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

"The Testimony of Jesus"
Revelation 1:9

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March -- April, 1969 Vol. 47, No. 2



WE are very grateful for the response that we have received to our 'Earnest Appeal' in the last issue. It was only meant as an effort to keep the Paper to a circulation that is really meeting need, but the response has been more than just a 'Yes' or 'No'. Thank you!

It was our hope that, with this issue of the paper, we might be in a position to give something fuller and more decisive regarding the matter of our premises. All that we can do as we go to press is to say that our deadline for evacuation is the 28th of February. We have nothing to inform you as to a new location. If this is known before the final runoff of the paper, we will insert a slip. Failing that, all correspondence can continue to be addressed as hitherto, and if we have moved mail will either be forwarded or collected. You will continue to pray with us over this matter.

We are much burdened for the many hungry and scattered sheep. There is an immense activity and movement in the realm of evangelistic effort on behalf of the unsaved, and we are one with such concern. It has been one of the criticisms against us that we have no such concern. This is utterly untrue, but there is a great need that the saved shall be instructed and fed. This is evidenced by the fact that so much of the New Testament is occupied with the concern for believers and the "Building up of the Body of Christ". It is to that ministry that we feel that this little instrument has been called, and, while we feel our terrible inadequacy to touch even the fringe of the need, we are seeking to be faithful to this trust. If you really feel that your own need is ministered to by this channel, will you not ask the Lord to put the burden of the hungry multitude upon your heart, and seek to share the "Bread" with those whom you know share your hunger? The time is short; the world is becoming impossibly confused. The god of this world continues his great strategy of "blinding" and keeping in the dark. The cry is imperative for eye-opening ministry.

The first sermon that I ever preached as a young man was on Acts 26:17b-18, and I feel that burden more than ever now. You ask the Lord to raise up men who have seen, and have that commission and anointing.

Warmest greetings, T. Austin-Sparks.

P.S. -- I have very urgent appeals for ministry this year in U.S.A. and on the continent of Europe. Please pray! [25/26]



WE have said that the whole of the New Testament is occupied with one thing in three parts -- the mission, the meaning and the message of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and that every one of the twenty-seven parts of the New Testament contains some particular aspect of those three things. We went on to see how that is true in the Gospel by Matthew, and now we are going to see this in the Gospel by Mark.

Now I am going to ask you to look at quite a number of passages:

"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" (Mark 1:1).

Those are the first words in this Gospel. Now we turn to the last words, in chapter 16:20:

"And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by the signs that followed."

"And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John whose surname was Mark" (Acts 12:12).

"And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministration, taking with them John whose surname was Mark" (Acts 12:25).

"And when they were at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John as their attendant" (Acts 13:5).

"Now Paul and his company set sail from Paphos, and came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departed from them and returned to Jerusalem" (Acts 13:13).

"And after some days Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us return now and visit the brethren in every city wherein we proclaimed the word of the Lord and see how they fare. And Barnabas was minded to take with them John also, who was called Mark" (Acts 15:37-38).

"Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is useful to me for ministering" (2 Timothy 4:11).

"She that is in Babylon, elect together with you saluteth you: and so doth Mark my son" (1 Peter 5:13).


Those passages give the life story of Mark and we hardly need to take time to ask: Who was Mark? His full name was John Mark, and he was a cousin of Barnabas (Colossians 4:10, R.V.). Now I want you to remember these details that I am giving you, for there is a significance bound up with very one of them. He was a cousin of Barnabas, and we shall have more to say about that presently. We know nothing about his father, but we do know that his mother owned the upper room in Jerusalem, and there was a lot of history bound up with that upper room! It was probably the room in which the Lord had the Last Supper before He died. John Mark knew all about that! He certainly knew all that happened in Jerusalem, at least during the last week of our Lord's life. There was a Christian man who lived in the first half of the second century, whose name was Papias, and he wrote this: "Mark, having become Peter's interpreter, wrote down accurately, though not in order, as many as he remembered of the things said or done by the Lord." There is a very great deal to be said about that, as we shall see in a minute.

At that point, then, we want to recognize a very important principle. If you forget everything else, remember this. We are speaking about the mission, the meaning and the message of Jesus Christ, and we must recognize that those three things were written in the lives of the Lord's servants. Mark did not only write the history: he was that history. The history of Jesus Christ was very largely written in the experience of Mark, and that is what we are going to see.

Let us recognize that when the Lord gets hold of our lives, He does not just make us talkers about Him, nor does He just make us writers of books about Him. He writes Himself in our experience and such are the only true teachers and preachers. I know that I say a very responsible thing when I say that, but it is essential that when we speak or write about the Lord Jesus people see Him behind our words. That is why the Lord Jesus makes spiritual history in our experience. When we come to this man, John Mark, we have to see the man behind his Gospel, and that is why we read all those passages about his history.


Let us begin by looking at the nature of his Gospel. Here we come upon a young man in a big [26/27] hurry! He is very eager to get things done. He has no time for chronology, and times and places do not matter very much with him. His whole disposition is: let us get on with the work! This young man has only three words in his vocabulary. You read the Gospel and you will find them: 'straightway! ' Have you noticed how often Mark uses that word? 'Straightway ... and straightway ...', and he goes on like that. The second word is 'immediately', and the third is 'forthwith'. Thirteen chapters begin with the word 'and'. You see, this young man is getting on with it.

John Mark does not give us any genealogy, nor introduction, but he begins at once: "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ". It is the shortest of all the Gospels, but he puts into a short space a very great deal of material. He gives us just enough facts for action, so much so, that scholars believe that Matthew and Luke built their Gospels on Mark. And you notice the last words in his Gospel: "They went forth, and preached". This young man is getting on with the work! His idea is to get things done as quickly as possible.

That is our foundation. Now we begin on the message, which comes out of several things. Firstly, his title: "they had John as their minister", or, in other words, "as their attendant". They had John Mark to assist them in the work; he was a servant to the ministry. Just remember that as we go on.


Then as to his history. The first thing that we have about John Mark's history is that he was put on trial. He was given an opportunity -- "Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem ... taking with them John whose surname was Mark". That provided this young man with a great opportunity. He was on probation. He had the opportunity of proving himself, and proving himself in difficulty.


Secondly, John Mark was a failure. He could not stand up to the situation, so he went home. That nice upper room in Jerusalem was much more comfortable than this life with the apostles! So Luke says that "John departed from them and returned to Jerusalem". John Mark a failure.

Do any of you here feel that you have been a failure? Well, the story does not finish there. We come to the third doing, which is


Why the failure? We have said that things were too difficult, but why were they too difficult? It would seem that John Mark's beginning in the work was without an adequate foundation. How did it come about that John Mark ever went with Barnabas and Paul? Do you notice the order in which I put the names? Barnabas and Paul! That order will be changed presently ... but did John Mark go on a basis of family interest? Dear old Uncle Barnabas! And dear old Uncle Barnabas did want to give his dear young cousin an opportunity and it was out of family sentimentality that he wanted Mark to go with them.

Do you think that I am reading something into this? It was this very personal relationship which resulted in the separation of Barnabas and Paul. John Mark went into the work on someone else's experience and not on his own. I do want you to get the picture right! We know that Barnabas was a very loving man. He had a large heart. You remember the story of Barnabas! Paul, on one occasion said: "Even Barnabas was carried away" (Galatians 2:13) -- 'You wouldn't think that Barnabas would ever be carried away!' And John Mark was captivated by this large-hearted, sentimental uncle. He was captivated by some strong, loving personality, and he was not captivated by Jesus Christ. His foundation was some man and not the Lord, and anything like that is bound to break down sooner or later. Do you remember what we said about Matthew? His message is the absolute foundation of Christianity, because it is the absolute lordship of Jesus Christ, and that was the weakness in the life of John Mark. Uncle Barnabas was lord! And the very best men are not good enough to go through this battle.

Well, the point is this: the absolute necessity for a personal experience of the lordship of Jesus Christ. It is a very dangerous thing to put a young man in responsibility if he has not got that experience! That is the ground of proving ourselves. Policy must never take the place of principle. Diplomacy says: 'Give the young man a chance', but principle says: 'Let only approved people be put into responsibility.'

Well, we see that Mark broke down on natural grounds, but he came to victory when he came under the mastery of the Lord Jesus. He could never have written this Gospel if that were not true. All his enthusiasm in this Gospel is to speak about the glory of the Lord Jesus, and nowhere do you find him speaking about what a wonderful uncle he had. It is always about what a wonderful Lord he had, and that meant a great change. We began with him as an attendant, and we end with him as a partner. He is not now just a busy servant, he is now a partner in the firm. He has passed from being [27/28] unprofitable to being "profitable" -- and that is the word that the great apostle Paul used about John Mark in the end: "Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry" (2 Timothy 4:11, A.V.). What a big change! Do you want just to be an attendant, or do you want to be a partner in the gospel? One who is just doing a lot of things, or one who is carrying heavy responsibility? Well, we are getting nearer to the message.


The next thing is the place which Mark's Gospel occupies, and this again is a very significant thing. You know that Mark's Gospel was the first Gospel to be written. It was written before Matthew, before Luke and before John. Why then was it not given the first place? This is not natural at all. Seeing that it was the first Gospel to be written, surely it ought to have the first place! But the Holy Spirit knew what He was doing. He never works on natural lines, but on spiritual lines, and that is a different order from man's way of doing things.

So Mark has second place, and, oh! here is the message! All service and activity must come out of authority and submission. Matthew first: the authority of Jesus Christ and His absolute lord ship. Mark second: all service comes out of submission to the Lord Jesus. All action must follow the mastery of Jesus Christ. What is the chief characteristic of a true servant of the Lord? It is meekness. That is true of the Lord Jesus. Do you remember John 13, when He laid aside His robe girded Himself with a towel, the symbol of the bond-slave, poured water into a basin, and then He -- the Lord of glory, through Whom and by Whom all things were created -- now divested of everything, was on His knees, washing the feet of sinful men! He was right when He said: "I am meek and lowly in heart" (Matthew 11:29)! Was there ever one who served the Lord more fully?

