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

"The Testimony of Jesus"
Revelation 1:9

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November -- December, 1969 Vol. 47, No. 6



Messages at the conference in Aeschi (Switzerland) 1969


"The word of the Lord came unto me, saying ... What seest thou? ... The word of the Lord came unto me the second time, saying, What seest thou?" (Jeremiah 1:11, 13).

"Then said the Lord unto me, What seest thou?" (Jeremiah 24:3).

"The angel that talked with me ... said unto me, What seest thou?" (Zechariah 4:1-2).

"The burden ... which Isaiah ... did see" (Isaiah 13:1).

"And he said, ... What seest thou?" (Amos 8:2).

WHAT a very great deal was bound up with this interrogating and challenging method of the Lord with His Prophets! The history and destiny of individuals, of the chosen nation, and of the nations, were involved in what they were able to answer. We are not here concerned with the specific answers that they gave, but we are very seriously concerned with the principle governing this so great ministry. In what we are going to say we feel that we are touching one of the most vital factors, if not actually the most vital factor in spiritual history. It is with us, as with them, a "Burden", something weighty and demanding, for, as we have said, the spiritual history and destiny of God's people are bound up with it; and who is not concerned with that ?

Extra weight is given to this matter when we realize that at a certain time in the life of God's people the function of the Prophets took preeminence over all other functions. Kings and Priests came under the Prophet's power. Perhaps it ought not to have been so, but there it was, and it has become the accepted way of defining even the offices of the greatest of all -- our Lord Jesus Christ -- as Prophet, Priest and King; giving the prophetic function priority. The reason for this is very clear when we remind ourselves that the function of the Prophet was to set forth, represent, and battle for God's full and final thought concerning His people. The true Prophet has the sovereign [121/122] support of God in a way that, sooner or later, his ministry will be fully vindicated, and destiny will be determined be it. Thus it is that we must recognize that, while God may appoint some servants particularly to this ministry, and qualify accordingly, the ministry itself is to be so embodied in the people that they become its expression, that is, the representation of God's whole mind and intention.

When we move among the true Prophets of God we find ourselves in an atmosphere of real and intense concern. It is almost the atmosphere of emergency and crisis. Here everything is positive, momentous, urgent, serious. The Prophet is a man of passion. Reality is the passion of this ministry, and any artificiality or pretense is intolerable.

Having said that, we are brought to the two main things which lie behind this present consideration. They are: the seeing and what is to be seen; the principle and the message. But, do let it be understood that, while you may not think of yourself as the messenger or the prophet, your spiritual history and destiny are inseparably bound up with the principle and the message being true in your own case. We embark, then, upon two very big and important matters.


This is contained in the second word of the Divine interrogation -- "What seest thou?"

We shall all agree that seeing governs progress, assurance, and safety.

Without sight progress is, at best, limited. To the blind the range and distance of unaided movement are restricted. There is also a real element of uncertainty, tentativeness, and question. Further life for the unseeing is an unco-ordinated life. It is lonely and largely isolated.

It was just like this in the life of the Prophets, and we could quote from them immensely as they pronounced upon it. The New Testament very largely has to do with this very matter, and it is most emphatic that spiritual seeing governs all spiritual progress, competence, assurance, reliability, and service. The great Apostle Paul with his life and ministry put it all down to this one basic thing: God revealed His Son in him. God shone into his heart; and he said that his life-ministry was "to open their eyes" (Acts 26:18). Jesus said much about it, and, by one tremendous act, showed that sight is a birthright. It was to the man born blind that He gave sight; this was a "sign" of the spiritual heritage of the 'newborn'.

The New Testament is very positive that we shall only make spiritual progress, and not be either arrested, turned aside, misled, deceived, or robbed of our assurance, as we "walk in light", as we have "the Spirit of wisdom and revelation". In other words, as we see! Further, the whole matter of coordination in the Body of Christ, the Church, and the churches, is itself dependent upon oneness of vision. It is essential to be of one mind by one seeing. Weakness, erratic progress, lack of effectiveness, and marred testimony are all traceable to difference in vision, therefore of objective.

Paul spoke of fighting so as not to be beating the air. There is a touch of humour in that. He had evidently seen some boxers using tremendous force and being desperately in earnest, but landing it in the air and really hitting nothing. Every boxer of repute knows how important his eyes are in a contest.

Our spiritual progress, strength, and ultimate attainment depend upon initial and continually growing spiritual seeing! The times sadly need such people. In all your praying pray persistently for spiritual sight!

Now we come to the main part of our present "burden" and purpose; the emphasis is on the first word of God's challenge:

"WHAT seest thou?"

This is going to lead us a very long way, and into very great truths. We must, however, begin here by putting it to you. What would be your answer if you were asked: 'What do you see as to the inclusive thought of God for this present dispensation? What is God doing in this age? What are His people now, and what is the explanation of His dealings with them? Who are you? What are you?'

It is the answer to these questions and challenges that engages us now and in the following chapters. May the Lord help us to put it clearly and help you to see it unto His final satisfaction! If this is really a matter of serious concern to you, you will be willing to compass much ground with us, for "there is much land to be possessed". So very much is bound up with that spirit and disposition expressed in those words: "If by any means I may attain." The Bible does show us that the people who really 'attained' were the people who meant business with God; and, on the other hand, those who made shipwreck of their lives were those who did not so mean business.

Well: What seest thou?

The New Testament is built upon the Old Testament, and the Old Testament is -- in the main -- the history of God's elect. The first flash of light is in that dark hour of man's deflection when God intimated [122/123] that there would be an elect Seed (Genesis 3:15). The thin red line of that "Seed" runs on with a few individuals known as Patriarchs until it reaches a man called Abram. With and from him the river broadens into a nation, and from that point the Bible is wholly the book of the history of that nation for forty-two generations (Matthew 1:17). So that the New Testament is preponderatingly built upon the history of Israel. In the New Testament the Old Testament is quoted some two hundred and seventy-three times and mainly in connection with Israel. The many and varied phases of light and shade in that nation's history are drawn upon for exhortation, admonition, inspiration and solemn warning. Again and again some aspect of Israel's life is taken up to support, illuminate, reenforce an appeal or a warning being made to Christians.

The life and history of Israel are recapitulated and relived in the history of Christianity, but with this major difference: in the Old Testament it is temporal, earthly. In the New Testament it is spiritual, heavenly, eternal.

With the New Testament the days of the historical Israel are numbered, and that nation is rejected. All its temporal system is wound up and done with, and its spiritual principles are passed into another nation and constitute it the new Israel. We make this statement of facts, and presently we shall be enlarging upon them.

In effect the New Testament is the continuation of all that was spiritually true of the Old Testament Israel on the Divine side. The New Testament takes up, not the things and literal history of the old Israel, but the meaning and spiritual principles of their history.

Consequently, the Church of the New Testament is Israel in a heavenly and spiritual form. Everything that was in the earthly life of the Old Testament Israel is now taken up spiritually for either the constitution of the Church, or for its warning. The Church is reliving the life of Israel on a heavenly and spiritual basis. Hence, the Church is called "the Israel of God" (Galatians 6:16 and context) and Peter, having himself passed through the great transition, transfers the major characterizations of historic Israel to the spiritual Church. (See Matthew 21:42-44, and 1 Peter 2:6-10.) We are going to take up as many aspects of this as we can in order to answer the governing question: What seest thou?"


That phrase employed by the Apostle Paul was used to sum up the whole substance and issues of his life-ministry (Acts 28:20). You will observe that in the defence made by Paul before Agrippa he narrated the story of his life as a Jew, and now in his Roman prison he meets the Jews in Rome and tells them that he is there as a prisoner for "the hope of Israel".

What was the hope of Israel? While there were many things included in that hope, the inclusiveness was a Person, and that Person was called (in Hebrew) the Messiah. It would require a whole volume to cover all the ground of the Messiah and the Messianic hope in the Old Testament. Some of it will come out as we proceed, but that Person dominates the Old Testament from Genesis 3 onward. He is implicit in personal and symbolic types; He is "the Prophet" which was to come, He is the Prophet which the Lord told Moses He would raise up 'like unto him' (or, "as He had raised him -- Moses -- up"); He was "the root of David" 'David's Son', the "Branch", the "Servant of Jehovah", etc. All the many and various titles and designations, functions and offices, intentions and promises were embodied in that One Person -- the coming Redeemer, King, and Salvation, whose name was "Messiah" -- and He was "the Hope of Israel".

How very significant and impressive it is, therefore, that that name, with all its content, is so fully taken over into the New Testament. This is -- for many Christians -- somewhat veiled or obscured by the change of language. So often in our own English language we commonly use two words which mean the same thing, but do not realize that they belong to two different languages. For instances we often hear people trying to give emphasis to a thought or feeling by saying: 'Let it be living and vital!' 'Living' is English. 'Vital' is Latin or French. The meaning is identical in each language. So it is with this word "Messiah". That is Hebrew (Mashiach) and means "the Lord's Anointed". The exact New Testament equivalent or synonym is "Christ".

It is very impressive that this word or name occurs over five hundred and twenty times in the New Testament, and it would be quite correct, and significant, if we did as one version has done and every time we come on "Christ" just say "Messiah". An extra, and tremendously significant factor is that this Hebrew-Greek name is used so very largely in writings to Gentile Christians! [123/124]

What then arises? The Messiah -- "Hope of Israel" -- is the Christ of Christianity, and Jesus of Nazareth is He. What a content! All that was rightly in the Coming One of Israel's hope is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, but with this difference: Israel's "Hope" was earthly, temporal, material. The Church's attainment unto it all is heavenly, spiritual, eternal. Israel's expectation was every temporal, earthly blessing. The Church's heritage (now) is "every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies".

We are bound to come on this again later. There is the further feature to be observed. Israel lived for the day of Messiah's appearing when all their earthly expectations would be realized. For the Church He has come and accomplished all that is necessary for that realization, but she lives for the day of His appearing when what He did will be the entire order of heaven and earth. So Peter who, as we have said, had, after a big battle, made the great spiritual transition, writing to converted Jews said: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Messiah), who according to his great mercy begat us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Messiah) from the dead, unto an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven ..." (1 Peter 1:3-4).

