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

"The Testimony of Jesus"
Revelation 1:9

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July -- August, 1970 Vol. 48, No. 4




FAMILIARITY with this part of the New Testament, as it does with so many things, has resulted in the loss of the tremendous impact which it had when first written, read, and circulated. In its nature, its purpose, and its necessity there is nothing in the Bible more contemporary, and suited to Christianity's need. It has been boxed up in a doctrine, although a fundamental doctrine, and a phrase now describes it: whereas it is really an earthquake, a revolution, a cataclysm. As I have meditated with it some vivid pictures have lighted upon my mental screen.

I have seen a man named Shammah standing in a plot of ground full of lentils and, singlehanded, mowing down the Philistines with his sword until none were left to challenge him. I have seen the hordes of Philistines menacing Israel and taking cover behind the giant Goliath, who, day after day, struck terror into the hearts of the men of Israel. Then the youth David resolving that this had gone on too long and too much and must come to a settlement; which settlement he made to the discomfiture of the whole Philistine army.

Then to come to much later history in this country, I see that meeting of barons at Runnymede with King John sitting, pen in hand, at the table, with a fierce and rebellious look upon his face as the barons have decided that a long regime of injustice must cease and a new charter of equity must be signed for all time. There is no way of escape for the monarch.

These episodes and epochs fit so well into the Letter before us. A campaign of misconstruction of Christianity has been following the Apostle Paul from city to city wherever he has gone. He, the most patient and tolerant of servants of Jesus Christ, has borne long and humbly with the assaults upon himself; his character and his credentials; his integrity; but it had reached the point where the very true and right nature of Christianity itself was being changed. At this point toleration reached its limit and this New Testament [73/74] Shammah drew his sword and said: 'The day of reckoning has come. This has gone far enough.' The fire in his bones had reached white heat. Flaming words leaped from his lips: "If we, or an angel from heaven preach any other Gospel, let him be accursed; I repeat, let him be accursed." His sword clave to his hand that day and he defied to the death the uncircumcised-in-heart Judaizers of all time.

But when we have said all that, and we could say much more like it, we have yet to come to the real and positive issue in question and battle. We have to ask what really was, and is, at stake? Many related questions have to be answered, but the inclusive statement, which governs all those questions, is nothing less or other than


That was, and has repeatedly been, the real and true nature of the Mission, Meaning and Message of Jesus Christ. What really did He come for? What did His Person mean? And what actually is His message?

May I here insert a brief parenthesis? While this ministry is to all the Lord's people, I know that many of its readers are servants of God in positions of responsibility and influence. To them I do address this message in a particularly earnest way. My brethren, you are surely aware that there is a very serious and vicious invasion of this world by spirits of confusion. Nothing is escaping this. While it is true of nations and internations, it is particularly so in Christianity. From the general realm of Christendom in ever-narrowing circles to evangelical Christianity and then still inward to the most sincere believers, and to any servant of God who counts for God, there is involvement in complications and perplexity almost to a paralysing degree. New, exotic, fantastic, extreme, peculiar, odd, unbalanced, and singular movements, teachings and practices are following rapidly upon the stage; and many dear people of God are being caught in these, only to end in disillusionment and cynicism. Bewilderment fills the air, and because of this, Christianity is growingly in disrepute. It does, therefore, become imperative that all in responsibility and who have influence shall know where they are and be committed to making clear to God's people what Christianity really is. We are here seeking to make some small contribution to such a ministry.

Coming back to our Galatian Letter, we seek to see what it has to tell us by way of answering our main question: What is Christianity? There are subsidiary questions which lead to the answer. Is Christianity a take-over and continuation or adaptation of the Old Testament system and economy of ritual sacramentarianism, ceremonialism, ordinances, vestments? Is Christianity the reproduction of the Old Testament system in a mystical form? That is, the keeping of the ritual and ceremonial but attributing to it a spiritual or mystical meaning, so that it can be said: 'Well, of course, it is not the thing itself, but what it implies'? This is what sacramentarians say and teach, and many evangelicals. But a virtue is attached to the actual means employed. Further, is Christianity an ideology, that is, a system of ideas, the result of the mental and intellectual activity of religious minds? In other words, is it a philosophy regarding God, man, human destiny, good and evil, and human conduct? Is it a system of regulations, laws, precepts, rules, technicalities, statutes, nice points? Is it another system of: 'Thou shalt', and 'thou shalt not'? Is Christianity a tradition, a historical succession, an inheritance or hereditary?

