13: "My bonds ... in Christ."

15: "Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife."

18: "What then? only that in every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and therein I rejoice, yea, and will rejoice."

19: "The supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ."

20: "As always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether by life, or by death."

21: "To me to live is Christ."

23: "... to depart and be with Christ; for it is very far better."

26: "Your glorying may abound in Christ Jesus."

27: "Worthy of the gospel of Christ."

29: "To you it hath been granted in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer in his behalf."

It is Christ everywhere, Christ in every direction, in every connection; it is all Christ.


Now then, we have to see how the Cross had brought Paul to the place where Christ was his very life, and how it had wrought in him to bring him to that place. We have read from the account of how this church at Philippi came into being, and we picked up the story at the point where Paul and his companions were moving prayerfully, and in [110/111] the Spirit, forward in their great ministry. They reached one point and essayed to move on in a certain direction, but they were not suffered of the Holy Spirit to go and preach in that direction, and, finding that way closed, they sought to move in another direction, and again the Spirit of Jesus suffered them not; and so they stayed still. For the night at least they stayed where they were and prayed, I suppose, and during that night a vision came to Paul. You notice that he saw the vision and they came to the conclusion. The man of Macedonia stood and appealed, saying: 'Come over into Macedonia and help us!', and they concluded that the Lord had called them to preach the Gospel there. So they went by a straight course into Macedonia, into Europe for the first time, and came to Philippi. That all seems fairly straightforward. They went down on the Sabbath Day by the riverside, supposing that they would find a place for prayer. I expect that they were looking in all directions for the man of Macedonia. You know what they found -- a woman, not of Macedonia at all, but from Asia, where they had been forbidden to go and preach the Word! Contradiction number one! And then a girl possessed of an evil spirit bothered, worried, annoyed and vexed them; not much hope of things in that direction! Contradiction number two! And then the immediate issue of Paul's act -- they were thrown into the inner prison and their feet made fast in the stocks! Contradiction number three! Where is this man of Macedonia? Where is this open door for preaching the Gospel?

Now I venture to say that you and I might just have sat down and said: 'This is a terrible case of mistaken guidance. It is all a mistake! I was quite sure that the Lord gave me that vision, that the Lord was in that matter of our coming this way, but everything now argues to the contrary! Now, seeking to do what I believed to be the Lord's will, this is where I get landed. I was trying to follow the Spirit's leading, and checking up as I went, and this is what obedience to the Lord results in!' Something like that would go on inside, at any rate, for the devil would see to it. The situation, the appearances, the apparent contradictions, on the one hand, and then bleeding sores and a dark dungeon. These are things which are calculated to raise very serious questions about your Divine guidance and being in the will of God. At any rate, they provide good ground for the enemy to encamp upon. Well, I have no doubt that it was a very real and severe test of faith for Paul and Silas as to their guidance.

How did they survive? How did they get on top if this situation? For undoubtedly they were on top of it. At midnight they prayed and sang hymns. Again, I have to pause and say that this Letter is beyond us, and this whole matter finds us wanting. I think the answer, at least, a part of it, to the question of their triumph in such a situation is this: that the Cross had done a work deep enough to rule out all personal interests, and personal interests were so thoroughly ruled out that the Holy Spirit Himself had a clear way to bring up their spirits in triumph in spite of darkness in circumstances and darkness in spiritual appearances. The Holy Spirit was able to do this. You notice what Paul says in this first chapter -- and it does seem to me that there is much in this Philippian Letter which is an echo of the Philippian experiences years before -- "For I know that this shall turn out to my salvation, through your supplication and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ." 'The supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.' Do you not think that that explains it?

We do not want to be too analytical or introspective, but it will not do us any harm to take account of our own disposition. If we are quite honest with our own hearts, is it not true that a very large measure of our darkness under trial, our failure, our breakdown, our going to pieces, our loss of position spiritually, is because we are disappointed, and our disappointment lies very largely in the direction of something upon which our hearts were set, something of personal interest even in the Lord's work; our ministry, the work -- meaning, of course, the Lord's work and things for the Lord. We would not call it our ambition -- perhaps we have never used the word 'ambition' -- but may there not be an element of that lying behind our vision, something, even though it were for the Lord, which we had hoped would be blessed and prospered, and the Lord would give good success? The whole thing is brought, like David's enterprise with the ark on the new cart, to a sudden hold-up and everything seems to go to pieces, and we go to pieces; then, when the truth is really known, we discover that there were really personal interests in it.