Every word of that statement should be weighed as a contrast to Israel's hope and inheritance.

"Living hope." "Resurrection" (Old Israel is not now in resurrection).

"Inheritance." "Incorruptible." "Undefiled." 'Unfading.' "In heaven."

This is indeed a great transition from one Israel to another! One inheritance defiled, corrupted, and faded away. (See 1 Thessalonians 2:14b-16.) The other Israel -- the Church -- (Galatians 6:16 and Hebrews) with the incorruptible, undefiled, unfading, heavenly inheritance.

What ought to follow now is a long consideration of what was in Israel's "Hope" which has been transferred, in a spiritual way at present to the Church, but this is not a series of volumes, and we are only indicating major foundation facts. Much more will surely come out as we go along. But let us just quote the words of one writer in this connection:

"Jesus of Nazareth needed no outward enthronement or local seat of government on earth to constitute Him of David's kingdom, as He needed no physical anointing to consecrate Him Priest for evermore, or material altar or temple for due presentation of His acceptable service. Being the Son of the Living God, and, as Son, the Heir of all things, He possessed from the first, the powers of the Kingdom; and proved that He possessed them in every authoritative word He uttered, every work of deliverance He performed, every judgment He pronounced, every act of mercy and forgiveness He dispensed, and the resistless control He wielded over the elements of nature, and the realms of the dead. These were the signs of royalty He bore about with Him upon the earth; and wonderful though they were -- eclipsing in royal grandeur all the glory of David and Solomon -- they were still but the earlier preludes of the peeress majesty which David from afar described when he saw Him as his Lord, seated in royal state at His Father's right hand, and on which He formally entered when He ascended up on high with the word: 'All authority is given unto me in heaven and on earth.'"

At the end of the stormy and disturbed four hundred years between the Old Testament and the New there existed a small Jewish remnant of faithful and "devout" men and women in Jerusalem still looking and longing for the coming of Messiah. Of these Simeon was representative, and it is said of him that "the Holy Spirit was upon him". He was "looking for the consolation of Israel", and it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ (Messiah)". "He came in the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus ... he received him into his arms, and blessed God, and said ... Mine eyes have seen thy salvation ... the glory of thy people Israel". And he said: "This child is set for the falling and rising up of many in Israel; and for a sign which is spoken against" (Luke 2:25-35). That whole passage needs to be carefully considered in the light of this whole subject of Israel's Messiah being the Church's Christ through the Cross.

But a question presses for an answer. Who was this Messiah-Christ, and when was He anointed?

We know that "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth, who went about doing good ...", and we know that anointing took place immediately after His baptism at the Jordan. But, before He was Jesus of Nazareth, He was the Son of God, and before times eternal He was "appointed heir of all things" (Hebrews 1:2). Further, we know that through, by and unto Him "all things have been created" (Colossians 1:16).

There was a great and high angelic being who was called "the anointed cherub that covereth" (Ezekiel 28:14).

Two things emerge from all this. One is that the eternal Son was above all other beings, and "so much better than the angels" (Hebrews 1:4), even Lucifer; and the other, that the anointing at Jordan [124/125] was related to His work of redemption by the Cross (the Spirit always follows the altar, the blood, the Cross), and that by the anointing He was spiritually and officially constituted Prophet, Priest, and King. This is foreshadowed and typified in the Old Testament, and taught as actuality in the New Testament. This is our Christ, the Messiah of the new Israel.

(To be continued)

A message given by Mr. Poul Madsen at the Aeschi Conference, Switzerland,
in September, 1969


"For the word of the cross is to them that are perishing foolishness; but unto us which are being saved it is the power of God" (1 Corinthians 1:18).

"Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and fill up on my part that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church; whereof I was made a minister, according to the dispensation of Cod which was given me to your-ward, to preach fully the word of God" (Colossians 1:24-25).

I CANNOT tell you how grateful I am to be among you, and to meet old friends whom I have not seen for twenty-one years. Some of us were together at Kilcreggan, Scotland, in 1948, and for me that was a time of very real importance. There the Lord gave me two things: a new Bible -- a new revelation; and new friends -- a new experience of fellowship in the Lord. And those two things have stood the test of time. It was not just a time of emotion, but some days when the Lord did a lasting work in us.

Some of use have been through many things during the last twenty-one years. We have had many joys, some trials, some sorrows, some difficulties, and quite a number of things which we would not have chosen ourselves; and through all these things we have proved and experienced that the preaching of the Cross is truly the power of God. The word of the Cross has brought us through. A sentimental word could not have done that. A superficial word would not have been able to carry us right through, but the word of the Cross has actually and truly brought us through many, many different things; and the word of the Cross is actually the Word of God, touching all aspects life.


The word of the Cross is a word out of darkness and suffering: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" That was a word out of utter darkness, and you find it throughout the Bible. It was the word of David. Again and again he cried: "Why, my God? Why?" It was the word of the prophets, and it was the word of Job. It was a word of suffering, but not of despair, a word out of deep trial, but not of rebellion; and a word out of that experience has power -- and how that word has helped us!


The word of the Cross is also a word of deep, deep thirst, a longing to see the Lord's plan of salvation fulfilled. How I long to see the full salvation of my God! That also is a word throughout the whole Bible. The Lord said: "I thirst", and David did the same; so did the prophets. No one in touch with reality and in touch with God can come through on his own. He has a thirst in him for the realization of the Divine plan of salvation. How often we have been in difficulties and in situations where this thirst was felt in our innermost being! And how the word of the Cross has been a power to bring us through when we felt our thirst!


The word of the Cross is also a word of true triumph, not a superficial, cheap victory, but true triumph: "It is finished!" We find throughout the Bible that in the hours of deepest suffering the Lord's saints have been enabled to triumph, and I repeat, not a cheap, superficial victory. It is not only an emotional thing, but true victory that can stand even in the sight of God. How the word of the Cross has helped us, even in hours of deep darkness, to triumph through Him!


The word of the Cross is a word of deep, deep [125/126] rest. The waves were high, the enemy was seemingly triumphant, the darkness was heavy, but, in spite of all that, the word of the Cross gave us the deepest rest in our Lord. "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit." Sacrificing everything, even Himself, He was in the deepest rest in the will of His Father. Losing everything, His rest of faith was triumphant; and you will find that everywhere throughout the Scriptures. It is the word of the Cross, the eternal Word of God. "Though the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines, the labour of the olive shall fail ... yet I will joy in the God of my salvation" (Habakkuk 3:17-18). How the word of the Cross has enabled us, through many trials, to be quiet in our Lord, the Lord of our salvation! The enemy has been very busy and our nerves were very weak, but the word of His power brought deep rest to our innermost being.


The word of the Cross is also a word of love -- not cheap love, but Divine love: "Father, forgive them." One of our leaders in Denmark, who is not a Christian, said publicly: 'I do not know the truth, but this is the biggest word ever spoken to mankind: "Father, forgive them."' And then he added: 'It might well be the truth!' And you find it throughout the whole Bible. David prayed for Saul, the prophets prayed for Jerusalem and for their enemies. Nothing can create this love in us except the word of His powers the word of the Cross.

In the last twenty-one years we have been tempted quite often to bitterness, or to fight with carnal weapons. How wonderful it is when the word of His power creates in us who are being saved the love of God!


The word of the Cross is the word of fellowship: "Woman, behold thy son ... Son, behold thy mother." I have not seen my two brethren here during these twenty-one years, and yet I say: 'Behold, my brothers.' That is the power of the word of the Cross, making us a new family; not founded on an emotional basis, but in spirit and in truth.

So I can testify to the power of the preaching of the Cross. "Unto us which are being saved it is the power of God." And it has brought us through. Signs could not help us. Sensationalism had no power to help us. The wisdom of men could not bring us through, but this word has actually proved its power in bringing all of us through. And now my own great wish is to be enabled to preach that word of the Cross; it may be that the Lord has given us some time here in order to enable us to preach that word, but without some practical identification with those who spoke the word of the Cross fully, how could one expect to preach that message?


The word of the Cross requires the spirit of the Cross, and thus Paul says that he rejoices in his sufferings. It had something to do with his ministry, for through the many sufferings he was enabled to preach the word of the Cross fully. Preaching is not only saying correct things according to Scripture; it has to convey the Spirit, the life of Him who spoke the word from His Cross. So it is not possible to preach the word of power without one's self being identified with Him who spoke from His Cross. That might explain many things in the past twenty-one years.

We are living through very difficult days. In Denmark, at least, the darkness is very, very heavy, and we have experienced that nothing of a superficial, easy-going Christianity can really bring true help. We are not fighting against flesh and blood, but are involved in some measure in a cosmic warfare, and we do not want only to touch the brains of men. We want really to touch deep down in human lives. As we have ourselves experienced the power of that word, not given us with very great manifestations, but in truth and in the spirit, then we know out of our own experience what to do. We want to be identified with our crucified Lord and Saviour. We want -- I have to say this carefully, but I must say it -- the sufferings which come out of obedience. We want, in days such as these, fully and truly to avoid the popular and to accept the truth. Therefore, my dear friends, we are not looking for signs, nor do we want the wisdom of this age, but the power of the Cross is the thing that we are seeking.

I guess that we are gathered here together during these days for this very reason. I have been to many conferences during the past twenty-one years. I save sponsored many myself. I have forgotten most of what has been said in all these conferences. Very much of it was very wonderful, as far as the emotions were concerned, but what has been left with me, what has stood the test of time and trial, what has kept me in the true fellowship of the Lord's saints, was the preaching of the Cross.

And, as I started by saying, it has been wonderful [126/127] to come back now and to look back over twenty-one years with some of you.

The word of the Cross that goes forth from the mouth of the Lord has never returned unto Him void, and so I suggest that we, during these few days, seek the Lord's face together, asking Him to renew all of us, especially those in the ministry of the Word, that we, in our generation, can bring the word of His power so that, if we meet again in twenty-one years, we shall see then that that word of the Cross was effective and powerful, that it gave us new revelation, a new sense of fellowship, and was so powerful that it brought us through the coming twenty-one years with all their trials and sufferings. It shall be done! - P. M.