We have said that Mark was very closely connected with Peter in his writing, and I wonder if you remember the spiritual connection between these two? The Lord Jesus said something to Peter that he never forgot, and when he was about to be executed he said: "even as our Lord Jesus Christ signified unto me" (2 Peter 1:14). When and where did the Lord signify that to Peter? What was it that the Lord showed him? 'Simon, when you were young you girded yourself and went wheresoever you wanted to go. You took your life into your own hands and did as you liked. When you are old another will gird you and carry you where you would not go' (John 21:18). There you have the change between the old Simon and Peter in the end. We know that the whole history of Peter, when the Lard was here was of one who was wanting to have his own way all the time. Sometimes he would even tell the Lord that He was wrong! In other words he said: 'Lord, You are wrong in that! Lord, You don t know what You are saying!' This man must have a very deep history, for the government must be taken out of his hands and put into other hands. From being a dictator he must be a bond-slave, and we know the story of how that happened: "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan asked to have you, that he might sift you as wheat: but I made supplication for thee, that thy faith fail not: and do thou, when once thou hast turned again, stablish thy brethren" (Luke 22:31-32). True service comes out of submission.

So both Peter and Mark embody the principle of subjection to the lordship of Christ. I like that little fragment which we read in Peter's Letter. It is a very tender reference to John Mark: "She that is in Babylon ... saluteth you: and so doth Mark my son". There is a lot of history in that!

Well, now I am going to say a thing which is very difficult to say. You may not all understand it, but I will try to make it simple. It is always a very perilous thing to sublimate the soul. Now you do not understand that, but let me explain. It is possible to put soulish emotion in the place of spiritual feeling and soulish emotion is just sentimentality. It is that kind of emotion which people call love: 'Oh, my dear cousin John Mark, I do want you to come with me into the Lord's work! You know I love you very much, and I am quite sure that your dear mother in Jerusalem would like you to be a minister. Come along, Mark, and I will introduce you to Paul and get him to agree to your coming.' Of course, that is all very lovely, but it is not spirituality. That is false spirituality, what I have called the sublimation of the soul. It is mistaking the soul for the spirit, and in that there is no deep brokenness of soul. Do you see what I mean?

Well, what does all this have to do with the mission, the meaning and the message of Jesus Christ? John Mark has shown us in his Gospel how very active the Lord Jesus was, how tireless He was in doing the will of His Father. There were times when they had no opportunity even for taking their food. Mark says: 'Straightway ... immediately ... forthwith ... they went forth' and that is the story of Jesus. No, there is no laziness about the Lord Jesus! Paul's words were very fully fulfilled in His case: "Always abounding in the work of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 15:58). Jesus was wholly committed to the work of His Father, but -- and it is [28/29] a big 'but' -- there was no one on this earth ever who was more in subjection to the will of His Father. Two words sum up the work of the Lord Jesus: submission and dependence. He said: "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day" (John 9:4). Yes, that is true, but He never did one work without first asking His Father if He should do it. For everything that He did, and every place to which He went, He asked the Father's guidance. With us it all seems so necessary, and the situation is so needy, and the soul says: 'You ought to do it', but not with Jesus. Do you remember the three temptations in the wilderness? They all seemed so reasonable and necessary, but never did necessity or reason govern the Lord Jesus. He was joined to heaven by the anointing Spirit. Why should the Son of God need to pray? Because He was dependent upon His Father. For guidance, for what He should do, He always referred to the Father, and for strength to do it He had to live by the Father.

That principle was written in the history of John Mark. It did not mean that either the Lord Jesus or John Mark did less because they were dependent upon the Father. I think they did much more, and they did much better, and their work remains to this day because "whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever" (Ecclesiastes 3:14).

I wonder if you have got the message of John Mark? Let me say to my younger brothers: Be John Marks in the last situation. Be utterly committed to Jesus Christ, and He will make you a very useful partner in the Kingdom.

(To be continued)


[Harry Foster]

"Exhort servants to be in subjection to their own masters and to be well-pleasing to them in all things not gainsaying: not purloining but showing all good fidelity: that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. For the grace of God hath appeared bringing salvation to all men" (Titus 2:9-11).

"The word of the truth of the gospel which is come unto you even as it is also in all the world bearing fruit and increasing, as it doth in you also, since the day we heard and knew the grace of God in truth" (Colossians 1:5-6).

"He hath said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

"MY grace is sufficient for thee." For the Apostle that solved a very great problem in his life, and met a need in such a remarkable way that he was still in the good of it fourteen years afterwards. You notice that he does not say so. He is speaking as if the Lord were continually saying this word to him, as if it were a present experience. In a sense he does not speak of it in the past, as something finished and over and written in history, but it is that past experience which still comes right up to the present moment and stands good today. "He hath said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee."

Now the grace of God, I believe, is, so far as we are concerned, one of the biggest and most vital truths of Divine reality, and the real burden of what I wish to say to you in the Lord's Name is something after this fashion. The grace of God -- yes it does express that loving, kind, considerate, thoughtful sympathy of the Lord for us. For the sinner it means that, though God might be angry with him, He is not; that, though He has every reason for hating him, hurling him into the abyss, and feeling an implacable resentment toward him, He does not. His feelings toward the sinner are those of kindness, of desire, of sympathy, of compassion. If you are tempted to wonder whether you have ever known the Lord or not, or if you are tempted to feel that God is against you, those temptations are of the devil, though he may be masquerading as an angel of light. There is a sphere, a realm, into which, in God's infinite mercy, we have been brought, and that means that His attitude toward us is one of grace. In the general sense that may even be said of those who do not know God, for, today being the day of grace, God is not, in the first place, angry with men except as they harden their hearts and refuse His grace.

So, as we touch every realm of human need in our lives as Christians, we are again touching a realm where the grace of God becomes such a precious thing, and in the hour of trial and of deep tribulation, of testing or of perplexity, of loneliness, or whatever be the peculiar trouble and difficulty of any one child of God, it is still true that the Lord has that attitude and sympathy and comes near with His own blessed presence as a balm and a comfort. In that sense (and it is in that sense that [29/30] these words are usually applied), "My grace is sufficient for thee".


I have said all that because it is very true and very precious, but there is something more that I feel we need to know, for the grace of God is much more than that kindly, comforting, sympathetic love. It is the mighty power of God for the fulfilment of His will in our lives. I believe it is a need that may be found in many of us to know the Lord saying -- not just: 'I will comfort you, I will cheer you up; I will pity you, I will assure you of My love!', but: 'There is no need for the experience through which you are passing! There is no need for your failure, nor for those experiences of which you are ashamed and for which you are sorry, and which you feel need to be covered and hidden! All that sad story of failure is not necessary!' 'Well,' you begin to say, 'look at the circumstances in which I am! Look at those people with whom I have to do! Look at my upbringing and my handicap, my circumstances, myself!' The Lord knows them far better than you do! Nevertheless, He does not accept that any one of them, nor all of them together, are the real explanation of your failure, of your wandering, of your place of difficulty, or of your experience of defeat. None of these things is the true reason why you do not know the will of God being fulfilled in your life. What, then, is the reason? It is that you do not know the grace of God. You may object to that, but I say it again. You do not know the grace of God, and that is your difficulty.

The Apostle Paul, under the peculiarly acute trial which came upon him, was also in danger of failing and fainting, and to his cries to the Lord he received an answer, which was: "My grace is sufficient for thee!" The Lord did not mean: 'It is all right, Paul! You have this trial and this suffering, and it is all very bitter and very hard, but I will just comfort you and give you the grace to bear it quietly!' The Lord did not only mean that. He was saying: 'Paul, in spite of this thing, you will reach the goal. The heavenly vision will be realized. My grace is sufficient, not just to comfort you, but to get you through. Paul was feeling: 'This thing is like a great stake that holds me to the ground. It is driven in by the devil, and here I am down here when I would be up there. Now, if the Lord, in His sovereign power, would rebuke the devil and remove the stake, then I could get busy climbing up there!' But the Lord said: 'No, you do not get there that way. Let the devil drive in his stake that cripples you, handicaps you, and makes you, as you have never been before, aware of your own utter helplessness, but My answer is not to remove the handicap. My answer is that there is a spiritual power which I call My grace that will, in spite of everything, in spite of your own more conscious weakness, disability, inability, yet bring you to that heavenly goal. My grace is sufficient!' That was the Lord's word to the Apostle, and it is His word to us.


Is My grace sufficient for ministry? When the Apostle had that vision, it was not of himself with the Lord in glory. That is some people's idea of heaven, but it is not the Lord's idea, for it would not be very glorious to Him, and does not represent His purpose one little bit. No, the vision was of a great Company of redeemed souls brought right through to glory in spite of their own hopelessness, of the tremendous pull of the world, of the power of sin, of the antagonism of the devil, and of sin and shame on their side. Paul saw that vision and his heart was moved with a great desire to serve the Lord in that. He longed to pour out all that he had and all that he ever could be in order that that might be realized, not just in him, but that he might serve the Lord in bringing others there, and then, doubtless just when he was most full of hope as to the glory and blessedness of this ministry, and he left all for the Lord to do that, he was smitten down. Some of us know something of what that means: the bitter disappointment of not being able to fulfil our ministry. And that is how it came to Paul. From a human point of view he was out of the ministry and it was Satan's work. That was a very bitter thought to Paul, but the Lord came to him after his third appeal, when he was really desperate, and assured him that, far from being out of the ministry, he was now coming into it, and that this experience was a part of it. 'Paul, you shall fulfil a ministry with this suffering, this disability, such as you could never have fulfilled by any other way, but it will not be you. My grace is sufficient for you!'

I have said this in order that we may catch something of the thought of God's grace being a tremendous power, and a practical power, in the life.


When we turn to Titus, that is just exactly what Paul says. The Apostle, in writing to this younger brother, had gone to some length to set out the kind of life that the Lord's people should live, summing up the whole matter of our duty and life here in the [30/31] world in one beautiful phrase in which he speaks of our "adorning the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things". Then immediately he comes to the practical power that produces practical holiness, and what is it? "For the grace of God hath appeared." There is the secret of Christian conduct. We do not want to be neglectful of or indifferent to the whole matter of living here on earth lives that are a credit to the Lord and having nothing to be ashamed of before Him and before men, but what is the secret of that? It is the grace of God, and you will notice how the Apostle passes into one or two spheres in which the grace of God becomes a working, effective power.