It does seem to me that in Paul's case the great factor in his triumph continually -- for he was a triumphant man -- in the midst of terrible adversities and trials and difficulties and sufferings all the way through the years was his utter disinterestedness; that with him there was no personal interest at all. It was Christ. The Cross had smitten everything personal, and this Letter to the Philippians is full of that. Take this fragment, for instance: [111/112] "Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife, and some also of good will: the one do it of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel; but the other proclaim Christ of faction, not sincerely, thinking to raise up affliction for me in my bonds" (verses 15-17).

How mean, how contemptible, how wicked to preach Christ with a motive like that! To preach Christ in such a way as to afflict one of Christ's servants! What does Paul say? 'Contemptible wretches! The Lord bring His judgments to bear upon them!'? Not at all! 'Oh, what does it matter how they preach Christ? Christ is preached, and that is all that matters. Therein I rejoice and will rejoice!' I tell you that it wants a crucified man to say that! A man is in prison in bonds; other men are trying to hit him when he is down and are using the very Gospel or the preaching of the Gospel -- their manner of preaching the Gospel -- to that end. Then this man says: 'That is all right. I will simply stand all that and thank the Lord that, however they preach, so long as Christ is preached, that is all that matters!' I say that it is a crucified man who can say that, a man who has no personal feelings or interests.

You know what he says a little later in the Letter about all the things that were gain to him. 'I was this, and I was that, and I was the other. I had this and I had that, and I was in a position. Yes, but these things which were gain to me I counted loss for Christ' -- "Yea, verily, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and to count them as refuse, that I may gain Christ, and be found in him" (chapter 3:4-8). You see, the Cross has dealt with name, reputation, position, advantages and everything that was personal. This man has come to the tremendous vantage ground of perfect disinterestedness and selflessness, and it is the working out of the principle that the Holy Spirit follows the way of the Cross.


That is true right through the Word. The Cross leads the way of the Spirit: the Spirit follows the way of the Cross. We sing:

"Enlarge our soul's capacity,

Cut deeper channels, Lord.

Room for the floods of blessing new,

According to Thy Word."

'Cut deeper channels' -- the Cross cutting the way for the supply of the Spirit. Here is the message, if we said no more. Paul was a man who was crucified to self. The Cross had wrought that in him, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus did the rest. Oh, I cannot preach at you! I can only say to you: 'Brethren, will not the Holy Spirit spontaneously take the course which the Cross has opened up? Will not the Spirit of Jesus come in and lift us up, even in our sufferings and our sorrows, when we have got rid of that horrible, hateful, obstructive self-interest, self-pity, self-consideration, self-realization and self-strength?' I am sure our hearts must be smitten by this word if it is true. If you and I -- and this is the sum of the whole Letter -- can really come, by the grace of God, to the place where the Cross has wrought in us so that we are delivered from all self-interest, on its weak side and on its strong side, the Spirit of Jesus Christ will make a difference in our case in the time of adversity which will turn the midnight into midday, darkness into light, and make us sing in a dungeon. At least it is worth thinking about! In Paul's case the Cross had resolved everything into a matter of Christ.

Now, perhaps some of you have gone beyond me, and even yet there lurks somewhere in your mind this question: 'Yes, but those who are most utter for the Lord, most out-and-out and most thoroughgoing for the Lord, are very often the ones who have the greatest reason to wonder whether the Lord is for them.' And yet when that question arises -- and I must press this again -- there is a tremendous deliverance from the sting of that sort of thing when you know, and the Lord knows, that you have no other concern but for His glory. I think the sting of discouragement, disappointment, despair and doubt is very often found just in the tail of some self-interest which means disappointment, personal disappointment as well as disappointment for the Lord. Well, what I see here in Paul's case is that, with the destruction of these self-elements, he came to a position which was a very strong one. This position -- "For me to live is Christ" -- in his case was a very strong position in the hour of deepest difficulty and trial. "I know that this shall turn to my salvation." "Now I would have you know that the things which have happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the progress of the gospel." That is a strong position!


What is the strength of it? It is this: that the sovereignty of God is behind it. If you and I can [112/113] come to the place where this is true in our case -- "For me to live is Christ" -- where the Lord Himself knows that it is true and not just something said by us, then I believe it is a position which has the sovereignty of God behind it. See them at Philippi again! They were there for the Lord, and for the Lord only, without any kind of interest at all apart from His interests. Well, the situation which arose was a very difficult and perplexing one, apparently full of contradictions, but look at the sovereignty of God behind it!

How strategic it was, to begin with, in that it was an open door into Europe! And what an assembly came into being!