A message given by Mr. W. E. Thompson at the conference in Aeschi, Switzerland, 1969


"And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city, and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven, and let us make us a name; lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth" (Genesis 11:3-4).

"Now I Paul myself intreat you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I who in your presence am lowly among yon, but being absent am of good courage toward you: yea, I beseech you, that I may not when present shew courage with the confidence wherewith I count to be bold against some, which count of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh (for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the casting dozen of strong holds); casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:1-5).

WE are conscious in these days here that we are dealing with things that are in considerable contrast to the Christian world outside. It is the contrast between the heavenly and the human; the contrast between that which is born of the flesh and that which is born of the Spirit; the contrast between the word of the Cross, the Word of God, and just a message from man. If you read some Christian magazines you will find that you can buy sermons for ten shillings each, while if you pay twenty shillings you are guaranteed to start revival! There are many people who do not have the word of God and have to buy these sermons.

We have also seen the contrast between knowledge about God and knowledge of Him Himself, and tonight I want to consider something of that which is arrayed against the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, that which robs us of the knowledge of Him.


We read in Genesis 11 of the activity of man at, I believe, the pinnacle of his powers, the total of human ingenuity: "Let us build us a city, and a tower." Now cities are phenomena which are quite foreign to the ways of God. A city is some thing more than a concentration of people, and more than just a centre for essential services, such as hospitals, fire stations, and all the rest. A city is the centre of all man's human powers, and the development of cities in the world today is a very significant feature. The number of people living in cities has increased ten times during the last hundred years, and all across the world cities are increasing and growing at an alarming rate. In India, where I have served the Lord, the growth of cities is out of all proportion to the growth of the population, and these cities are the centre of every kind of wickedness that you can imagine. These great cities are places where ideas are manufactured to brainwash the minds of millions. You do not find an advertising agency in a village! Cities are places where it is becoming increasingly difficult for a Christian to survive, not merely because of noise and people, but because they are the strongholds of Satan. He has deceived men into thinking that their learning in the cities, and their technology is going to help them to reach heaven.

If we are really concerned with the knowledge of God I believe that we must take serious account of this fact. A characteristic of human nature is to build, and it is this characteristic that has hindered the work of God. Even when our Lord Jesus Christ [127/128] took some of His disciples up to the mount with Him and revealed to them something of His glory, gave them a glimpse of an opened heaven, what was their reaction? 'This is tremendous! Let us build! Let us hold on to this thing!' And that has been happening all down the history of the Christian church. God works, God reveals Himself, God opens heaven, and man says: 'We must make something of this!' That explains all the ruins that we have of Christian movements in the world today. This is the mind of man, human, and quite contrary to the Spirit of God.


Associated with the cities of Old Testament times were the centres of religious worship, and in those cities there were what were known as 'high places'. These were strongholds of the worship of a heathen god. As I have been reading through the books of Kings and Chronicles in recent months I have been greatly struck with the Divine comment on the life of many kings. These were good men who carried out considerable reforms during their reigns, and of whom it could be said that they "did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord". However, they fell short in one thing. In 2 Kings 12:2 and 3 we read of King Jehoash: "And Jehoash did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord all his days wherein Jehoida the priest instructed him. Howbeit the high places were not taken away." The same was true of King Amaziah, for in chapter 14:4 we read: "Howbeit the high places were not taken away." And that was true of many of these kings. They went so far, but there was something that hindered their complete obedience and yielding to God -- "the high places were not taken away".


What are these high places? What is it that lies behind the city? It is the imaginations of man. These are the things that are exalted against the knowledge of God. Where are our strongholds? What is it that really prevents us from knowing the Lord as we want to know Him?

The Apostle Paul puts his finger upon the answer: "... Strongholds casting down imaginations." This is what lies behind so much of the false religion that we find around us. What is it that lies behind that which is against God? Before we see the answer which applies to us there in 2 Corinthians 10, I want to turn to Ezekiel 8, where I believe we get an important link between what we are trying to say this evening and what our brother is saying in the mornings.

Here in this chapter we find that Ezekiel is taken on a journey to Jerusalem. There were no newspapers or television in his day, but God does not depend upon them to inform His servants. He took Ezekiel in a vision to the temple in Jerusalem, and said (in verse 6): "Son of man, seest thou what they do? even the great abominations that the house of Israel do commit here?" I suppose Ezekiel looked at the temple and thought that it seemed perfectly all right. From an outward point of view everything seemed to be going on in a right way. The people were going through all the motions of their religion, but God said to Ezekiel: 'Come here! There is something for you to see beyond this', and God brought him right near to the wall of the temple. In verse 7 Ezekiel said: "And when I looked, behold a hole in the wall." Then God said to him: "Son of man, dig now in the wall", and as Ezekiel picked away at the plaster a door was suddenly revealed in what had seemed to be a very nice wall. He opened the door and went in -- and what did he see? We read in verse 10: "Behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel." And what does all that mean? We find the answer in verse 12: "Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in his chambers of imagery?" What are "the chambers of imagery"? The world of thoughts, the imaginations of the mind. And what do we find there? We find that of which we read in the first chapter of the letter to the Romans. They turned their backs on the true God and in their imaginations they created a god -- "and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things" (verse 23). And so we see these "high places" behind the facade of man's religion.

What about our own imaginations? What about our own thought life? I am sure that this is where the difference is felt between living in a city and living in a village! How silently and imperceptibly our minds are captivated and become strongholds, high places, exalted against the knowledge of God!


This is the battleground! This is where the battle must be won if we are to increase in the knowledge of God! Paul was one who could testify to victories in this battle. Here in 2 Corinthians 10 he is contending with men who war according to the flesh. There [128/129] is a conflict, for there are people who are opposing Paul in his ministry and in his apostleship. There are men who are trying to discredit him as a servant of God. Does Paul use their methods? No, he does not war according to the flesh. He intreats "by the meekness and gentleness of Christ", and that is the exact opposite of human achievement! This is the word and the work of the Cross. Paul meets these men, but not with carnal weapons. His strongholds are not human resources and strength, but the knowledge of God, for he has removed everything that is against the knowledge of God. In Philippians 3 we find out what Paul's 'high places' were.

The first was his race: "Of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews." Was that a qualification for the knowledge of God? As far as his personal conduct was concerned, he was a Pharisee, and was as religious as anyone could be. That was a high place to be destroyed! As far as his knowledge of the law was concerned he was wellnigh perfect -- but he cut all that off. He removed all these high places that were against the knowledge of his Lord.

What is it that is hindering us from having that kind of knowledge of our Lord? Has God put His finger on any high places in our imaginations? Are we seeking to build some great thing? We can say: 'Well, yes, but it is for the Lord.' It is amazing what we can actually do and justify as being for the Lord, when really all it is is some great thing for ourselves! But it hinders us from the knowledge of our Lord. Do we know how to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ? When we begin to do that we find what the battle for the mind really means! Is our stronghold a stronghold of our own imagination, or is it a stronghold that is the city of God?

I want, in closing, to call your attention to that kind of stronghold in Isaiah 26:1, where we have these words: "We have a strong city." In the middle of verse 3 we read: "Whose imagination is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." This is the strong city! The knowledge of our Lord is perfect peace; the knowledge of our Lord is perfect strength; the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ is victory. May we know what it is to remove every high place that robs us of that, and may we have that knowledge, for His Name's sake! - W. E.T.



[Harry Foster]

THE Finnish merchant was at Helsinki Airport waiting to take a plane to Milan in Italy when he was met by an official who asked him if he would do a favour for the sake of his country. The favour would be to take a parcel of valuable glassware and keep it carefully on his lap during the whole flight. Although not wanting to have the bother, he was a man who was always ready to serve his country, so he said 'Yes'; but he was very inquisitive to know the meaning of this unusual request.

He looked around and found that other passengers were being asked the same question, and it seemed that they also were agreeing, as they, too, were being issued with parcels of various shapes and sizes.

The explanation was that a Trade Exhibition was being held in Milan and that Finland had planned to display the superb glass articles made by one of its great artists. Everything had been arranged in good time, and the artist had provided some of his very best workmanship. It had been crated and sent off to Italy, but, alas! when the packing cases were opened it was found that the precious objects had been smashed to pieces.

At first those responsible were in despair, but they appealed to the artist in Finland to know if there could possibly be any replacements. The specimens of his work which had been broken were the only ones available, so at first the artist was also near to despair, and then he suddenly had an idea. He had made similar works of art as presents for his friends, and if they could only be collected from the various homes, they could take the place of the broken exhibits, that is, if the friends were willing to lend their precious treasures.

The telephone wires hummed as he called to one and another and explained the urgent situation asking them to be so kind as to lend their glassware for the Milan International Fair. Each one of them gladly responded, not only out of regard for their artist friend, but also for the honour of their beloved Finland. [129/130]

So the articles were assembled and each carefully wrapped, but then came the problem of how to get them safely and quickly to Milan. It was a double problem: first, how to avoid breaking anything this time, and then also how to get them there in time for the opening day.

The artist and his friends appealed to the Government, and someone there had this idea: Why not ask patriotic Finnish air travellers to carry them by hand? So this was why the merchant and his fellow passengers found themselves sitting in the plane, each with a precious parcel on his lap.

The idea proved a great success. All the beautiful glass objects arrived safely, and just in time for them to be taken to the exhibition, arranged and displayed, so that they were ready for the opening.

At first it seemed a trouble to the Helsinki merchant, and he was far from pleased to be asked to carry his parcel, but soon he realized that it was, in fact, a privilege. He found, too, that it gave him many new friends. He was no longer a separate and lonely passenger, but one of a party all sharing in the excitement of their task. They were drawn together by the special parcels which they carried, and in the end they all rejoiced together over its success.

Christians should also be drawn together by the privilege given to them of carrying something precious on life's journey. What we carry is the honour of the Name of our Lord, committed to us to be watched over and kept for Him until we finally hand it over to Him on the great Day of His appearing. Timothy was told: "Guard the treasure put into our charge, with the help of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us" (2 Timothy 1:14, N.E.B.).