First of all, "the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men", and I take it that this thought of salvation refers in the first instance to the inward life. The grace of God is sufficient for our inward life. It comes in the power of salvation for deliverance, and the sphere in which we need deliverance is inside, and not outside. Let us be quite sure about that. You would never dispute it in relation to anyone, man or woman, who does not know the Saviour. You know that, when you begin to speak to them of the Christian life, they will always say that in their circumstances, just where they are, it is not possible to live a Christian life. And the attitude of the natural man is always that it is the outward realm that needs changing, but we all know that it is not there. What we need is deliverance inwardly, and if we are free there, then we will be all right wherever we are.

Now, it is the grace of God which, appearing, brings salvation to all men. The Authorized Version says: "The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men", but that cannot be the meaning, for it is not true. Of course, the problem arises: Does the grace of God bring salvation to all men? Surely this is what it means: the grace of God has appeared and it is a grace which is capable of saving all men, of bringing salvation to every kind of man. There is none so weak or so handicapped that the grace of God is not sufficient for them, nor is there anyone so strong or so good that the grace of God is not their only sufficiency. It is for all men, and it does not matter where the word of the Lord finds you. There is only one solution to your problem, and that is the grace of God. There are so many realms in which we may need deliverance, but the grace of God comes bringing salvation. "The grace of God hath appeared", has been made manifest. The whole effort of the Spirit of God is to make us believe that this is something that God has in hand -- and that is so true of the whole Christian life. Your problem may be (and perhaps in this very thing you do not know the grace of God) that you have not yet realized how utterly and completely the whole matter of the Christian life is God's concern. It is His responsibility, and it is from His side. How do you know the grace of God? Well, God appears to you with it. You cannot say more than that!

This is what happened to Paul. It is true that he prayed three times, but he did not get deliverance by praying, and nothing was put on the credit side of his life for his helpfulness because he prayed three times. No, deliverance came to him when the Lord appeared. "He hath said unto me ...". Oh, when the Lord speaks to you, you know it! You see, this does not speak of a man wresting a promise from God. It speaks of the grace of God, unmerited, unexpected, and very often unasked. And it appears to all. Blessed be His Name!

It appeared supremely in the Person of His dear Son, who is the very embodiment of God's grace. Who was asking for Him to come? Who was expecting Him? There were very few who wanted Him, but He came, moved by His great Divine compassion and concern which we call the grace of God. The Lord Jesus Christ came, so that now, by His Spirit and through His word in the Gospel, the grace of God is manifested to us. It is not what we are doing, but God coming to our hearts and offering Himself in grace. You say: 'I wish the Lord would do that to me!' Have you ever seriously faced this fact: that the Lord is doing that to you? I think the matter becomes personal very often when we make it personal. "My grace is sufficient for thee!" Is that the Lord's word to you? Of course, if you heard it coming out of heaven you think you might believe that it was the Lord speaking to you. You would not know if this is the Lord speaking to you, because it does not come in some supernatural way. We do not know how it came to Paul, and we do not need to know. Many of us have known the Lord speaking His word to us just by reading it. It has come to us, not as the word of man, but as the Word of God, and we have known that it is the Lord speaking to us. Then we have doubted. Was it the Lord's Word? We have to say in faith: 'It is the Lord's word, and all the promises of God are Yea and Amen in Christ Jesus. The Lord is saying to me: "My grace is sufficient for thee." Well, then, I believe it and I stand on it!' That is so often how it happens -- it becomes a matter of faith.


"My grace is sufficient for thee." Now that is just [31/32] exactly the point where the faith wavers a bit, if it does not fail. We have no doubt in believing that the Lord's grace was sufficient for the Apostle Paul, for it is very easy to believe things about him. We may even have no doubt that the Lord's grace is sufficient for other people. Have you never, in another human life, seen things that were unbearable and would altogether have handicapped and made a walk with God impossible, and then have you not seen that person overcoming and walking with God? Of course, the devil will say to you: 'You are different!' But you are not. Why have they overcome? What have you been looking at when you have been looking at a true Christian's life? The value of being brought up in Sunday school and knowing Christian doctrines? No, thousands of people have had that and there is not a sign of the grace of God in them, so it is not that. Is it that you have been seeing people who are extraordinary people and have such a strength of ability that they can walk in the way of holiness and obedience to God? No!

But let us see other people's failures. Why? To encourage us to know that these are fallible people, capable of the most terrible collapse spiritually, and sometimes even morally. It is like that in the Word of God. What is God's purpose in doing that, and why does He allow some of us to be seen in our failures? Perhaps He is just pointing out a truth to some soul. Here is someone whom you thought was wonderful, but they are not so wonderful after all -- and yet there is something wonderful about them! They are failing men and women, but the grace of God in them causes them not to fail. However, if they move from the grace of God for one moment they are miserable failures -- and that is true of all of us!

So there is no real excuse for you. God's word is just as much for you as for any other -- "My grace is sufficient for thee." Would you dare to tell the Lord that His grace is not sufficient for you? Is it sufficient for you? Well, you have been failing -- but why have you been failing? The Apostle wrote to the Colossians of a day (and what a day!) "since ye knew the grace of God in truth". Wonderful things had been happening in these Colossian believers. They were growing, and increasing in holiness, and pressing toward the goal of glory, the goal which is set before us here. The goal of grace is the blessed appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and when you have the grace of God in your heart, you have that hope burning brightly. That is the goal -- the blessed hope of Christ's appearing in glory, and of our having our inheritance with Him in that same glory. That is the end, and that end is for you, presented to you by the Lord -- and yet you have been failing. Well, what is the matter? It is because you have not the experience that the Colossians had -- and what was their experience? It is very simple! They knew the grace of God in truth. That is how they began. There was a day, not when they resolved to be Christians, but when they said: 'Now we know the grace of God!' The Lord had spoken to them concerning their sin and their guilt and their need, and had said: 'My grace is sufficient to save you!' They said: 'Praise God, we believe it is -- we are sure it is!' And that was the beginning.

But every step of the way, every phase, every aspect, meant for them a new knowledge of the grace of God, a new speaking into their hearts by the Lord of His word: "My grace is sufficient for thee."

Now the Galatians moved from that ground. They did not give up being Christians. They tried to be Christians, and that was their trouble. The Apostle said to them: 'You have fallen from grace!' That does not mean that they had slipped into sin, though it does lead into sin. They tried to have their salvation by works and by their own efforts. Paul said: 'You have made Christ of none effect! You have fallen from grace!' And that is the explanation of a lot of trouble in Christian lives. It is not that we are not trying to be Christians, but that we are trying to be Christians, and we have been deceived into the thought that we can be. We fall from grace, and we fail.

The true path of the just, that path which is 'as a shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day', is just a simple walk of a continually increasing knowledge of the grace of God. It begins in its appearance for our salvation, whoever we are. It takes us through, whoever we are. It will take us through a life of learning, of being instructed, of being chastened, and of being trained in a way of holiness. It will take us through to that blessed hope, even the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us. That is the grace of God -- Christ giving Himself, and that is the grace of God at every aspect. He gave Himself for us that He might give Himself to us, giving Himself to us to purge us from all iniquity and to purify unto Himself a people for His own possession. That is the same thing as the glory: glory for us being with the Lord, and glory for Him that at long last, after the centuries upon centuries, He has a people who are His own peculiar treasure, precious above all else that He possesses -- the peculiar treasure of a redeemed people. If you seek, and if in eternity it be [32/33] sought, the secret that lies behind this people, the peculiar treasure precious to the Lord's own heart above all else -- for He said: "All the earth is Mine" -- it is just this: that they knew the grace of God in truth. The Lord said to them, kept on saying it, and the good of what He said remained "My grace is sufficient for thee." - H. F.



WHEN our Lord made the great pronouncement about His Church: "... I will build my Church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it", He intimated three things. One, that He would build a definite entity called His Church. Two, that that Church would encounter an opposing force in its full and final enmity. Three, that that power would be taken at its ultimate strength and be destroyed, that is, made incapable of prevailing against that Church. In this full statement there is a very definite indication of the fundamental nature of His true Church. We have been saying earlier that the Church is essentially a spiritual thing, and that spirituality is its basic principle. But can we be still clearer as to what we mean by spirituality? Yes, I think that we can, and that by using an alternative word, the word 'supernatural'.


The Church is the embodiment of true Christianity, and true Christianity is supernatural, or it is nothing! It is only when and where that is fully realized and accepted that the Church really exists and can be the power that it is intended to be.


First of all, Christianity and the Church (in truth, identical terms) came down from heaven, and have still unceasingly to be received and entered from there. This is the very foundational truth of Christ Himself and of the Church in every individual incorporated into it. The teaching of the New Testament everywhere is this. The origin and home of Christ was in heaven. John's Gospel and Paul's Letter to the Ephesians are a particular and emphatic argument for this one thing, and they comprehend the New Testament in this truth. In the former the repeated affirmation of Christ as to His heavenly origin is the basis of everything in the whole Gospel. It is a "verily, verily" -- 'most truly', and everything in the Gospel is intended to bear that out and be evidence of it.

But when that has been recognized, the Gospel, and the rest of the New Testament return from that to affirm equally that the Church embodies that truth and fact of Christ. John 3 will employ the identical language -- "verily, verily" -- in connection with any single individual entering the Church. That individual, no matter if he be the best specimen and representative of the Old Testament Israel (such as Nicodemus) just "cannot" enter along the horizontal line of this creation; he cannot enter by the door of nature, of tradition, of 'religion'; he "must be born from above". By this birth he is constituted a super-natural being in the innermost reality of his being: what Paul calls "a new creation".

Then correspondingly the Church is born from above on the Day of Pentecost. The difference between the same persons before and after that event, and the corporate nature of the new entity, are patent to all who have eyes to see. It is supernatural.


What was -- and is -- true of the origin and home of Christ and His Church is shown with overwhelming evidence to be true of their sustenance and survival. 'Bread from heaven' only means the sustaining, supporting power of heavenly resources. This is seen in two connections. One, in the law of utter dependence upon God and heaven; the very principle of the Incarnation -- "He emptied himself" (Philippians 2:7). Again, John's Gospel is a constant emphatic assertion of this. The double "verily, verily" is employed to affirm this -- (5:19): "Verily, verily, I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of (out from) himself", etc., etc. For every work, for every word, for every time, He declared that He was dependent upon His Father, upon heaven. It explains His lowly birth, His lowly upbringing, His later homelessness. It explains His being "despised and rejected of men". But was there ever a life and work so powerful as His?