"I thank my God upon all my remembrance of you, always in every supplication of mine on behalf of you all making my supplication with joy, for your fellowship in furtherance of the gospel from the first day until now" (1:3-5).

What an assembly! And what a sovereign act to make the first members of that assembly the very gaoler and his family! Where Lydia came in I do not know. She was evidently a commercial traveller, and you know that that meant great possibilities for the Gospel, for she linked up Asia and Europe. It is all very strategic and wonderful, and God is behind this whole thing -- and yet what a complication! If you sit down with the thing at the outset and take the situation which immediately arises, you say: 'Well, this is a mess! This is a mistake. You have made a blunder this time! And you give it all up and lose your confidence in God. Well, Satan knew better than that: and these men who had not any personal interests did not go down under despair. They proved the sovereignty of God. And Paul in another prison years afterwards in Rome wrote this Letter and just touched on the same thing -- that the sovereignty of God was behind a crucified life: "I would have you know that the things which have happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the progress of the gospel." "I know that this shall turn to my salvation." The sovereignty of God! It is a strong position, but we cannot be sure of sovereignty unless we are well crucified. If there is any sovereignty of 'I' or self, the sovereignty of God is set aside.


And then it was a very emancipated position. How unfettered Paul was by human judgments! It did not matter a scrap to him what people thought or said or did. He was a free man all the time, whether he was in prison or out. Why? Simply for this. If you and I know that we are not out for something here, that our hearts are really for the Lord and the Lord only, it is a wonderfully emancipated position to be in. What does it matter? Let these men preach in the manner in which they mean to bring harm upon us, preach against us, and even use the Gospel as an instrument against us! What does it matter? We are emancipated; we are on top of that! All are emancipated who are delivered from self. If we know that there is no question about our utterness for the Lord, we are not worried very much about things said and things done.


And I see, too, what a joyous position it was, and I say: 'I see it.' I am not telling you that I have got it, but I see it. Someone has said that the Letter to the Philippians can be summed up in a very brief sentence. It is this: "I rejoice! You rejoice!" And that is the Letter -- "I rejoice and you rejoice!" It is full of joy right through -- joy in the Lord. And what is the secret of joy? If you ask what the secret of misery is I can tell you very quickly: to be occupied with yourself. The secret of joy is to be occupied with the Lord.

May the Lord lead us into Paul's secret: the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ by the Cross!

(To be continued)


The mark of a life governed by the Holy Spirit is that such a life is continually and ever more and more occupied with Christ, that Christ is becoming greater and greater, more wonderful as time goes on. The effect of the Holy Spirit's work in us is to bring us to the shore of a mighty ocean which reaches far, far beyond our range, and concerning which we feel: oh, the depths, the fulnesses, of the riches of Christ! If we live as long as ever man lived, we shall still be only on the fringe of this vast fulness that Christ is. That at once becomes a challenge to us before we go any further. These are not just words. This is not just rhetoric; this is truth. Let us ask our hearts at once: Is this true in our case? Is this the [113/114] kind of life that we know? Are we coming to despair on this matter? That is to say, that we are glimpsing so much as signified by Christ that we know we are beaten, that we are out of this, and will never range all this. It is beyond us, far beyond us, and yet we are drawn on and ever on. Is that true in your experience? That is the mark of a life governed by the Holy Spirit. Christ becomes greater and greater as we go on. If that is true, well, that is the way of life.


We acknowledge with gratitude the following gifts received during June and up to the 19th July, 1968:

Aberdare £2; Abertillery £1; Balallan £1; Bargoed £1 15s. 6d.; Bombay, India 10s.; Brighton 10s. Bristol £1 1s.; Bromley £1, £6, £6; Burnley 5s.; Calgary, Alberta £4 12s. 6d.; Chelmsford 10s.; Doha, Qatar £4; Dudley £1 1s.; Edinburgh £10, £1; Galt, Ontario £1 3s. 1d.; Gateshead £5; Glasgow £25, £1 11s.; Harskirchen, France £1; Hastings £2, £5; Isleworth 5s.; Leominster £3; London E.12 £1; N.19 £1; S.E.22 10s.; S.E.23 £5, £5, £2, 10s.; S.E.26 £1; Loughton £2; Meols 10s.; Montreal, P.Q. £1; Nairobi, Kenya 17s. 3d.; Portchester £1 0s. 4d.; Sibu, Sarawak £2; South Shields £1; Strasbourg, France £25; Surat, India 10s.; Treorchy 7s. 6d.; West Wickham 8s. 3d. Total: £136 17s. 5d.