I am sure that those passengers were extra careful of every movement when they embarked and travelled, and then as they landed. This was no ordinary journey for them. And for us, like Timothy, if we are true lovers of the Lord there is nothing in life which is ordinary. Wherever we go we are privileged to bear about the great treasure of the honour of His Name. - H. F.


[Harry Foster]

Reading: Habakkuk 2:2-4, 20; Zechariah 2:1-13.

Do you notice the similarity between the last verses of the second chapters of those two prophecies?

"But the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him" (Habakkuk 2:20).

"Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord; for he is walked up out of his holy habitation" (Zechariah 2:13).

WHERE is the Lord? That is a most important question! Where is the Lord? Now, seventy years of history lie between these two prophecies, perhaps even more, because Habakkuk's prophecy was anticipating the end of the captivity. He had a vision; indeed, he had something so plainly set before his eyes that we hardly need to call it a vision. He lived in the midst of circumstances which can only be described under one word -- destruction. You know how he saw the falling to pieces of his land and of his people, and how that -- far from being comforted in the sense of any suggestion that that was just a temporary thing that would not go very far -- he was told by the Lord that the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, were to sweep like a flood over the whole land and destroy it. And you know how he finished his prophecy with those verses that we like to quote, that, though the fig tree shall not blossom nor fruit be in the vines, and everything is going wrong, yet we will still praise the Lord. We need to remember that, when Habakkuk said that, he was not talking about a remote contingency that might or might not happen, but that all these things were going to happen. 'This is happening before my eyes, but though it happen as a certain, sure, inevitable course of events, I will rejoice in the Lord!' Habakkuk was given a vision from God that there was that which was yet to be: "For the vision is yet for the appointed time, and it hasteth toward the end, and shall not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not delay."

We have read one of the chapters of this book of Zechariah which speaks to us of the partial and immediate fulfilment of that promise. The vision has come; the Lord is at work; glory, blessing and fruitfulness are to dwell in the land. There is restoration and so the picture is painted in rosy language. There are beautiful portions in this prophecy, speaking, of course, of something far more than Zechariah actually saw, but speaking, in the first place, of what the Lord was doing there, so that he, all those years afterwards, was living in [130/131] the fulfilment of the things that had been promised, and he, and those of his day, had ample reason to know that the Lord was in His holy temple. After all, in spite of the captivity, in spite of the destruction of Jerusalem, in spite of the long, dreary, terrible years of scattering and the apparent ending of all things, the Lord has returned and is working; things are happening and glory is back in the land. The people are there, and the house of the Lord is to be built, so he could say: 'It is all right! After all, the Lord is in His holy temple!' But the remarkable thing is that, years before that, with nothing to see, no sign of glory, everything seeming to contradict the promises of god, and surrounded by devastation and destruction, Habakkuk could say the same thing: 'It is all right! The Lord is in his holy temple!'

I trust that I shall be able to impart something of what has come to my own heart as to the need and the blessedness of maintaining the testimony here on earth that the Lord is in His temple and is supreme. As we have said, Habakkuk only saw destruction, Zechariah was seeing construction. When Zechariah saw things happening he could say: "The Lord is in his holy temple", and so could we and so could any man. But when Habakkuk saw nothing happening, but rather the reverse, he could still say: "The Lord is in his holy temple", and for seventy years at least, so far as Jerusalem and the people there were concerned, with no visible token and everything seeming to be contradictory, a strain was placed upon their faith as to whether after all the Lord was in His holy temple -- but He was! In the end it is proved that He was.


And so we must believe that the Lord is just as much in His place of heavenly government during events of destruction as He is or will be during the subsequent events of construction. The nations were having it their own way, the Chaldeans were over-running everything, catching men in their nets and destroying the places that were sacred to the people of God, and there was no answer from heaven. The fig tree literally did cease to blossom, there was no longer any herd in the stall, and the whole possibility of tragedy that could be became true. What was happening? Had God withdrawn? God is in His holy temple, and even in the midst of all that was happening faith said: "Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord!" Although they did not know it, these men of flesh were, in a sense, bowing to the Lord in His holy temple. They were serving the purpose of God, and through all that period of the most terrible destruction He was in His holy temple: and faith looked forward to the day of which Zechariah now speaks, when that Lord in His holy temple (using a human figure of speech) would wake up out of His holy habitation and begin His work, begin to build things, to fashion them according to His own mind and have His will done. That did not mean that He had been asleep and indifferent during that whole time. The whole process of destruction that had been going on was under the eye and the hand of God. God was in His holy temple. There was nothing to see; in fact, everything contradicted it; but there was a day in the future when He would begin to build up that which was after His own mind, and that day would he possible because previously he had used the forces of destruction to prepare the way for Himself, and all through the time He had never for one moment relinquished His hold of things.

The children of Israel were scattered to the four winds. There was a terrible captivity in the land of the north, but Zechariah discloses the fact that this was not something that Nebuchadnezzar did. God did this. "I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven" (Zechariah 2:6). God is in His holy temple! As those poor people marched away into captivity, weighed down by their sad circumstances and hopeless future, and not less weighed down by the knowledge that it was the just retribution of their failure and unfaithfulness that brought this about, God was still in His holy temple, and the marvel of it was that, in spite of all their unfaithfulness, His hand was upon them and the purpose of good concerning them was still in His heart. 'I scattered you', He says. 'I led you away into captivity'; and then He says a remarkable thing concerning these who are among the nations being spoiled: "He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye" (Zechariah 2:8). They were a failing, unfaithful, rebellious people, upon whom the hand of God had come very heavily because of their sin, but concerning them, away in captivity, it was just as true: God was still in His holy temple.

That does not just mean that God exists, but that He, in the fullness of His love and purpose and power, is controlling things for His own glory. So great is His love that, through all the darkness of the seventy years of captivity, through the apparent hopelessness and lack of any prospect of brightness, when they might have been cast down to the depths and felt: 'Well, God is in His holy temple, but that is a God far off and finished with us because of our sins', through all that dark period it was still true that he that touched them touched the apple of His eye. In all their afflictions, God was afflicted. It was [131/132] hurting God as much as it was hurting them. He was still in His holy temple.

I am sure that a good deal of the atmosphere that surrounds the book of Habakkuk is right up to date and true concerning us and the Church today, and that the destruction that we see in the world at present is something of the same kind of thing that he faced. And I am sure I speak the truth when I say that in personal lives there are often such periods when it seems that everything is going to pieces. If the Lord were doing great things in a manifest way, saving men and gathering them together in companies, even though under persecution, yet manifesting His presence and power, it would be very easy to say: 'The Lord is in His holy temple. Look what is happening!' But when none of those things is happening, but rather the reverse, what are we going to say? Well, Habakkuk will tell us still to say: "The Lord is in his holy temple!" And so with our own individual lives, when things are moving and the Lord is doing something with us and for us, and all kinds of things are happening which are expressed in these chapters of Zechariah, we are full of confidence. It is all right! The Lord is in His holy temple, and if the devil and all his legions are against us, well, it is all right, for the Lord is in His holy temple. He is doing something and building something.


Ah, but that building work that the Lord was able to do after all those years was something that resulted from a period of destruction, and it may be that to make a clearance and a way for Himself to fashion that which is after His own heart, the Lord may have to lead us through a period which is comparable to that of which Habakkuk speaks, when the only signs are signs of desolation, signs of loss and signs of failure. What are we going to do then? Habakkuk says: 'I will rejoice in the Lord! I cannot rejoice in what He is doing for me. I cannot rejoice in what I am doing for the Lord, for it seems that I am doing nothing, but I will rejoice in the Lord. He is still in His holy temple!' And the inference of that is that God knows what He is doing. 'I do not know what He is doing, but I do know that, if faith will abide firm, if the righteous one will live by faith, there will come a day when I shall be able to say: "The Lord is waked up out of His holy temple. The Lord is doing things, for the time has come for Him to build!" When that time comes, well, then, everything will be fitted according to His working.' Surely the need is for this assurance as to where God is! Not just that: "God's in His heaven, all's right with the world", but that He is in charge of every circumstance. In all the power of Divine love and purpose concerning His people, He is still in His holy temple.

Then there is the added thought that the Lord's activities in this way -- destruction in order to build -- are always activities that have in view a larger and a better thing than was before. Do you believe that? Will you believe it for your own personal life, for your assembly, for the Church? We have seen a good deal of what Habakkuk saw -- scattering, breaking up, loss of power and loss of prospect. By faith we must say: 'No! This is not just an accident. This is but a phase of Divine activity. Things have not got out of hand, for God is in His holy temple!' Can faith go on to say: 'The end of this is going to be something better!'?

There is a young man, though I do not know quite who he is, with a measuring line. I know that in other prophecies the measuring line represents the Lord Himself taking note and putting His own standard beside things, but the thought that seems to me to be given here is that this young man was rather precipitate in wanting to measure things. It brings to my own heart the thought of the old folk who wept because the old temple was so much more glorious than the new one. This young man is anxious to know what the size of Jerusalem is going to be. 'It used to be a very strong city, but let me measure it and see what it is now!' And the angel says: 'Just a minute, young man! Jerusalem is going to be inhabited as a place which has expanded beyond its walls. It is going to be so large, so expansive, so full of people, yes, and so strong, that your little measuring line will not touch that which is to be afterward!' God's "afterward" is always something bigger than it was before. As to the walls, they were measured in the past. Now the walls shall be the Lord Himself "a wall of fire" -- and you cannot measure fire. This is something beyond measure, something bigger, something in the power of resurrection, something after a different order from what ever was before. The Lord will be the walls, "a wall of fire round about"! The inhabitants shall be without number, multitudes of men and camels. Solomon's temple was a fine one, but is it possible for the preciousness, the beauty, the glory, to be any better? "I will be the glory in the midst of her." Do you catch the thought? God's permission of destruction, and that long period of barrenness which seems to be endless, until Zechariah is forced to cry out and ask: 'Lord, after seventy years, is it not time to begin to move?', has not been without usefulness for the end in the purpose of God, and the end as it shall [132/133] be is something far more beautiful and wonderful, and far bigger than ever was before. He is the Lord of resurrection, a new order of things, new glory. "I will be a wall of fire round about and I will be the glory in the midst" -- God is waking up out of His holy habitation.