The other connection is that of the Church. [33/34] When we consider the human material of the first nucleus, and mainly of its growth; when we take into account what it did not have of this world's goods and support; and when we think of all that was against it in every conceivable way, bent upon its annihilation; and then remark its more than survival as an entity, there is only one word for it -- supernatural! I confess that I have marvelled at the sustained and triumphant faith of a man like the Apostle Paul when I see him suffering as he did, and when I read his own catalogues of sufferings. The natural mind would say: 'This is not the support of heaven', but we have the verdict of many centuries, and it is the evidence and verdict of the supernatural.

Surely all this is contained in that further double "verily" of John vi, where -- with an allusion to Israel's life in the wilderness -- Jesus declares Himself to be the Bread of God from heaven. Indeed, so strong, meaningful, and imperative is His mind on this matter that in that chapter He uses the double "verily" four times. The wilderness has always been the symbol or figure of a place outside of the world, and the succour and sustenance in conditions so inimical to life demand resources from another realm. The history of the spiritual life is the history of secret supernatural support. Silently, without demonstration; sustained, without failing, sufficient, without poverty, the Manna fell, and the Heavenly Lord of Life has maintained His Church in the same way. Yes, while it has been silent and often almost imperceptible to the natural senses, yet in fact, it has been a working of immense power. The New Testament will teach us that the very birth and sustenance of the Church is the counterpart of Israel's emancipation from Egypt. There and then the power of God extended and exhausted the whole might of Egypt and its gods, and then nullified death itself.

The part of the New Testament which most specifically brings the Church into view uses such words as: "The exceeding greatness of his power which is to usward who believe."

We have far from understood the terrific thing that was involved in the death and resurrection of Christ in order to secure the Church unto God!

Surely we have said enough already to do one or two very -- supremely -- important things.

Firstly, to show what the true Church is according to the New Testament revelation. If this is not a misapprehension of that revelation, it must be a very discriminating thing; that is, it must reveal a very great difference between the true Church, on one side, and that immense umbrella which goes by the name on the other side, an umbrella under which have gathered so many institutions and conflicting conceptions.

It should be a corrective of two extremes. The extreme of a too great an inclusiveness which overlooks the fundamental and essential nature of the supernatural, of which we have spoken: the supernatural in the new birth from heaven of every individual in the Church. Also a corrective of the opposite extreme of an unscriptural exclusiveness, which makes Christ smaller than He really is in excluding from fellowship truly born-again believers on the ground of some particular technique of 'protection', or some specific interpretation of truth.

Further, if what we have said is a true definition of the Church and its nature, then, surely, it explains loss of power, of impact, of supernatural influence, and it explains the confusion, the poverty of spiritual food for hungry sheep, and the scatteredness which is Satan's special strategy to rob the Church of its vocation to take the Kingdom and reign!

The explanation is that the great power of utter dependence upon God, which is the categorical demand of God for the showing of His own glory, has been surrendered to recourse to the world for means, methods, fashions, etc., to make God's work 'successful'. Satan is not one bit afraid of anything that will use his own kingdom for its glory! He will even sponsor anything that will give him a place. The curse resting upon him and this world will always spell frustration, confusion, and eventual vanity to all that is of his kingdom, hence so much of these very things in a Church which is -- in any respect -- of this world. The Church has so largely failed to discern why -- in essential relation to His mission and ministry -- the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness is given a place in three of the Gospels, and in that specific connection John's Gospel is so gathered up in chapter 17, where the emphasis of Jesus is upon His not being of this world, and the same of His Church!

The Church -- universal and local -- which is constituted on spiritual and heavenly principles will have food enough for its own needs, and to spare for all the world. The hungry will gravitate toward such. It will be a spiritual magnet which will draw the Lord's people together in a spiritual fellowship. It will therefore be an object of Satan's special attention to undo it. But, even if he succeeds in destroying its temporal aspects, by martyrdom, fire, dissensions, scatterings, places, etc., such a church will have held spiritual values which are indestructible and eternal -- "for the things which are seen are temporal (transient, passing) but the things which are not seen are eternal". [34/35]

The ultimate test is the eternal!

We said at the commencement that, while we are concerned with the nature of the true Church universal, we have a special concern for the local expression. We shall therefore now concentrate our attention upon that expression.

If we take seriously the first three chapters of the book of the Revelation (and surely we must do so) we shall be impressed with the Lord's serious concern for such local expressions. A matchless presentation of Himself is given by way of judging the churches according to Himself. Every feature of that presentation is a factor in judgment. Then the churches are given a twofold symbolic definition; one as of stars and the other as lampstands. Leaving many details until later, we, at the moment, note that the common feature is that of the power of testimony. It is the positive element of a challenge to world darkness. All through what follows in relation to the churches the feature and factor of positiveness of spiritual life and influence are dominant and paramount. All controversy by the Lord with the churches -- on whatever specified account -- is focused upon this ultimate issue: the positive effect of the church being where it is. Is there an impact within (lampstands) and without (stars)? Are they telling, accountable, effective, unmistakable? Have they an influential impact upon their surroundings? Is there spiritual power that has effects? Ultimately, the continuance of their place in the Divine economy -- being retained or 'removed' -- rests upon this issue. Many things are detailed as the cause of the loss of power, but it is that loss which makes for judgment.

Having noted the inclusive issue which determines everything in a local testimony we proceed to ask and answer the question: What are


We are seeking to keep close and true to the overall principle that the Church -- universal and local -- is called to be an expression of Christ. It is impossible to read the New Testament without seeing that the presence of Christ anywhere was the presence of

1. Heavenly light and power

This we have just indicated as the basis of His judgment of churches. With Him it was not only the light of teaching or doctrine. It was teaching personified. There was the teaching incarnated in manhood. His teaching and His works were one. It was very practical light! It was light from another world. If the stars ruled the night they did so by the reflected light of the sun. If the churches are to have the power of truth it must be because they give a rebound of Christ upon human darkness. A local expression of Christ should mean that there is effective light, both for the Lord's people (the candlesticks) and for the world (the stars). The people who have contact with such a local church should feel the power of the teaching, should be affected by it, and it should be fruitful in them. This is not only a test, but it is a testimony to what the Lord has provided for. A people living in the good of the heavenly light received through that vessel? Is sin rebuked and exposed? Are sinners convicted? Do the perplexed get understanding in that presencing of Christ?

2. Heavenly life

The Lord said that His very coming into this world was "that they might have life". Therefore, His presence in a locality by means of the church there should mean that all who come and go register a heavenly livingness. Not just excitableness, noise, activity, etc., but a life which is not of this world. There are not dead forms and customs. There is nothing in a rut. Life is mediated by all that has a place and a part. There is a spiritual lift as of resurrection life! No depression!

3. Heavenly food

Yet again, as we have seen earlier, the presence of Christ meant bread for the hungry. The very "compassion" of Christ meant that He could not bear to have people come hungry and go away the same. A true local expression of Christ will mean that that company of His people will have, not only enough for themselves, but the margin, or overflow to all the hungry -- spiritually hungry. That will be a house of bread where none ever fails to be fed. The food will not be just localized, but will be ministered to many beyond.

4. Heavenly fellowship

An impressive feature of Christ when personally present among men was the way He transcended the things which divide men in this world. He made no attempt to make everyone and everything uniform by organization, institution, denomination, class, category, forms, systems, etc. Every type and temperament, if free from prejudice and hypocrisy and of open heart and conscious of spiritual need, found a common ground of fellowship and oneness in Him. He just rose above the dividing things, and in response to Him people found that things which [35/36] had separated them just vanished. Christ became their common ground.

Thus should it be in any local corporate expression of Christ. Questions of association, denomination, sect, tradition, etc., should not arise, but just vanish in the presence of the warmth of fellowship and entire occupation with Christ. The only effective way of true unity, heavenly fellowship, is that of the higher than earthly ground -- the love of heaven.

5. Heavenly order

All the four things which we have mentioned as characteristic of a true local expression of the Church and of Christ will be helped or hindered by the presence or absence of a heavenly, spiritual order. All appointments, positions, "offices", should be by the definite witness of the Holy Spirit; not by man's choosing, whether by others or by the person's ambition. As the result of much prayer by the church it should be manifest where anointing and gift rests, so that the function of those in any position of leadership should definitely mean that the church is inspired, strengthened and built up. Failing this heavenly order, there will exist an element of artificiality, a straining to make something and keep it going. The highest level of genius will fall far short of the smallest measure of Divine inspiration. It is this Divine inspiration that determines all Divine service and functions. There is no effort or strain where the anointing rests, but spontaneity and liberty and unction. Oil has ever been a symbol of the Holy Spirit, and where He is things should move as in oil.

This is not at all an impossible standard, but the normal expression of the Lordship and Headship of Christ.

What God requires He makes possible.



[Harry Foster]

MANY years ago I heard of the wonderful work being done in Peru by the LeTourneau road engineers and contractors. For this reason I was especially glad that the past Christmas brought me from America his life-story called Mover of Men and Mountains.

Mr. LeTourneau is now an old man and he claims to be the builder of the largest earth-moving equipment in the world. God so blessed him that instead of giving a tenth to the work of Christ, as most of us do, he is able to give nine-tenths. The present story, however, concerns his early days when he was working with his Uncle Bob in a garage in Stockton, California.

One day an elderly customer brought in his old car which needed some welding done on the exhaust pipe. LeTourneau put the car over the grease pit and then climbed underneath with his torch to cut the pipe. The whole undercarriage of the car was thick with oil and grease, which led him to believe that if he were not careful with his torch the boards might catch fire. So he called to his Uncle Bob to stand by with a pail of water, in readiness to help. Then he started to work. Sure enough the oilsoaked boards caught fire and began to smoulder. "Douse her a little", he shouted from the pit. "It's getting warm down here." Uncle Bob got excited and emptied the whole bucketful in one action. Unfortunately, the bucket did not contain water but was full of clear petrol intended for use in cleaning automobile parts. Boom! The whole pit was filled with a sheet of flame.