Birmingham, Ala. $10, $10; Bowling Green, Ky. $10; Covina, Calif. $10; Ephrata, Washington $3; Hollis, N.Y. $10; Ozone Park, N.Y. $50; Richmond, Va. $10, $1; Silver Spring, Maryland $5; Syracuse, N.Y. $5; Tulare, Calif. $5; Wappingers Falls, N.Y. $2. Total: $131.00.

Montreal, P.Q. C$50.00.


IN TOUCH WITH THE THRONE (Some Considerations on the Prayer-Life): We are glad to announce that his book, on such a vitally important subject, has now been revised and reprinted. In days such as these it is surely most necessary for the Lord's people to be strong in prayer. This book deals with the value, the basis, the difficulties and the method of acceptable prayer and its place in the spiritual warfare.

Price: 3s. 6d. (postage 6d.). $0.75 (postage 5 cents).

CHRIST IN HEAVEN AND CHRIST WITHIN: This booklet, which has been out of print for some considerable time, is again available, price 6d. ($0.10) per copy, plus postage.

"I WILL OVERTURN": An important message for today, printed for the first time in booklet form, price 6d. ($0.10) per copy, plus postage.

THE MOTTO CARD FOR 1969: The wording of the new motto card will be:

"The God of hope"

"The God of peace"

"The God of grace"

"God which raiseth the dead"

"Shall himself ... strengthen you"

Large size -- 8d. each (7/- per dozen)

Postage and packing -- on one card: 6d.; up to a dozen cards: 1/2

Small size -- 4d. each (3/6 per dozen)

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.

It is hoped that the above-mentioned book and booklets will be ready during September, and that the Motto Cards will be available by the end of September or early in October. Orders for the books and the cards may be placed immediately and will be despatched as soon as available. [114/115]


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) (Cloth boards) 4/6 ($0.96)
  (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)
   THE CROSS   3/- ($0.64)
   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)
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)
4d ($0.07)
2d ($0.04)
THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA 2d each ($0.04)
  or 1/6 per dozen ($0.32)
CHRIST OUR LIFE 2d each ($0.04)
  or 1/6 per dozen ($0.32)
1d ($0.02)
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)
Published by SURE FOUNDATION (U.S.A.)    
By DeVern Fromke    



The six issues of the magazine, bound together, to form a volume with light blue art paper cover, are available for the following years: 1956 to 1961, 1964 to 1967. Price per volume (1 year): 5/- ($0.70).

Certain back issues of the paper are also available and will be sent to those who desire them at cost of postage only. Please indicate the date of the issue(s) required.

POSTAGE AND PACKING: For postage and packing please add the following to the total amount of the books ordered:
Orders totalling less than £1 -- please add 2d in the shilling.
Orders totalling more than £1 -- please add 2/6 in the £.
To the U.S.A.: Please add 10 cents in the dollar.

Orders for literature and requests for "A Witness and A Testimony" should be addressed to:
30 Dunoon Road, London, S.E.23, England.
Telephone: 01-699 5216

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.


Printed in Great Britain by Billing and Sons Limited, Guildford and London [116/ibc]

[Inside back cover]


(translated from English)

By T. Austin-Sparks [By T. Austin-Sparks (continued)]
L'Alpha et l'Oméga Questions Fondamentales de la Vie Chrétienne
Béthanie Le Service de Dieu
Ce que Signifie Etre un Chrétien Son Grand Amour
Le Chandelier Tout en Or Un Témoin et un Témoignage
Les Choses de l'Esprit La Vocation Céleste
Christ notre Vie  
Christ -- tout, et en tous By H. Foster
Le Dieu de l'Amen L'Eglise que Dieu demande Aujourd'hui
L'Ecole de Christ La Prière de l'Eglise et l'Accroissement
En Contact avec le Trône   Spirituel
Il faut qu'll Règne La Réalité de la Maison de Dieu
Un Jeu de Patience  
La Loi de l'Esprit de Vie en Jésus-Christ By Watchman Nee
La Maison Spirituelle de Dieu Etre Assis, Marcher, Tenir Ferme
La Place Centrale et la Suprématie du Qu'en sera-t-il de cet Homme?
  Seigneur Jésus-Christ La Vie Chrétienne Normale
Quelques Principes de la Maison de Dieu  
Qu'est-ce que l'Homme? Anon.
Qu'est-ce qu'un Chrétien? L'Histoire du Bambou

The above literature in French can be obtained from: Mr. J. C. Lienhard, 12 rue des Peupliers, 92 Bois-Colombes, France. Telephone: 242 93-32.

[Back cover is blank]

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