It takes real faith, tried faith, almost desperate faith to wait for God to wake up out of His holy habitation. When the Lord said to Habakkuk: "The just shall live by faith", Habakkuk took up his position: 'God is in His holy temple, and whatever happens, I will trust and rejoice in Him!' I do not know whether he lived during those seventy years, but he was embarked on a very difficult course and he had to wait and wait. But what a reward for those who waited! 'The vision will not delay; it will surely come.' And if you read asking whether it was worth waiting for -- well, read the chapters of Zechariah! Yes, blessed be His Name, it was! "God is in his holy temple."


There is something more to say in conclusion, and it is this. This matter of God dwelling in the midst of His people is for us a matter of faith, and a matter about which we must be quite settled. We must be sure that God is in His holy temple, not merely in the sense of being in heaven and far above all, but in the midst of His people. I know that this diverges somewhat from what I have been saying, because there was a sense in which the vision was only completed when God came down to dwell in the midst of His people, but the secret of the whole book is the Lord Himself dwelling in the midst. For us these two visions overlap in a sense. The vision has already been realized for us, and God has already done His work and does dwell in the midst and that becomes for us a matter of real faith. I have been struck by the fact that in Old Testament days and in New Testament days the conduct of the Lord's people was governed, not by the thought that if they behaved in certain ways the Lord would come and dwell with them, but rather that, because the Lord was in their midst, they must act accordingly. 'God is in the midst. Therefore I must do certain things in a certain way.'

But when I take up the New Testament and turn to a church such as that at Corinth, where there are all kinds of disorders, I expect the Apostle to take this line: 'Well, you are a poor lot of believers! Do you think the Lord is coming to meet with you? Put your house in order and then the Lord might come and be in your midst!' I do not find him talking like that, but rather, in spite of what he has to deplore in their midst, not only being himself convinced that since they are the Lord's the Lord is among them, but trying to get them to see it. If only they can see it and know it spiritually, he believes that will solve all their problems. Take, for instance, 2 Corinthians 6:16: "Ye are the temple of the living God." He does not say: 'You ought to be the temple of the living God, and you may be, given certain circumstances.' No: "Ye are the temple of the living God, as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." Now he goes on to say: "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate." The first letter is altogether taken up with exhortations to change behaviour, attitude and conduct, and this fact is stated as something to be apprehended, to be laid hold of: 'God is in the midst, and many of your problems will be solved if, in the power of the Spirit, you could believe that.' If, in the depth of heart consciousness and conviction, for personal life and for assembly life when we are gathered together, faith would lay hold of this fact: 'The Lord is in the midst!', many problems would be solved.

Well, I have sought as the Lord has, I trust, enabled me, just to bring this little emphasis to you: God is in His holy temple. Sometimes that means there needs to be a work of destruction, but He is just as much in His holy temple and He loves us just as much, and we are just as much the apple of His eye. But faith may wait expectantly for a time of construction when God wakes out of His temple. What a blessed day that is! What blessings have come to our lives, what blessings shall we yet know, and what blessings, in the mercy of God, shall God's people know, when He is a wall of fire round about and He is the glory in the midst! - H . F. [133/134]



IN this series of messages our object has been to reemphasize the true nature of Christianity, and we have gathered that into three things -- the mission, the meaning and the message of Jesus Christ. In the four Gospels we found the foundation position of Christianity, and in the book of the Acts we saw that position preached by the Apostles and the scattered believers. There that position was demonstrated by the Holy Spirit by signs and wonders -- what the New Testament calls the 'powers', that is, the many aspects of the power of the Holy Spirit. And it might be as well for us to note that that was the object of the Holy Spirit's working at that time -- to demonstrate that the message was true, to give evidence of the truth of the foundation of Christianity. My own conviction is that the signs and wonders relate to beginnings, to the foundation position. They do not belong to the later development of spiritual life, but to the elementary stages of Christianity.

Then in the book of the Acts the position proclaimed was accepted in various degrees. What was proclaimed was received with varying degrees of understanding. Some received the message very earnestly, with a whole-hearted committal to the position, and among these were the Thessalonians, the Ephesians and the Philippians. These, and those like them, made a very whole-hearted committal to the Lord, but the response of some was a compromise between Judaism and Christianity. Their attitude was that Christianity was only a plus to Judaism, and they very largely remained Christian Jews. Thus they had failed to recognize the true nature of Christianity. There were others who made a response, but with a compromise with paganism, that is, they brought over their paganism into Christianity. Of these the Corinthians are an example.

Now the letters of the New Testament were intended to explain and reaffirm the true nature of Christianity, on the one side to correct the misunderstandings, and on the other side to recover from declension. Such were the letters of John.

This is the way in which we should read the New Testament: A fundamental position made clear -- that is the Gospels. A fundamental position demonstrated -- that is the book of the Acts. Then there follows the section dealing with fundamental experience. The position is not enough: the experience must follow. So the later part of the New Testament has to do with the basic experience of the position, that is, the true nature of Christianity in spiritual experience. I will not go back over the Gospels, but let me illustrate from the Gospel by Matthew.

We have seen that the message of the Gospel by Matthew is the absolute lordship and authority of Jesus Christ. Now many people believed that as a doctrine, and accepted that as a position at the beginning of their Christianity -- as far as they understood it -- but there can be a very great difference between believing that Jesus Christ is Lord and experiencing that truth. Many of these letters in the New Testament show that the people accepted it as doctrine but did not live accordingly.

We are now going to look at the letter to the Romans, for this is a very clear example of what I have been saying. It is the foundation of Christian experience, a correction of misunderstanding and an explanation of the true foundation of experience.


Many definitions have been given to this letter. The disciples of Luther and his school have their own name for it. The reformers always called this letter to the Romans by one name, and most of you will know what that is, but I am going to use one title for this letter. It is a phrase found in a later translation: "Right standing with God" -- a position which is absolutely acceptable to God. Everybody will agree that it is essential to true spiritual experience! That is not only the position of the New Testament -- it is the issue of the whole Bible. Before God can do anything in any life there must be a right position with Him. You will remember how often in the Old Testament God had to stand back from men until they got into a right position with Him, and that is brought out so dearly in the New Testament. It decides everything as to whether God is going on with us and we are going on with God. If God is not going on with you, then examine your position in relation to God. He is waiting for something, and that is your adjustment to Him.

Let us take a very simple example in the Old Testament. You remember the Prophet Elijah. After that great event on Mount Carmel Jezebel, the queen, threatened his life. Now we are not going to blame Elijah, for if we do we shall be blaming ourselves! Jezebel threatened his life, and [134/135] then Elijah fled for his life. He fled to try and save his life. The next thing we see is Elijah under a juniper tree and saying: 'Lord, take away my life.' What does the Lord do? Does He get under the juniper tree with Elijah and say: 'Poor Elijah, I am so sorry for you!'? No, He stands outside and says: "What doest thou here, Elijah?" In effect, the Lord said: 'I am not going to get under juniper trees, Elijah. That is not the right position with Me. If you, Elijah, want Me to go on with you, get out from under your juniper tree. I am not coming on to your ground -- you must come on to Mine!' The juniper tree is a cul-de-sac, and the Lord does not believe in those things. We must be in a right standing with God if He is going on with us. That is the message or the letter to the Romans.


As you know, the first five chapters of this letter are divided into two sections. The first section has to do with the pagan world, and the second section has to do with the Jewish world, and at that time these two sections comprised the whole world. The Holy Spirit, through the Apostle Paul, shows that both sections -- that is, the whole human race -- are not on good standing with God. The whole race has fallen out of God, and it is in that context that the mission, meaning and message of Jesus Christ are presented in the New Testament. It is in that relationship that the Lord Jesus is introduced, and He is introduced as the representative Man. You will see in chapter 5 how He is connected with Adam, and in chapter 4 He is connected with Abraham. He is of the seed of Abraham. Adam represents the human race as a whole, and Abraham represents the human race in Israel, but all are gathered together on to this ground: Not one man is found to be in right standing with God. The statement here is: "There is none righteous, no, not one" (3:10).

From chapter 5 we move into chapter 6, [135/136] and I advise you to remove the chapter divisions. Chapter 6 is not a new chapter, but is the continuation of chapter 5. In chapter 5 all men are dead, which is how God views the human race. 'In Adam all died', and the argument here is that it is the same with Israel. Israel is a part of the human race and is included in this position: 'all are dead'. What is it that we come to immediately we begin to read what is chapter 6? It is a baptism. And what is this baptism? Well, of course, it is the baptism of the Lord Jesus, but what does that mean? Jesus is the representative of the human race. He is the Son of Man. Why must He be baptized? That is, why must He die and be buried? Because He is taking the place of the whole human race. The Cross of the Lord Jesus is a demonstration of the fact that all men have died, and the Apostle Paul says here that when Christ died all men were represented. The Cross was a universal baptism. Perhaps you would think that I was preaching heresy if I were to say that every unsaved person has been baptized, but please understand me. All men have died in the death of the Lord Jesus, so it is the whole world that has been baptized in the Cross of Jesus Christ. In the death of Christ the whole world is dead in the eyes of God , but, although all men have been baptized in the death of Christ, all men are not raised in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The death is universal, the baptism is universal and for the whole race, but the resurrection is selective. On resurrection ground only one Man in God's universe is in right standing with God. You remember how, after His baptism the heavens were opened and a voice came out of heaven saying: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17). God did not say: 'This is My beloved world. In it I am well pleased.' On resurrection ground only One is in right standing with God.

This, then, is the message of chapter 6. To be in right standing with God men have to say: 'His death was my death. When He died I died. That is my natural position in the sight of God.' But then, secondly, men have to say: 'His resurrection was my resurrection.' You know the simple words of Romans 6:5: "If we have become united with him by the likeness of his death, we shall be also by the likeness of his resurrection; knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him." To be in right standing with God demands that we shall be, by faith in Jesus Christ, dead and raised. We have to accept His death as our death. The world will not do that, and Israel would not do that. Therefore the world and Israel remain dead in the sight of God, and it is only those who have accepted that by faith and have then taken their position in Christ risen who are in right standing with God. It is only with such people that God can go on.