By a miracle LeTourneau was not injured. He jumped out of the pit and rushed for a fire extinguisher. Poor frightened Uncle Bob soon found another, and between them they were able to put out the fire with very little damage done. But it had been a near thing. Various explanations were put out for LeTourneau's miraculous escape. The simplest one was that because the car had a canvas top the explosion had gone upwards and away from the pit instead of blowing down the burning boards upon him. So far as he was concerned he knew that he had been saved by the Lord Jesus, and all his thanks were directed towards Him.

The great thing, however, was that he had received an object lesson about the insufficiency of being sincere which served him for the rest of his life. His Uncle Bob loved him and certainly wished him no harm. On the contrary, his eager action had been due to his desire to be helpful. He did not lack in good intentions, but he showed just how wrong even the most sincere man can be. He sincerely believed that what the bucket contained was water which would put out the fire. But he was wrong. The very thing which was intended to bring salvation from danger actually made the danger much worse.

When he tells this story Mr. LeTourneau says [36/37] that he often hears people claiming that God does not mind much what we believe so long as we are sincere. Perhaps you have heard people say the same thing here in England. Perhaps you have thought that it was right and until now have been confident that nothing can harm you so long as you are sincere. When Mr. LeTourneau hears people talking like this he is able to tell them that sincerity is not enough. He should know, for Uncle Bob's sincerity nearly cost him his life. Not that Uncle Bob was more faulty than other people. Any number of men in the same circumstances might well have made the same mistake. So we must not be led astray by thinking that numbers make any difference. Large numbers of people can be sincere and yet in the end be found to have been wrong.

The important thing to do is to place all our reliance, not on our opinions or feelings, but on certain facts. There can be no doubts about the facts of the Lord Jesus. He is able to deliver us from all danger and to save us from our sins. Mr. LeTourneau proved this for himself and spent his life telling others and seeing the reality of God's power in their lives. "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). - H. F.


Genesis 45:5, 7

"God did send me before you to preserve life"
"God sent me before you to preserve ... a remnant"

IT is clear from this double statement -- "God sent me before ..." -- that Joseph was one of God's pioneers of the heavenly way. His history holds some very helpful things in relation to the goings of God. Let us repeat what we have said before in such connections: that we are not engaged with a biography of the people referred to, but only with what they represent in spiritual truths as to God's pursuit of His ultimate end. We must remind ourselves that God's full and final end is comprehended in His Son, Jesus Christ. Therefore the Bible is the book of Jesus Christ throughout. Every part of it has, in some way, to do with that end and object. There are few cases in the Old Testament that more deeply and clearly foreshadow Jesus Christ as God's end than does Joseph.

This is inclusively indicated in the two fragments mentioned above which gather up the whole purpose of his history. We can only understand the life and history of Joseph as we recognize the purpose governing all. When this has been pinpointed we can see without difficulty how he points to Christ. His double statement is that the sovereignty of God in his history had the one inclusive end and object to "preserve life".

The life of an elect people was the all-governing object. That undoubtedly was the mission of God's Son, and it is the fundamental factor in the whole Bible.

Having said that, we can note the course by which that end was pioneered: only pausing to interject that all ministries in the choice and appointment of God are related to the one end of Christ.

The story of Joseph is both a very human story and a very Divine story, but with one key to both. That we shall come on presently.

On the human side, if read only from the natural standpoint, there are features which may be regarded as quite regrettable. For instance, a father's favouritism for one member of a large family is really an unwise thing. Whatever argument there may be for it, it only engenders jealousies and complications. Joseph was clearly a favourite with his father, and was perhaps -- or evidently -- singled out for special partiality. Then Joseph had dreams which put him in a special position of superiority over his brothers. It is quite all right to have dreams, but it is of doubtful discretion to tell your family of them if they are of this sort. Quite naturally they could give the impression of arrogance and self-importance. It would therefore be very natural for the family to develop a dislike for such a brother.

You know, Jesus was a special object of His Father's love. He did know the destiny bound up with His life. Further, not in His case indiscreetly, He told quite frankly to the family of Jacob (the Jews) both those things -- His Father's love for Him, and what His destiny would be as over them. This was undoubtedly the ostensible and natural reason for their hatred of Him and for what they did to Him.

There are intimations that He was the lone and suspected member of His own family, for it is definitely stated that "His brethren did not believe [37/38] in him". He was therefore a lonely man, discredited in His family and in the world. "Despised and rejected of men." This in His case, as in Joseph's, led on to deep and dark soul-sufferings, malignings, intrigues, mysterious ways of Providence, and apparent forsakenness of God. "The iron entered into his soul," or "His soul entered into the iron". A long period of patient waiting unto God's time for the completion of His God-appointed mission was involved.

The other details of Joseph's history need not be followed out here. We have to retrace our steps to lay hold of the Divine side of it all. The sovereignty of God is unmistakable. "God sent me before." The sovereign foreknowledge in that word "before" is, at last, clear to Joseph when, in the full light of God's deep and hidden ways -- "Mysterious Providence" -- he declares to his brethren: "Ye meant it for evil, but God meant it for good." What a "But" -- "But God!"

"Thy way, O Lord, is in the deep."

Having mentioned the human side and the Divine, we have not told the whole story. There is an element that is neither of these: it is the satanic. This extra factor is one with which all pioneers of the heavenly way have to reckon. The jealousy and hatred of Joseph's brethren after the flesh , and that in the case of Jesus, were not just natural. There was something sinister in it. It is not easy for us to understand how Satan knows, but it is clear from Scripture that he has an uncanny intuitive knowledge of God's intentions, and, more strangely those intentions being bound up with the life of elect vessels of ministry related to those intentions. This is quite evident -- and fully so in the case of the Lord Jesus. From Herod's satanically-inspired murder of the babes with the sole object of destroying One, right on to the Cross this sinister and devilish motivation is evident because he -- Satan -- knew who that One was, and what His destiny was to be. It was all so unnatural, and can only be explained on the ground between the human and the Divine.

So with Joseph. Say what you will as to the human, there was something deeper in his history than men's attitudes and actions. He was marked out in the Divine councils as a pioneer of life, and Satan knew it. Joseph's life from the beginning was dogged by something that was an element of adversity, although beloved of his father.

The ways of any pioneer of heavenly purpose will always have this involvement in difficulties and adversities which are not the lot of ordinary people. As vocation is the principle of election, so the vocation is the cause of all the trouble. A pioneer in the way of God's eternal purpose will know much of "the fellowship of his sufferings"; but the throne and the crown and the glory are in view, for "God meant (and means) it" so.


Message given at the conference in Switzerland in September 1968

[W. E. Thompson]

"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the wicked, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the streams of water, that bringeth forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also doth not wither; and whatsoever he doeth he shall prosper" (Psalm 1:1-3).

WE have been hearing how the New Testament is constructed on a spiritual basis rather than on a chronological one, and that is also true of the Old Testament, particularly the books of the Psalms. As we read the Old Testament, and the Psalms, I believe we need to do so from this standpoint. If you have good Bibles you will find that the Psalms are divided into five books, and I think you will find that these five books of the Psalms correspond to the five books of Moses.

The first book of Moses is Genesis, the book of beginnings, the book of man. Throughout that book we read of God's dealings with man, and the main content is a man; and the first book of Psalms (1 - 41) deals with the blessed man. That is what we are now going to consider. But, for your interest, if you read the second book of the Psalms, 42 - 73, you will find that they correspond to the book of Exodus, for they are the Psalms of deliverance. Then what is the next step after deliverance? It is not service, but worship -- the sanctuary. "Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary" (Psalm 77:13). That is the book of Leviticus -- and you will find a lot about the sanctuary in Psalms 73 - 89. Next we have the book of journeyings -- the book of Numbers, and if you read that fourth book of [38/39] Psalms (90 to 106) you will find much about wanderings and wilderness experiences. Then, of course, the fifth book of Moses, the book of Deuteronomy, has the land in sight.

We have also seen this week how God's history is bound up in the history of a man, and the Psalms are the reflections of God's dealings with a man, for we will find here almost every experience that we can possibly know. It is said of David that he was a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22), and he was also a man after God's head, for it says: "He shall do all my will." Thus we find in the Psalms the answer to our needs and our problems.

This first Psalm begins with a very important word -- "Blessed": " Blessed is the man ...".


Now what are blessings? We use the word a great deal. We pray for God to bless us, to bless this one and that one, and I think perhaps it is true to say that we have come to Aeschi for a blessing. Now I believe that there are some Christians who consider that God is like a supermarket. All they have to do is to get their baskets and pick a blessing here and a blessing there; they go to the conference section and think that they can just fill their baskets with this kind of blessing.

No, blessings are not like that. We just cannot go round and collect them. These blessings are to be found only in Christ, and we shall find that we shall be blessed only in the measure that we are ourselves truly in Him and really share in a practical way His blessed life. "Blessed is the man ...". Well, of course, the Lord Jesus Christ is the first and the primary blessed Man, and it is the purpose and intention of God to bring us into these blessings of Christ. 'Blessed' is the first word used in the earliest recorded discourse of our Lord Jesus Christ -- "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3). God put Adam in the garden of Eden for a blessing, and the blessings that he lost are only regained in our Lord Jesus Christ. That is why His ministry has so much of this very important word. We want, and we need, a blessing. so that Lord says: "Blessed ...".

Another translation of this word helps us to understand what it means -- 'happy'. We can talk about the blessed man as a happy man. But then I would like to ask another question. What really makes us happy? What is it that really constitutes true, deep happiness? I think it is the word 'satisfied'. We can take this word 'blessed' away and put 'satisfied' in and it would be quite correct.

Now this kind of satisfaction is not a cheap and easy thing, but is something that goes right, deep down into our very innermost being, because it is deep in the heart of God Himself. It is the very meaning of the Gospel. If you look at 1 Timothy 1:11 you will read a verse that will alter your whole idea about the Gospel. It is "the gospel of the glory of the blessed God", or " satisfied God". Is that not wonderful? That makes a difference to what you mean when you talk about a 'Gospel meeting', when you are supposed to preach some kind of formula which is the answer to people's needs! No, this Gospel that we have been brought into is the gospel of a God who is absolutely satisfied. Why is He satisfied? Because He has found the way by which He can reclaim man and bring Him back to Himself. After He had created Adam He said: 'It is good!' I do not think that God was finally satisfied after creating Adam, but He was certainly satisfied at the coming into the world of the final Adam -- "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17). And God is satisfied because of those sons who have been brought to glory. That is why He is a blessed God, and the only basis of our true blessing is as we experience that in which God is well pleased; and that depends upon the measure in which the Lord Jesus Christ reigns within us.


Now we find in this first Psalm how the devil tries to rob this blessed man of the enjoyment of his blessings. The first verse, with its three negatives, gives us an idea of how the devil tries to rob us of what God has given us. The blessed man 'walks not in the counsel of the ungodly; he stands not in the way of sinners; he sits not in the seat of the scornful'. There are three nouns and three verbs in that verse, and they are very important. The ungodly: that represents everyone who does not acknowledge God. The sinners: that represents those who actively do evil. The scornful: those who are directly opposed to God. You will notice that there is a decline in these three kinds of persons.

I want to say a word to all young people under eighty, and it is this: It is vitally important what friends you have and what company you keep, if you are the people of God, if you are those who have a completely different nature, and if you are the blessed people, for this is where the devil begins to work.

Notice those three verbs: Walk -- Stand -- Sit. Again there is a declension. We do not find ourselves immediately sitting amongst those who scorn God. It all begins with a walk. Some years ago in [39/40] Bombay the Lord brought to Himself a remarkable young Hindu. He came from a very staunch Hindu family, and it was wonderful to see his growth in the things of God. Then he began to lose his joy, his blessings. We found that he began to go right away and his life became quite contrary to the life of a Christian. Ultimately he went right back into his Hindu family. How did this happen? He began by 'walking in the counsel of the ungodly'. He started listening to his worldly friends concerning things like marriage, and began to take advice from non-Christian friends. Then one day I looked in his bag and I found some books. They were not very nice books. He was 'standing in the way of sinners'; and I know many young Christians who have lost their blessings through reading the wrong kind of books and magazines. Eventually he found himself in the 'seat of the scornful'. If we had the time to study the story of the Prodigal Son we would find the same kind of thing.

This matter of walking is very important. Our walk reveals our character. Those disciples in John i did not hear the Lord Jesus preaching, for it says: "They looked upon Jesus as he walked, and said, Behold the Lamb of God!" He was identified by His walk. We can disguise ourselves in many ways. We can wear a wig, or we can paint our faces and do a lot of outward things, but we cannot disguise our walk. The blessed man walks in the newness of life, for we shall walk in the light of that new, hidden life. As we know the Lord so we shall walk. When God revealed Himself to Abraham as El Shaddai, the Almighty God, what did He say? 'Go and preach about it!'? 'Go and write a book about it!'? No, He said: 'Walk!' -- "Walk before me, and be thou perfect" (Genesis 17:1). This walking is a very important part of our Christian life.


In verse 2 of this Psalm we find something about the positive aspect of this blessed man. It is very simple: "His delight is in the law of the Lord." Now we delight our bodies in good food. We delight our souls in a variety of ways -- in nice music, or beautiful scenery, but our bodies and our souls do not delight in the law of the Lord. We can only delight in the law of the Lord in the inward man. Paul said: "I delight in the law of God after the inward man" (Romans 7:22). The natural man never understands and delights in the Word of God. He may read it and say that it is wonderful literatures but he does not delight in it, because "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God" (1 Corinthians 2:14).

We also find in verse 2 of this Psalm that this blessed man meditates in this law, and not just for a few minutes in the morning and in the evening. It says: "Day and night." He is constantly meditating in the law of the Lord Jehovah.

But wait a minute! What was David's Bible? What was the "law of the Lord" in which David meditated for such a long time? He did not have Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, nor did he have the letter to the Ephesians. He had Genesis -- well, that is quite interesting. He had Exodus -- yes, there are many interesting things there. He had Leviticus -- oh, what can you get out of Leviticus? And he had the other two books of Moses.

If we really have the life of the inward man we shall find a tremendous lot in Leviticus, and, young people, please do not skip these books when you read the Bible! If you want to know the real blessedness, you meditate in these books. What is the key, the secret of them'? It is the satisfied God! You look for the satisfied God in Leviticus and you will find a tremendous world of richness.


In verse 3 we find the evidence of the blessed man: "He shall be like a tree." To you people living in Switzerland that may not be very wonderful, for you have so many trees around you. The country is just full of them. But to those of us who in the East a tree is quite a rare thing, and it was certainly a rare thing in the country where David lived. When you fly over India and look down over the barren plain you will suddenly see a little patch which is all green, and there are many trees. If you look more carefully you will see the reason: there will be a river. This tree here is "planted by the streams of water". Here is the centre where the Holy Spirit is working, and certainly our blessedness will depend a lot upon that. Get near the stream and we shall grow.

We read three things about this tree in this verse -- about its root, its leaf and its fruit. These are very important things in this blessed life. Without the root and the leaf there will not be fruit, and the Lord has ordained that we shall go forth and bear fruit. The main purpose of a tree is to bear fruit, and this is the evidence of a blessed man. How does he do this? He must draw his life from two sources. There is the hidden life, the roots that go down deep into the dark earth where the streams are. The more I read concerning the Holy Spirit the more I believe that His work is essentially hidden. We do not read that the Holy Spirit is given to us for sensations! That life which feeds on the Holy [40/41] Spirit is a hidden life. David said in Psalm 51 that the Lord wanted "truth in the inward parts", and Peter talks about "the hidden man of the heart" (1 Peter 3:4). It is this hidden life, this life deep down in the dark that is so important to blessedness. If we had time to read Psalm 17 we would understand more of this -- you can read that at your leisure!

Not only is there the hidden life, but there is also the outward life, the life that is derived from the leaves. The leaves draw from the sun's rays, and through the process which is known as 'photosynthesis' they minister life to the tree -- and we need this corporate life. You notice that it says: "We all with unveiled face reflecting as a mirror the glory of the Lord", and then the photosynthesis -- the spiritual synthesis -- goes on.

Now it is most important that we see that we maintain in balance the hidden life and the corporate life if we are going to bear fruit, and you notice that it is 'fruit in season'. That does not mean that you have only to bear spiritual fruit once a year. Please do not think that! I think it means timeliness. There is a verse in Proverbs 25 which says: "A word in due season is like apples of gold" (verse 11, margin). The timely word, the timely act, the timely bearing of spiritual fruit are the things which bring blessedness.

And then we find, concerning this man, that "whatsoever he doeth, he shall prosper" (margin). Not 'it shall prosper', but " he shall prosper". Sometimes people think that they only have to do all these things and then go to business, and the business will prosper. God is not interested in our business prospering, but He is interested in us prospering.

This immediately takes us to another man in whom God's history is bound up -- and I wish we had another hour to study the life of Joseph together. Dear old Jacob, when he gathered his sons together at the end, did not have very much to say about Judah and the others, but he said this about Joseph: "Joseph is a fruitful bough. ... His branches run over the wall" (Genesis 49:22).

(Next to the house where I am now living the neighbour has a very nice apple tree and it comes over the wall -- and there are more apples on my side than on his! Well, they are blessings indeed!)

Jacob goes on to say: "The Almighty, who shall bless thee, with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that coucheth beneath ..." (verse 25). There are many more blessings there if you will read that passage. Joseph was a man who was prospered of God. Whatever people did to Joseph, he prospered. We find that in Genesis 39. If his brothers put him into a pit, he prospered, and if he was made a servant in Potiphar's house, he prospered -- and if you want an illustration of not walking in the ways of the ungodly and sitting in the seat of the scornful, you read Joseph's history in Potiphar's house! You will understand why he prospered! They put him in prison, and even there he prospered.

Now this is the character of the blessed man. It does not matter where you put him, for he will spring up with spiritual prosperity -- blessedness. If we had time to study it we would understand that Joseph's life was one that was alienated from his brothers. It was a life that was contrary to a lot of the natural things around him, and it was a life of suffering -- and there are blessings to come from the sufferings of Christ. It may be that some of the truest blessings that the Lord will ever give us are those that come through suffering and limitation, but when they are the blessings of the hidden man, the blessings of the satisfied God, we shall go right through and bear fruit, and our blessings will be shared by many. - W. E. T.


AMONG the various titles by which Christians were called in the New Testament surely the most wonderful is that given by the Lord Jesus -- "Ye are my friends":

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends if ye do the things which I command you. No longer do I call you servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends: for all things that I heard from my Father I nave made Known unto you. Ye did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you, that ye should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should abide" (John 15:13-16).

It is indeed a very wonderful and beautiful thing that the Son of God called such as the disciples were, and such as we are, His friends. I do not think there is a greater or more beautiful word in all our language than that word 'friend'. It is the most intimate title in all human relationships. Every other [41/42] relationship that we can think of may exist without this. Perhaps we think that the marriage relationship is the most intimate, but it is possible for that relationship to exist without friendship. Happy indeed is the man whose wife is his friend, and happy is the wife whose husband is her friend. It is a very close relationship between children and parents and parents and children, but it is a great thing when the father can call his son his friend, and when he can say, not 'my son', but 'my friend'. And, again, it is a great thing when a child can say, not only 'my father', but 'my friend': 'my father is my friend' -- 'my mother is my friend'. It is something extra in relationship. We may admire a person and have a lot of association with them: we may think that we know them and could say: 'Well, I know so-and-so very well', but, even so, there may not be friendship. Friendship is always just that bit extra.

When Jesus said: "Ye are my friends", He was going beyond 'Ye are My disciples' and 'Ye are My followers'. He could have called them by many other names, but when He said: "Ye are my friends" He went beyond anything else. And I think that the Lord Jesus found the most complete satisfaction of His heart in this word. To say "Ye are my friends" was as far as anybody could possibly go. Really, there is nothing beyond it. You reach the end of all relationships when you really come to friendship. How rich and how precious, then, is this title!

In the picture of the new Jerusalem which we have at the end of the Bible it says: "The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all manner of precious stones" (Revelation 21:19). The foundation of that city was that which was most precious, and I think the most precious foundation of life is friendship. The new Jerusalem itself will be built upon the foundation of the friendship between the Lord Jesus and His own.