And remember that this is not only an initial position; it is an abiding principle. Paul said: "Always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our body" (2 Corinthians 4:10). In effect he said: 'I die daily. Every day the Cross of the Lord Jesus has a meaning in my life.'


Now let us go on with this letter. Chapter 6 shows the position of spiritual experience. We move on, without dividing into chapters, and presently we come on to what is shown as chapter 8, and here we find what has happened in chapter 6. A great divide has been made.

First, the position is established: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus" (verse 1). All the condemnation has been exhausted in the death and burial of Christ. To those who by faith are in Jesus Christ risen from the dead there is no more condemnation. I wish we knew the truth of Christianity! If there is no condemnation, then we must be in right standing with God! There is no controversy between God and us. Do you not see how important it is for us to recover the true nature of Christianity? There are many Christians who live out their lives under condemnation. Even when they pray they bring their miserable selves to the Lord, and say: 'Lord, I am no good. I am a miserable creature!' And what does the Lord say? Well, sometimes He does not say anything at all. If He did say anything, it would be: 'I told you that two thousand years ago in the Cross of Jesus Christ. I knew more about you then than you know about yourself, but if any man is in Christ Jesus there is no condemnation.'

But the Apostle goes on with a provision. He uses this little word: "Who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit" (verse 4), that is, those who walk on the ground that they have died with Christ and risen with Christ. The great divide has been made by the Cross between flesh and spirit. What do we mean by that word 'flesh'? The flesh is the self-life: my will, my desires, my ideas, anything that is just me .' If you know anything about yourself, you know that you are not good, and you will agree with the Apostle Paul, who said: "I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing" (7:18). The flesh is the self-life in any, or all, of its forms. So that this statement in verse 4 of chapter 8 could be: 'Who walk not after the self-life.' 'I am going to have what I want. I am going to take the way that I want to take.' The self-life has very many complexions.

Now these people do not walk after the flesh. It says: 'They walk after the spirit.' What is that? That is the God-life -- not the self-life, but the God-life. Now it is: 'What God wills, what God desires. It is God's thoughts that I want.' There is no condemnation if we walk the God-life.

What does this word 'walk' mean? Well, we are on a spiritual journey. That comes out a little later. We are on the journey of a new nature, and on this journey there is a new discipline. The journey is not geographical, but from what we are in ourselves to what we are in Christ. You know, you can shorten that journey, for you get there sooner or later according to this discipline. What is the end of the journey, of this spiritual walk? Now that comes out at the end of this chapter 8: "Whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son" (verse 29). That is the end of the Journey.

There are two conformities here in this letter. In chapter 8 it is "conformed to the image of his Son", and in chapter 12, verse 2 it says: "Be not conformed to this world". 'Be not conformed to this world, but be conformed to Christ.' That will determine how quickly you are covering the journey and how quickly you are getting to the end! Those who are conformed to this world are making very slow spiritual progress, but those whose hearts are wholly set upon being conformed to Christ make very quick spiritual progress.

You can see these two kinds of Christians. I can see today many young Christians who have started on the journey but have either come to a standstill or are making very slow progress, and when I look to see why it is I see that it is because they are taking the fashions of this world.

So the true nature of Christianity is to be conformed to the image of God's Son. That demands our acceptance of His death as our death, and demands that we live on the ground of His resurrection. It also demands that we do not live the self-life, but that we do live the Christ-life. The life of the Lord Jesus is to be reproduced in us by the Spirit, and that is what it means to "walk after the spirit". It does not say: 'Stand still', and it does not mean: 'Take a first step.' It means: 'Keep on walking and do not allow this world to stop you going on with the Lord.'

Well, that, in brief, is the message of this letter to the Romans. This is the foundation of Christian experience. You have accepted the foundation position; now accept the foundation experience, and that foundation is standing in right position with God, seeking His grace that in every day, and in every thing we are in good standing with God. On that ground we shall reach the goal -- conformity to the image of His Son.

I do not think that there is anything to be desired more than that. What is the greatest desire in your life? Is it not to be like your Lord, and that all that is true of Him shall be true in you? May the Lord help us to understand!

Now go back to your letter to the Romans and read it again in the light of these words: 'Being on right ground with God.' It is the letter of an utter committal to God in Christ through the Cross. [136/137]


Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:1-21.

"For the love of Christ constraineth us ..." (verse 14).

"... that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves,
but unto him ..."
(verse 15).

THOSE are the two fragments which will govern our meditation: "... the love of Christ constraineth us ...", "... henceforth ... unto him". Although these words were penned long after the day when the Apostle was apprehended by Christ Jesus, they clearly reach back to that beginning of things in his own experience, and they form, moreover, a very fitting introduction to his own life; for as we know his life now in a considerable fullness, we are able to see how true it all was to these words. There is a sense in which we can say that these words are a summary of the life of the Apostle Paul. "The love of Christ constraineth us", "not henceforth ... unto themselves, but unto him ..." Those sentiments very truly govern the life of this man from the day when he met the Lord to the day when he laid down the earthly task.

What was true in his own case he sought to press home upon all others, that it might be equally true of them. He binds others with himself. He says: "... the love of Christ constraineth us ...", "because we thus judge ...", "that they which live ..." Whether he had certain people definitely in mind when he thus wrote, we do not know. Possibly this was not the case, and that his use of the plural here is just the expression of his own great longing that it might be true of all the Lord's people. He knew himself to be so truly governed by that constraining love, and he would not that his own case should be exceptional, but that the passion of every heart might be summed up in the declaration: "the love of Christ constraineth us", "henceforth ... unto him."

I feel we are perfectly justified in taking these words as representing the Lord's will for us, as setting before us the standard which the Lord would have to be true in our own case, that we also should say with the same depth of reality: "... the love of Christ constraineth us ...", "henceforth ... unto him", not unto ourselves.

If you look at the whole paragraph again, you will see that this is related to the Cross on the one hand, and to ambassadorship on the other. Mark the statements: "... one died for all, then were all dead": resultant from that: "... unto him ..." -- "that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again" (verse 15, A.V.); "We are ambassadors therefore on behalf of Christ ..." (verse 20, R.V.). You notice the significance of that word "therefore" -- "We are ambassadors therefore on behalf of Christ ..." That is what it means to be "henceforth unto Him", and the place of the Cross here is, quite clearly, the settling once for all of all matters of interest which are apart from the interests of the Lord Jesus. That death with the Lord Jesus was a death in which all our own personal interests, of any and every kind, were for ever buried, and the interests of the Lord Jesus became pre-eminent, pre-dominant, the one passion of our living being "henceforth ... unto him ..." How? "We are ambassadors ... on behalf of Christ." The Cross means that the Lord Jesus becomes the real passion, concern, dominating interest of a life which has been crucified, which has died to all its own interests, because of His love. "The love of Christ constraineth us ..."


This says to us in very clear terms that the Cross represents a total abandonment to Christ. We may have heard that many times. It does not concern me very much how many times I have said it or have heard it. What does concern me is that we should be there. I am tremendously burdened, and there is a strong and deep longing in my heart that what is here should, in spirit and in truth, become true of us all, that we should be able to say with the same depth and reality as did the Apostle: "The love of Christ constraineth us", "henceforth ... unto him", "we are ambassadors ... on behalf of Christ."

That, then, calls for the same utter abandonment to Him as obtained in the life of this ambassador. That calls for the same meaning of the Cross in our case as in his, complete death to all interests save the Lord's; life only, altogether, for Christ. That is how ambassadors are made. Ambassadors are not officials, appointed on official grounds. The ambassadors of Christ are such because Christ's interests are paramount, are predominant in their hearts; for when we say: "the love of Christ constraineth us", this is a heart matter between the Lord Jesus and ourselves. So that, on the one hand, it is the Cross and total abandonment to the Lord, and, on the other hand, it is [137/138]


Paul was an exemplary ambassador. One thing which he was often found saying was: "I am ready ..." Far away from needy saints at Corinth he would write and say: "I am ready to come to you" (2 Corinthians 12:14). He was ready to make long, tiring, difficult and perilous journeys in the interests of Christ in His people. Journeys were more difficult in Paul's day than in ours, and involved a good deal more than do journeys nowadays. But he said, with a real concern for their spiritual wellbeing: "I am ready to come to you."

To far-off Romans he wrote: "I am ready to preach the gospel to you ..." (Romans 1:15). From his prison in Rome, where he had fulfilled his readiness to preach to them also, he wrote at the last to his son Timothy: "... I am now ready to be offered ..." (2 Timothy 4:6). To those who sought to dissuade him from going into the very lion's mouth at Jerusalem, he said: "I am ready ... to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 21:13).

That readiness had a considerable background. If it were put to us we should, in a sense, say that we were ready, but I wonder if we are ready! Readiness means more than being willing. Most of us would respond and say: 'Well, if the Lord wants it, I am ready!' But are we ready? What constituted readiness in the case of the Apostle? With all our readiness it is just possible that before we got very far we should be stumbled, we should stop short, and the reasons might be various.

Let us face this quite definitely. It is not necessary to press the question of an ambassadorship to a foreign country on some bit of public service. Ambassadorship relates quite as much to the place where we are in our life now. It relates to the business place. It is wherever we are that our ambassadorship is to hold good. Now then, are we ready? Are we thus ready, with this passion for the interests of the Lord Jesus, so that there we are found utterly abandoned to Him to secure those interests? It is strange that while so many are prepared to join with others in an open-air meeting, to preach the Gospel to the unsaved, and are prepared even to stand out on a cold night with a group to do so, the very same work is to be done around them every day in their business place, and they are not touching it. It is exactly the same work. There is something about an open-air ring and a platform and preaching out to the unsaved which is more romantic, and in which you can feel far more bold, than when you stand alone in your business place, or place of daily calling. The test comes as to whether it is that aspect of Christian work which is more or less public and official, and puts you in a place of advantage over the others, that draws out your zeal, or whether your passion for Christ is continuous wherever you are. The ambassadorship is not for platforms, for meetings, for public occasions; the ambassadorship relates to all places, all times, because it is constituted not by an appointment, or an invitation to preach, or an official position, but by the love of Christ. "Henceforth ... unto him"; not on special occasions, but on all occasions. Are we ready?