Well, that is just a little about friendship. But what is the nature of friendship? We have it here in John 15: "No longer do I call you servants, for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth, but I have called you friends: for all things that I heard from my Father I have made known unto you." Friendship is that position which makes it possible to open the heart fully, to keep nothing back; and to have such confidence that you can trust the other person with all that is in your heart. Jesus said: 'All that the Father has shown Me I have shown you. I have kept nothing back from you. I have put perfect confidence in you. I have had no suspicions of you and have not been afraid to say just what was in My heart.'

You know, that is very wonderful. Go back again in this Gospel by John and in chapter two you will find: "Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, during the feast, many believed on his name, beholding his signs which he did. But Jesus did not trust himself unto them, for that he knew all men, and because he needed not that any one should bear witness concerning man, for he himself knew what was in man" (John 2:23-25).

Jesus knew all men, and because of that He did not commit Himself to them ... "Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus" (John 3:1), and what follows shows that Jesus knew Nicodemus and He did not commit Himself to him. Nicodemus was not in the position of a friend, at least, not at this time. How much he was before the end we do not know. He did act like a friend in the burial of Jesus, for something had happened to him by that time. But at this time he was amongst those men to whom Jesus did not commit Himself. He simply said, in effect: 'Before I can commit Myself to you, you must be born again.'

That is the beginning of this friendship. Yes, Jesus has told us that the real nature of friendship is that He can just commit Himself to His friends. He said many things to other people, but He did not put Himself into their hands. And that is all the difference. You may have a lot of fellowship, say a lot of things, and they may be quite true things, but that is not putting yourself into the hands of those people. There is all the difference between conversation and fellowship and committal. Friendship means that you have committed yourselves to one another -- you have really put yourself into the hands of the other person. That is what Jesus said friendship means: "All things that I heard from my Father I have made known unto you." 'I have had no reserves where you are concerned.'

I am sure you are feeling that this is a very wonderful thing and are wondering more and more at it as we go on. Just think that the Son of God should do that -- that He should be willing to commit Himself to some people!

And these were not empty words. He went on to show that He would prove His friendship. What is the proof of friendship? Well, of course, it is firstly, as we have said, committing yourself to the other.

But then Jesus said this: "Greater love hath no man than this. That a man lay down his life for his friends." That is the proof of friendship. How much are you prepared to sacrifice, to suffer and to put up with? "A man lay down his life for his friends." Now, of course, you are thinking of one thing -- of dying in some way for your friends. But there are a thousand ways of laying down your life for your friends. It is a matter of laying down our lives all [42/43] the time -- not just some big act of dying for our friends, but every day laying down our lives, letting something of ourselves go, letting some personal interest go and just saying: 'That does not matter -- it is for my friend. That is not so important -- it is for my friend.' Friendship makes everything else unimportant. If there is real friendship we do not stay to say: 'Well, now, must I do that? Am I really obliged to do that? Can I not get out of it in some way? Really, is there any harm in my doing this?'

You know, that is the attitude of a lot of Christians. 'Why may I not do this? Is there any harm in it? A lot of other people do it so why should I not do it? I even know Christians who do it. Must I really not do this?' Supposing Jesus had taken that attitude! No, friendship puts all that kind of thing away and never talks about 'Must I?' 'Is there no other way?' This is a laying down of the life for a friend.

So I say that there are many ways of laying down our life. What is laying down our life? It is just holding that nothing is too valuable or important to be kept from our friend. It does not matter what it costs, or how painful it is -- friendship makes it possible.

We have the great illustration in the Bible. There is only one man in all the Bible who was called God's friend: "Abraham ... the friend of God" (James 2:23). What a wonderful thing to be said of any man -- "Abraham, my friend", said God (Isaiah 41:8). It is God speaking about a man, and He is saying "My friend"! How could God call Abraham His friend? What made Abraham a friend of God? "Take now thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest ... and offer him" (Genesis 22:2). What did Abraham say? 'You have asked too much. Isaac is too precious. He is everything to me. Oh, no, I cannot offer him!'? No, Abraham did not talk like that. I think it is most wonderful when it says: "And Abraham rose early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and he clave the wood for the burnt offering" (Genesis 22:3). I venture to suggest to you that if you were faced with that you would not get up early that morning! You would be staying in bed just as long as you could and putting it off as long as possible. But it says: "Abraham rose early in the morning ." What was he about to do? He was about to enter right into the heart of God in giving his only begotten son, and enter right into fellowship with the passion of God's heart. "God so loved ... that He gave His only begotten Son." It was because of that that Abraham was God's friend. He had entered right into the heart of God and counted nothing too precious for the friendship of God.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends", and in offering Isaac Abraham indeed laid down his life. "Abraham, my friend." That is the nature of friendship. And Jesus proved His friendship. This is the proof -- that He has laid down His life.

Then we go on to ask another question: What is the basis of this friendship? Jesus knew what was going to happen in the near future, for it was getting very near to the day when they would all forsake Him, and yet, knowing all that, He said: "Ye are my friends." There must be some basis which is more than just this present time. Jesus was looking beyond the Cross, and He was seeing that the day would come when these men would stand strongly on the ground of the Cross. We now have the full story. Oh, yes, not so long after this they were letting everything in this world go for Him. The Cross had truly entered into their hearts. The spirit of the Cross had truly taken possession of them and they were standing firmly upon that ground. And Jesus knew that that was how it would be. He knew what was going to happen in the next few days, but He was always speaking to them about afterward, that human failure was not the last thing and was not going to be the end of everything. To that poor, failing Peter He said this: "And do thou, when once thou hast turned again, stablish thy brethren" (Luke 22:32). 'You are going to have a terrible fall, but that is not going to be the end. You will turn again and you will have a great ministry afterward.'

Jesus was always looking beyond the Cross, and He saw that these men would stand upon the ground of the Cross. The Cross means that you do not hold anything for yourself, but only for your friend, and that was true of these men.

But Jesus also saw something else. He knew that before long they would receive the Holy Spirit and that they would be governed by Him. And when the Holy Spirit really takes possession you can be trusted. These men could not be trusted without the Holy Spirit, but when He came in, then you could depend upon them. They would not be governed by personal interests, nor would they have any fleshly considerations, but they would live by the Spirit and not by the flesh. And Jesus said: 'On that ground ye are My friends, and that day is as though it is now. Ye are My friends because I know that you men are going to stand on the ground of the Cross and are going to be led by the Holy Spirit.'

You see, that is the basis of friendship. If we live on our own natural ground then the Lord will [43/44] never be able to depend upon us, but if the Cross has done its deep work in our hearts, and if we are really governed by the Holy Spirit, the Lord has all the ground that He requires to commit Himself to us, all that is necessary for Him to say: "Ye are my friends."

I think there was one thing that the Lord Jesus knew about eleven of these men. Yes, they were men of many weaknesses and many failures. They often said the wrong thing and often did the wrong thing, but Jesus knew that He had their hearts. In spite of everything He had captured their hearts. They had a heart for Him. They may have made mistakes, and He knew all about that, but He knew that they had given Him their hearts. They had a heart for the Lord, and that is the basis of His friendship. He is saying: 'Have I really got all your heart? I know all about your weaknesses and your failures, but, really, is your whole heart over on my side?'

Judas never gave his heart to the Lord. He had a heart for himself and for worldly gain. Jesus could never say to him: 'You are My friend', but He called him "the son of perdition" (John 27:12). But with these eleven He was quite sure where their hearts were. He even saw what would happen when He was on trial and crucified, but He told them what to do and where to meet Him after that. He knew that they would come through because they had a heart for Him. You have only to look at these people when Jesus had been crucified and was in the grave. How sad they were! It is as though they had lost everything in life, and they had lost everything, simply because they had given their whole hearts to the Lord Jesus. That is the basis of His friendship.

It is in these things, then, that the Lord is able to trust us and commit Himself to us. This is the relationship that the Lord Jesus wants more than anything else. The breakdown in friendship is so often because of some natural interest arising, some question of how it is going to affect us rather than how it is going to affect Him.

This is something very challenging to our hearts, and it is a lesson that all of us have to learn. I have to learn it, and am trying to do so. You have to learn it -- that the greatest thing in all life is how our behaviour affects the Lord Jesus; how our appearance before the world affects the Lord Jesus; how differences between us affect the Lord Jesus. Yes, everything, how it affects the Lord Jesus. You know, that is the very essence of friendship. True friendship is always governed by this: 'I would do nothing to hurt my friend. That is the last thing that ever I want to do!', and Jesus wants to put our lives upon that basis. He will never do anything to hurt us, but how much we hurt Him! We must bring everything to the judgment bar of friendship.

The greatest characteristic of friendship is loyalty. I do not think there is a greater or grander virtue than loyalty. You may not always understand your best friend; he or she may sometimes do things that you cannot understand, things about which you do not feel very happy at the moment, but if it is friendship you are loyal to your friend, whether you understand him or not. You will not betray your friend or talk about him to his detriment, nor do anything that would injure him. You will always be loyal. Faithfulness is the heart of friendship and that is the attitude of the Lord Jesus.

But the Lord wants to put His disciples on the same basis. He wants this spirit and nature of friendship to exist between His own. He wants them to have the same spirit as is in Himself and to be friends of one another. We may say: 'Yes, he or she is my fellow-Christian.' As Christians we may speak of one another as our brothers and sisters, but I have said there is something more than that, more than fellow-Christians, more than brothers and sisters. I suppose I must not put it in the Christian realm and say more than fathers and mothers, but the meaning is the same. There is just that something extra -- 'He is more than my brother, he is my friend.' 'She is more than my sister, she is my friend.' Oh, that the Lord might be able to get that kind of relationship!

May He write this word deeply in our hearts and send us back to the places where we are going with a heart wholly for Him! Nothing held back, but a complete committal to Him, that He has us altogether, and by His grace we will never do anything that will hurt Him. We will always ask the question about everything: 'How will this affect my Lord?' You see, friendship has two sides. It is not onesided. It is not friendship when I do all the friendliness and you do not do any. No, it has two sides. We must be to Him what He is to us, and we must be to one another what He is to us.

Now this is going to be a very difficult thing, but remember the Cross and the Holy Spirit. They are the two great powers which make this possible. The Cross is not only the crucifixion of Christ many years ago: it is a mighty power in life every day. The Holy Spirit is not somebody who came at Pentecost many years ago. He is here today and can be in us, and if He really has the control of our lives the one thing which will concern us most is 'How does my life affect the Lord Jesus?'