Paul took charge of the ship's company, and made himself responsible for the spiritual interests of the men on the ship. Wherever he was, in his prison, in his travels, in his journeys, and his sojourns, he was all the time bent upon the interests of the Lord Jesus with concern and eagerness. That was one aspect of his readiness, and is perhaps the one of most general application and challenge.

There are other aspects of readiness. The readiness of Paul was constituted by his having settled, once for all, his own personal, spiritual problems. You never find Paul tied up in the knots of personal spiritual problems, going round, and round, and round, and never getting anywhere because his own spiritual problems are all the while bothering him. Paul had that matter settled at the beginning. He got over that fence, and went away into Arabia, and when Paul said he was ready, it meant that he was at leisure from himself spiritually. No man is ready, in this sense, who is not free from himself spiritually. We do not mean that every question that can ever come to us has been answered, and every problem has been solved, but that we are so utterly abandoned to Christ that we know quite well that, if we go on with the Lord, sooner or later all those things will solve themselves. Our business is to go on, and get free from ourselves spiritually. Those who are self-occupied in a spiritual way are the unready, the unprepared. Why not relegate your 'locking-up' problem to a place where you trust the Lord to deal with it when He pleases, and get on with the business of the Lord and with His interests? Recognize the desperate need that there is spiritually in this world, and give yourself to it? I venture to say you will come back to your pigeon holes and find your problems all solved. You will come back and find that that thing which was laid on the table for the time being has looked after itself and is no longer a problem to you. While you sit there with it all, the Lord's interests are being suspended, and you, in the meantime, are getting nowhere at all. Abandonment to [138/139] the Lord in this way in faith is the first essential, the Lord's interests becoming the predominant thing, the passion of your heart. There is nothing like that abandonment to the Lord for solving personal problems. Christ becomes the Emancipator when we abandon ourselves to Him. That is readiness.

Another aspect of Paul's readiness was that he had counted the cost. This, like the former question was settled once for all. Paul had sat down and faced it out. He had weighed it all up. He had said to himself: 'Now, I have a name for being such-and-such a man. I have a reputation, I have a position, and I have influence. I am known to have taken the line which I have taken without any reservation at all. Having taken that line in the manner that I have, I have gained a position. That position represents a great deal. I know quite well what all my friends, and all the people who, from my present standpoint, are most worth considering, think about the other line of things, of that course which lies before me now. I know what they think. I know their attitude. I know how they treat people who go that way. I know quite well that it will cost everything. It means reputation, position, influence, all gone, and, more than that, that those who are now for me, who have been on my side so strongly, will become my bitterest foes. I know that it may involve my being cast out of public life and out of domestic life. I know quite well that what they did to Jesus of Nazareth they will not hesitate to do to me, but my life goes with this.' He had weighed it all up from every standpoint, put it all in the balances, and settled it once for all. 'If I take this course, I have nothing to expect from this world but complete antagonism. From all my friends I have nothing to expect but the loss of all things.' That is how Paul put it. He had settled the cost, so that later on, when things began to work out as he had anticipated, he was not stumbled in his course. He did not come to a standstill in order to go over the whole matter again. He went on. All those matters had been dealt with, and were behind him. So often we are arrested because we come up against the cost of things, the price to be paid, and we find that we are not ready for that. "I am ready to die ..."; "I am ready to preach ..."; "I am ready to go ..."; "I am already being offered, and the last drops of my sacrifice are falling." (That is the literal translation of the words to Timothy.) Paul pictures himself as a drink-offering being poured out for his Christ. That is abandonment to Christ. That is passion for Christ's interests. That is the meaning of the Cross -- "henceforth ... unto him ..." Dead to self, and all else.

This is a challenge to us. Are we ready? Are we so detached from self, the world, and attached to Him by His love, that His interests really are the dominating interests of our life all the time? The Lord needs more men and women like this. Have you settled down to a more or less ordinary kind of Christian life? Is there a going on from day to day, and week to week, and month to month, and perhaps from year to year, with none of this real passion in our relationship to the Lord Jesus for the seeking of His interests here in this world? Are you watching closely the interests of your Lord every day? Are you making sacrifice for those interests? Yes, it may break in even upon your home life. Sacred as home life may be, if the Lord's interests should challenge even that, are you prepared -- nay, not only prepared, but ready in this positive sense? I do not mean that you will never feel the matter press upon you. I have no doubt that Paul very often felt the drain, the weariness the cost, but there was never any question, never any hesitation, as to what course was to be taken. "I am ready ... !" Oh, do hear the Lord, the Spirit's call to your heart for this abandonment of the true ambassador of Jesus Christ! Do not regard ambassadorship as being for those special people who go out on special commissions.

We started by pointing out that Paul sought to bring the whole company of believers into this state of concern with himself. To these Corinthian believers he said: "... we beseech ..."; 'we entreat'. We are all called into this position as ambassadors. Paul had a longing to see the interests of the Lord Jesus served at all times.

Are you ready to let your home go somewhat if His interests call? Are you ready to let your worldly prospects go if His interests call? Are you willing, in following out His interests, to lose the good opinion of your friends, the esteem of others, your reputation, the loss of everything, so long as the Lord's interests are served? Are you holding everything here in this world, everything -- position and everything else -- in the interests of the Lord? Are you sure that you are using all that you have for the Lord? Are you using your home? Are you using your business opportunity? Are you using your means? Is everything for Him?

I am aware that this is nothing more than an appeal to your hearts. There is not a great deal of profound teaching here, but I feel this is what is needed: a people of this sort who really do and can say, with a true, conforming background: "The love of Christ constraineth"! No longer unto ourselves, but unto Him! "We are ambassadors ... of Christ ...!" Those who stay at home, and continue [139/140] in business and in the home life should not be any the less ambassadors than those who go abroad. There ought to be in us the spirit of: "I am ready to preach ...", "I am ready to go ...", "I am ready to die ..." 'I am ready in this full sense of readiness, with the result that everything is held so loosely that it will not be able to keep me back from serving the Lord's interests.' Everything is regarded solely in the light of how it can serve the Lord, and if it cannot serve the Lord, then we have no personal interest in it. If we are obliged to be in any given thing as in this world, well and good, but our hearts are not in that for any personal interests at all. Our hearts will only have to be in it in so far as it is our duty. We will do what is our duty with all our might, but the connection must serve the interests of the Lord Jesus up to the hilt, as far as that is possible.

That is the attitude toward life which is called for. It is possible that this spirit, this element, this real concern and passion for the Lord, may have dropped out of the lives of many.

Ambassadors are not ambassadors because they have been appointed, but because "the love of Christ constraineth". We are not ambassadors of churches, congregations or assemblies; we are ambassadors of Christ. The Lord write this in our hearts!

A concluding message given by Mr. Sparks at the Aeschi Conference, 1969


THIS evening we move in thought into the Book of Judges -- and how very different it is from the Book of Joshua! I think the Book of Judges is the most terrible book in the Bible! And why is it such a terrible book? Because it is the book of the unfinished task.

In the Book of Joshua the people of Israel went into the land, and had a wonderful history of victory after victory, moving more and more into God's full purpose. Then, before they had finished the work, they settled down. In the last chapters of the Book of Joshua we see the people just settling down before the work is perfect. They had heard the great call of God. God's purpose had been presented to them and they had made a response to it. They had moved so far, and then, before it was all finished, they settled down. The Book of Judges follows, and that is the book of the tragedy of the unfinished work.

None of us will say that there is nothing like that in Christianity today! There are many Christians who make a wonderful beginning. They see the vision of God's great purpose, and certain words in the New Testament make a great appeal to them, such as: "Called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28). That is a wonderful vision! "According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Ephesians 3:11). Such a thought makes a great appeal to these people and they make a heart response. They go on so far, and then many stop too soon. They lose the vision; they lose the inspiration; they lose the sense of purpose; they lose the energy to go on, and of some we have to say: 'Something has gone out of their faces. What was there with them once is not there now. They were so positive once, so occupied with the heavenly calling, but something has happened.' These people may not be altogether conscious of it, and they would not tell you that something has happened, but it is quite evident that something has happened. They have just lost something, and you do not get the response now from them that you once got. They are not so interested now as they were. The heavenly vision has gone out of their lives. That is true of many Christians, and it could be true of all of us.

And the Book of Judges is our instructor in this matter. What I say now is not in judgment -- although it is from the Book of Judges ! I have a very great deal of sympathy with these people. Oh yes, I know how wrong it was, and how this book spelt the failure of these people. I know how sorry the Lord was about it, but from my own experience I cannot help being sympathetic, for I think I understand.


Why did these people stop short of finishing the job? I think that very likely it was because they became weary in well doing. The battle was long drawn out. It was spread over years and was very exhausting. No sooner had they gained one victory than they had to start fighting again. They did not have much rest between one battle and the next one. It was a long drawn-out warfare; they got weary in battle, and in their weariness they lost the vision, they lost heart, and they lost the initiative.

I am so glad that with all the strong things that the New Testament says, it says some very kind and [140/141] understanding things about this: "Let us not be weary in well-doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not" (Galatians 6:9); "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, ... your labour is not vain in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 15:58); "God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love" (Hebrews 6:10). What a lot of things there are like that! And Jesus said to His disciples, who were being brought into the battle: "Let not your heart be troubled!" (John 14:1), while we can hear the Lord's words to Joshua: "Be strong and of a good courage; be not affrighted, neither be thou dismayed" (Joshua 1:9). Again, the Lord Jesus said to His disciples: "He that endureth to the end , the same shall be saved" (Matthew 24:13).

These people in the Book of Judges were discouraged by weariness -- and we are all capable of that! Sometimes it is not easy for us to give up -- or perhaps I ought to say that it is not difficult for us to give up! -- because we do not want to get out of the battle, and yet, at the same time, we do want to get out of it. The battle is inside, and even so great a man as the Apostle Paul had that battle. He said: 'I really do not know what to do! I have a strong desire to depart and be with the Lord in order to get out of the battle, and yet I know that duty to the Lord would keep me in the battle. I do not know whether to give up or to go on!' I say that that is a possible temptation to every Christian, and the Lord knows all about that! The New Testament is full of understanding things about it.