Take that message away with you, and seek to live by it in all the days before us. [44/45]



WHAT we have said about Christ as our mind leads us straight into chapter three of the Letter to the Philippians. Chapter three is the continuation of what is in chapter two. We recognize the convenience of chapter divisions, but we greatly regret them. They are no part of the original New Testament writings, but were only introduced by a man named Stephen Langton in the thirteenth century, just as the verse divisions were made by the Paris printer Stephanas in the seventeenth century. These divisions help us to find the place, but they are very artificial and really -- in one way -- are apt to rob us of real values. So very often it is essential to run straight on in the reading, ignoring the chapter division, in order to get the full value and meaning of the subject being dealt with.

There are few better examples of this than the one before us (as mentioned above). The continuity is found in this: "Have this mind in you which was in Christ Jesus", who -- in order to secure God's full purpose and realize God's full end -- emptied Himself and let go of everything that He had, and humbled Himself, etc. The goal and prize of all this was His full and final exaltation and glory. This was the mind of Christ.

Now Paul goes on to say that that mind had been planted in him and -- in the much lesser way -- he had let go of the rich heritage which had been his and had counted it all valueless in view of the great "on high calling" to "gain Christ". The loss of all things was incomparable to that great ultimate "gain", the fullness of Christ. Christ's supreme example, and Paul's own apprehension of Christ with this very practical effect, were the basis of his appeal for oneness of mind in believers. What Paul is really saying is that oneness, unity, and singlemindedness among believers will be achieved by -- and only by -- this Christly disposition, and by Christ being the only and all-absorbing object and prize. He contrasts this "mind" with those who "mind earthly things" (4:8) and who "seek their own, not the things of Jesus Christ" (2:4, 21).

We could include many things in that "all seek their own", for apparently this referred to the Judaizers, who were wanting to change Christianity. Maybe 'their own things' were just "things" in which they were interested in Christianity. It has turned out in Christianity that the means to the end have become more than the end. Hence jealousies, rivalries, vested interests, the clientele, support, the 'Mission', the 'Denomination', the Institution, etc., and if anything seems detrimentally to affect it, a bitter spirit arises, and charges of 'sheep-stealing', divisiveness, and so on, split the spirit of Christ. If everything were looked at as to whether it has a contribution of Christ to make to believers, rather than how it affects our particular interest, Christ would be the unifying object.

Paul was not saying that there must be uniformity of mind on all particular points, for "there are diversities of gifts", and functions, but that in right and proper diversity there should be one all-unifying "mind"; the passion for Christ transcending and dominating all else, and arbitrating in all Issues.

Paul's own life, a life so capable of versatility, variety, many interests and possibilities, was unified by this "one thing" (3:13). we must keep clearly in mind that in what Paul is saying here he is not thinking of salvation, but of the purpose of salvation, which is so very much more than escaping eternal judgment and getting into heaven. I do not think that the deep concern and exercise shown here by the Apostle meant that he feared for his salvation, but, as he says, "If by any means I may attain" -- unto what? Being an eternally saved soul? No! But "that I may apprehend that for which I was apprehended": "The prize of the on-high calling".

The stress -- if that is the right word to use -- the intensity exhibited by Paul is not because God has made it difficult, but because every art and artifice, every means and method of Satan, every danger in his own reactions to suffering is encountered especially by those who are set upon, and in the way of that on-high Calling! The enemy knows the ultimate peril to his kingdom involved in this utterness for Christ, for the on-high calling is to reign, and there is an "If" attached to that. So this oneness of mind is an immense potential!

In his appeal the Apostle reminds his readers that this motive comes from the very fact that their "citizenship is (now) in heaven" (3:20) and therefore the "on-high" or "heavenly" calling should be in the very constitution and disposition of a heavenly people.

May our true heavenly nature assert itself more and more powerfully so that

"the things of earth (do) grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace." [45/46]



We acknowledge with gratitude the following gifts received from 1st December 1968 to 27th January 1969:

Aberdare £3; Alberta, Canada £5; Amsterdam, Holland £1; Barendrecht, Holland £10; Barry £1, £1; Basle, Switzerland £1; Beckenham £50; Bedford 10s.; Belfast £1, £1; Bengeo 4s. 5d.; Berkhamsted 7s.; Bexleyheath £1; Bideford £1 11s. 8d.; Birmingham 10s., 10s.; Bognor Regis £10; Bournemouth 17s. 6d.; Brighton £3, £1 10s.; Bristol £1; Bromley £5, £3; Brynmawr 10s.; Burnham-on-Sea 10s.; Cabinteely £1; Canterbury 10s.; Chicago, Illinois £1; Chislehurst £5; Chorley Wood £1; Church Stretton 10s.; Cleadon £10; Colborne, Ontario £1; Congleton £5; Copenhagen, Denmark £1; Cromer £5; Deal £1, £2, £2 10s., £2, £1, £1; Dereham £1; Dover 10s.; Dublin £1, £3; Dunmow £1; Dunning £1; Eastbourne 18s. 10d., 10s.; East Orange, New Jersey £1 5s.; Edinburgh £1 10s., £1; Eerbeck, Holland £2; Felixstowe 15s.; Filey 5s.; Gateshead £2; Gerrards Cross 5s.; Glasgow £1, £2, 10s., £2, £1; Great Baddow £1; Grimsby £2; Hastings £5; Haverhill £2; Headcorn £5; Henley £1; Hove £1; Hull £1; Ilford £1 9s.; Indianapolis, Indiana 16s. 8d.; Ipswich 10s.; Keith £1; Kirkcudbright 5s. 4d.; Lessines, Belgium £2 9s. 6d.; Llandrindod Wells £1; London, E.11 £1; N.7 £1; N.14 £2 12s. 4d.; N.20 £1; N.W.6 10s.; S.E.12 £5, 6s. 2d.; S.E.15 £2 10s., 12s.; S.E.21 12s. 4d.; S.E.22 10s., 10s.; S.E.23 £5, 10s., £2, £1, 10s., £5; S.E.25 10s.; S.W.l £1; S.W.11 £1; W.1 £5; Manchester £1, 10s.; Meols 10s.; Messina, Sicily £5; Milford-on-Sea £20; Mont Albert, Australia £1 17s. 2d.; Nelson £2 10s.; Neuchâtel, Switzerland £1, £1; Newcastle-upon-Tyne 10s., £2; Newport £1; Newquay £2; Nimes, France £2 1s. 1d.; Northampton £2; Oldham £5 15s. 10d.; Penylan £1 0s. 6d.; Poole £1; Reading £2; Regina, Saskatchewan £1 3s. 2d.; Richmond £1, £1; Rickmansworth £1; Ruislip £4; St. Gallen, Switzerland £2; St. Ursanne, Switzerland £1; Sale £1; Sandown 10s.; Saskatoon, Saskatchewan £1 18s. 7d.; Simmozheim, Germany £2; Slough 10s.; Southampton £1; South Shields £1, 10s.; Stanwick £2; Stockholm, Sweden £10; Stonebroom £1 1s. 6d., 9s. 6d.; Tadworth £2; Tidcombe £2 1s. 6d; Tonbridge £2, 10s.; Tuart Hill, West Australia £1 7s. 10d.; Tunbridge Wells 16s. 4d.; £1 1s.; West Wickham 10s. 2d.; Wigan £1; Wimberg, Germany £3; Winterthur, Switzerland £2; Worthing £1 14s., £1 5s.; Wrexham £1 2s. 6d.; York 12s. 6d., £3; Zürich, Switzerland £4 16s. 5d. Total: £346 17s. 4d.

Alexandria, Va. $20; Birmingham, Ala. $10, $5, $10, $10, $10; Butler, Ala. $25; Charlotte, N.C. $6; Collingswood, N.J. $15; East Lansdowne, Pa. $5; Fort Worth, Texas $10; Haddon Heights, N.J. $50; Hemet, Calif. $19.75; Huron, Ohio $5; Jamestown, N.Y. $5; Jemison, Ala. $15; Lansdowne, Pa. $50; La Porte, Ind. $2; Martinez, Calif. $10; Medford Lakes, N.J. $10; Menden, Conn. $10; Monmouth, Oregon $5; Norfolk, Va. $10; North St. Paul, Minn. $10; Ozone Park, N.Y. $41.65; Philadelphia, Pa. $5; Pitman, N.J. $48; Roseville, Calif. $5; St. Petersburg, Fla. $6; Sarasota, Fla. $5; Spring City, Tenn. $5; Tulsa, Okla. $23. Total: $466.40.

Brantford, Ontario $5; Forteau, Labrador $1; Islington, Ontario $30. Leduc, Alta. $2. Total: C$38.00.

Zaandam, Holland Fl. 64.00.
Lohja, Finland Sw.Kr. 10.00.
Bangalore, India Rs. 25, Rs. 40. Total: Rs.65.00.

AESCHI, 1969

If the Lord so wills, the conference in Aeschi, Switzerland, will be for the period:
Saturday evening, 6th September, to
Monday morning, 15th September, 1969
Further details and forms of application for accommodation, which will be available in English, French and German, can be obtained from:
The Conference Secretary,
Witness and Testimony Literature Trust,
39, Honor Oak Road,
London, S.E. 23, England. [46/47]


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)
   (Some Considerations on the Prayer-Life)   3/6 ($0.75)
   THE LORD JESUS CHRIST   2/9 ($0.58)
IN CHRIST   2/- ($0.42)
HIS GREAT LOVE   1/6 ($0.32)
UNION WITH CHRIST   1/6 ($0.32)
   (Incorporating Union with Christ in Consecration,    
   The Ministry of Elijah and Stewardship)    
CHRIST -- ALL, AND IN ALL   8d ($0.15)
"I WILL OVERTURN"   6d ($0.10)
THE SUPREME VOCATION 6d each ($0.10)
  or 5/- per dozen ($1.00)
A GOOD WARFARE 6d each ($0.10)
  or 5/- per dozen ($1.00)
WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN? 6d each ($0.10)
  or 5/- per dozen ($1.00)
6d ($0.10)
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)
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:
39 Honor Oak 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 [48/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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