The first reason why these people settled down too soon, then, was discouragement. It was not because they had had no victories -- they had had many -- but because they said: 'There is no end to this battle! It looks as though we shall never finish!' So in weariness and discouragement they settled down too soon.

I feel sure that this Book of Judges recognizes that. Every time these people stirred themselves again they found that the Lord was very ready to go on with them. This book is a picture of an up-and-down Christian life. One day these people are down in despair, and another day they are up in victory. It was that kind of Christian life which was always up and down, but when they turned their faces to the Lord they found that He was waiting for them. The Lord had not given up. He was always ready to go on. I think that is the first great lesson in this Book of the Judges.


But what was the effect of this loss, of this stopping too soon? It was the loss of vision. They only saw the things that were near and lost sight of God's eternal purpose. They lost sight of what Paul calls the "prize of the on-high calling" (Philippians 3:14). Now this sounds like a contradiction, but they lost sight of the things that are not seen! You say: What do you mean by that? That is nonsense! How can you see the things that are not seen?' Paul says: "The things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:18). They lost sight of the things which are eternal because they were looking too much at the things which are seen. They lost the heavenly vision for they became satisfied too soon. It was all good so far, but the good became the enemy of the best.

The first thing that happened, then, was the loss of the heavenly vision. It works both ways. If we lose the heavenly vision we settle down too soon. If we settle down too soon we lose the heavenly vision. And what do we mean by settling down too soon? We mean: losing the warring spirit. In this Book of Judges the Philistines resorted to a very subtle strategy: they took all the weapons of war away from Israel, and all that they had left was one file to sharpen their agricultural instruments, so that every farmer in Israel had to take a journey to the blacksmith to sharpen his farm instruments. All the sharp instruments had been taken away and the spirit of war was undermined. The Philistines had made it impossible for Israel to fight and you know that there is a very big Philistine about! The strategy of this great enemy of the inheritance is to take the fighting spirit out of us. Oh, what a lot of mischief the Philistines have done to Christians! What about our prayer life? There was a time when we were mighty warriors in prayer. We fought the Lord's battles in prayer. What about our prayer meetings? Where can you find the prayer meetings now that are out in spiritual warfare? Yes, we ask the Lord for a hundred and one things, but we do not battle through to victory on some situation. There is some life in terrible bondage, there is some servant of the Lord having a hard me, and there are many other calls for battle, but where are the prayer groups who take up these issues and will not give up until they are settled? The warring spirit has gone out from so much of the Church. That is a clever strategy of the devil! Lose the spirit of spiritual battle and you will stop short of finishing the work.


The next thing that caused these people to settle down too soon was the spirit of the world getting [141/142] in amongst them. What is the spirit of the world? It is the spirit of: Have a good time! Let us have a good time! Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die! And these people of Israel looked at the world around them and, if I understand it rightly, they said: 'These people do not have all the hard time that we do. Our life is a life of continual battle. They do not know so much about that, but they believe in having a good tine.' I think that is how it was at this particular time. Of course, up to this time Israel had given the people round about a bad tine! But Israel had lost the fighting spirit nosy and the world was having a good time because the Church was no longer fighting it. Instead of fighting the world they made friends with the world. They made the world their friends, and so they did not finish the work. Compromise is a dangerous thing to the inheritance! Trying to be on good terms with the world and having an easy time will result in our losing a large part of the inheritance.


But let us finish on a better note. As I said before, God did not give up, and whenever the people took up the battle again and turned again on the Lord's side to fight the enemy, they found the Lord waiting for them. So we have the story of Deborah, the story of Gideon -- and dare I mention Samson? However, although Samson was a poor sort of man, if only the Lord gets a poor chance, He will take it. You may not think much of Samson -- but do you think better of yourself? We are all poor creatures! We have all been discouraged, We have all been tempted to give up, we have all stopped too soon, we have all been weary in well-doing, but take the sword of the Spirit again! Take up the battle again, and you will find the Lord is ready and waiting for you.

Gideon -- Deborah -- Samson -- and all the others. But I think there is one who is better than them all -- do you remember that beautiful little Book of Ruth? Everybody is charmed with that book! What a lovely book of spiritual recovery it is! What a picture of the Lord's patience, the Lord's readiness to take advantage of every opportunity! How does that book begin? "And it came to pass in the days when the judges judged ..." The Book of Ruth was in the times of the Judges, which until then was the most terrible time in history of Israel, but God was ready to change the whole picture. There are the two different pictures: the Judges and Ruth, but both were in the same period. Do you see what I am trying to say?

Dear friends, we are in a great battle, and it is long drawn out. We can get very weary in the fight. We can become discouraged and give up too soon. We may have to stop before the work is finished. That is always our temptation, the tragic possibility in the Christian life, but the Lord does not give up. He does not faint, nor is He discouraged, and if we will turn again to Him, rise up again, recover our fighting spirit and continue to fight the good fight, we shall find the Lord is ready every time, and He is always wanting to help us to fight to the end. He will help till the day is done!


We acknowledge with gratitude the following gifts received from the 30th July to the 30th September, 1969:

Aberdeen £1; Bideford £1 1s.; Bintulu, Sarawak £1; Bridgend £2; Brighton £1 5s., 10s.; Bristol £3; Bromley £6, £6; Chatteris £2; Chichester £2 2s.; Coventry £15; Deal £3; Eastbourne £1, 10s.; Edinburgh £1 3s., 10s.; Enfield £1; Felixstowe £1; Grimsby £1; Hastings £5; Heathfield £1 8s.; Hounslow £1; Kedgaon, India £5; Lindfield, New South Wales £1; London N.6 £5; S.E.4 £5; S.E.15 £2; S.E.23 10s., 10s., 10s., £2, £5, £5; S.W.1 10s.; Macclesfield £1; Newcastle-on-Tyne 10s., 10s., 10s.; Newlyn £1; Nieuwvliet, Holland £5; Port Jervis, New York £1 0s. 10d.; Pretoria, South Africa £20; Rivera, South Africa £5; Sale £1; Simmozheim, Germany £2; Surat, India 5s.; Surguja District, India £2; Tampo, New Zealand 5s.; Timperley £1; Tonbridge £3; Twickenham £2 10s.; Warrington £5; Wolverhampton £1; Zeist, Holland £1. Total: £143 19s. 10d.

Arnold, Maryland $5; Ashland, Virginia $6; Beaumont, Texas $10.62; Bellingham, Washington $5; Birmingham, Alabama $10, $30; Brooklyn, New York $25, $5; Colorado Springs, Colorado $5; Dallas, Texas $10, $25; Fort Worth, Texas $10, $5; Goias, Brazil $10; Greencastle, Pennsylvania $5; Indianapolis, Indiana $5; Jacksonville, Florida [142/143] $10; Langley, Virginia $40; Louisville, Kentucky $10; Martinez, California $15, $25, $38; Minneapolis, Minnesota $5; New York, N.Y. $25; Norfolk, Virginia $40; North St. Paul, Minnesota $10; Oslo, Norway $3; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania $10; Redlands, California $25; Tucson, Arizona $3; Warrenton, Oregon $5; Wenonah, New Jersey $5; Woodland Hills, California $10. Total: $450.62.

Galt, Ontario $5; Murree, West Pakistan $1.25. Total: C$6.25.

Montpellier, France Fcs. 100; Mulhouse, France Fcs. 10; Nimes, France Fcs. 150. Total: French Fcs. 260.00.

Aeschi, Switzerland Fcs. 20; Brenzikofen, Switzerland Fcs. 13; Chatou, France Fcs. 15; Glarus, Switzerland Fcs. 20; Gümligen, Switzerland Fcs. 10, Fcs. 10, Fcs. 20, Fcs. 10, Fcs. 10; Karlsruhe, Germany Fcs. 20; Lausanne, Switzerland Fcs. 30; Paris, France Fcs. 20; St. Gallen, Switzerland Fcs. 20; Schlieren, Switzerland Fcs. 20; Zeist, Holland Fcs. 20; Zetten, Holland Fcs. 50; Zürich, Switzerland Fcs. 20. Total: Swiss Fcs. 328.00.



The wording of the new motto card will be:

"Is anything too hard for the Lord?" Gen. 18:14

"There is nothing too hard for Thee" Jer. 32:17

"All things are possible" Mark 9:23

"That we should ... trust ... in God" 2 Cor. 1:9

Large size -- 9d. each (8/- per dozen)

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

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

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

The postage on cards sent overseas is a little higher than the above rates.


The bound volume of the 1969 issues of A Witness and A Testimony with light blue art paper cover will be available by the end of the year. Price 5/- ($0.70) per copy, plus postage 1/- ($0.10). [143/144]


The books and booklets listed below can all be ordered by post from the addresses given at the end of the list. More detailed information about the literature is available on application to the Witness and Testimony office in London.

By T. Austin-Sparks    
   Vol. 1 ALL THINGS IN CHRIST   8/6 ($1.80)
   Vol. 2 (Cloth boards) 7/6 ($1.60)
  (Art paper covers) 6/- ($1.28)
WHAT IS MAN?   7/6 ($1.60)
  Vol. 2 5/- ($1.07)
WE BEHELD HIS GLORY (Vol. 1) (Cloth boards) 6/6 ($1.39)
  (Art paper covers) 5/- ($1.07)
WE BEHELD HIS GLORY (Vol. 2) (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)
2d ($0.04)
CHRIST OUR LIFE   Free of charge
By H. Foster (Booklet)    
2d ($0.04)
By Various Authors    
   (Each volume contains a number of separate messages )

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

Vol. 2 3/3 ($0.69)

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


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

[Inside back cover]


The six issues of the magazine, bound together, to form a volume with light blue art paper cover, are available for the following years: 1956, 1959, 1960, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969. Price per volume (1 year): 5/- ($0.70).

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

POSTAGE AND PACKING: For postage and packing please add the following to the total amount of the books ordered:
Orders totalling less than £1 -- please add 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 5216/4339

Witness and Testimony literature can also be obtained from:

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


[Back cover is blank]

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