To all of these, and more, the Letter to the Galatians, and the whole New Testament say -- or thunder -- a positive and categorial 'NO!' Any one, or all of these, would make what the Apostle here calls "another gospel", and he says of such, even if (supposing such a thing might be) "an angel from heaven" should preach it, let that angel be accursed! There is no compromise here. The sword is drawn and these "Philistines" (above mentioned and defined) are to be mown down without mercy. Paul is, after all, no more vehement and implacable than was His Divine Master when confronting those who would mislead and distort the truth of God and confuse the would-be seekers after the truth.

What, then, is the answer? This Letter before us has rightly been called 'The Magna Carta of Christianity' and that in a brief statement of doctrine: 'Justification by Faith.' Yes, true; that is fundamental to Christianity, but we cannot stay there. With every bit of our being we believe that, but when we have said it, have we really defined that which has composed and constituted faith? Justification by faith can be theology, doctrine, creed, a wonderful concept. Look into this Letter and see what it was that led this apostle to his position. He based everything in his Christianity, his salvation, his life, his ministry, his endurance, and his eternal hope, upon one thing, at is stated as basic to the Letter itself: chapter 1, verse 15: "When it was the good pleasure of God, who separated me, even from my mother's womb, [74/75] and called me through his grace, to reveal his Son in me ..." Or in another translation: "When he who had chosen me and set me apart even before I was born, and had called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son within me ..." What, then, is the answer'?


This is a strong line running through the Letter in various connections, as indeed it does through all his writings. He says: "Christ liveth in me." He emphasizes the change from the outward to the inward, the objective to the subjective in the matter of the Law, the covenant, the spirit of sonship, etc. Everything now emanates from the indwelling Christ by the Holy Spirit, and this is what he means by the great emphasis upon spiritual liberty. He has come into the meaning of the Lord's words: "If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" -- freed by the life and power of Christ within! The Spirit of sonship within makes Christianity, and nothing else does! God revealed His Son within. We then have to ask what Paul saw initially when that revelation came to him, and what was its effect?

Of course, all that we have from the pen of this Apostle was by revelation, but in this Letter there is that which was basic to all the rest. I must, however, pause for one emphasis. Paul takes pains to stress that this knowledge of God's Son which made Christianity for him was personal, direct, and independent. He says: "It was not after man. Neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through revelation of Jesus Christ" (1.11, 12). This is true Christianity. Whatever God may use as a vessel or channel of instruction, such instrumentalities can never impart Christ, put Christ into us, work the miracle of giving the faculty of sight to the blind. It just has to be something done by the almighty Spirit of God so that we exclaim in wonder: 'I see!' Apart from that, our Christianity at best is secondhand and objective. The emphasis of the true teacher must be upon this personal knowledge of the Holy Spirit as Lord within . Sooner or later Christianity will be put to the ultimate test on this all-inclusive ground and Issue.

We can now ask what Paul saw on the occasion to which he refers? What did he see as to God's Son? The full answer would necessitate a going back to the Damascus Road epoch; but what does this particular Letter show? The answer is summed up in one word: the Cross. His three references to the Cross in 'Galatians' have three connections. "I have been crucified with Christ" (2:20); "They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the passions and lusts thereof" (5:24); "But far be it from me to glory save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world has been crucified unto me, and I unto the world" (6:14).

The three relationships are: (1) The personal -- "I have been crucified". (2) The life of the dominion of the flesh -- "crucified the flesh" (that is the self-life; "flesh" is self-gratification). (3) The world -- 'crucified to the world'. The standards, systems, and ambitions of this world.

The Cross in this threefold relationship is Christianity. We can never cease to be amazed that the man who would gladly and vehemently have haled Jesus of Nazareth to crucifixion came to see that he was really going to be crucified himself; but now he is glorying in it for other reasons. No wonder he says, "called me by his grace".

What is this saying to us? It is saying clearly and powerfully that true Christianity issues from a devastating experience of the Cross. To see Christ, 'God's Son' crucified, is to see ourselves transfixed and desolated. Sooner or later this must come to us if our Christianity is to be the expression of the indwelling Christ as crucified, risen and exalted.

The true Christian and the true Church is a crucified person and Body!

What was the effect of this 'revealing of God's Son' in him? It had the effect of giving Paul a new dimension and a new horizon. It was the end of one history and the inauguration of another. Formerly the Cross was an intolerable offense; later it was the power and wisdom of God. The Cross was the meeting-place of two histories: the one it closes; the other it commences. The former history has been proved false. The new begins the true. This Letter says that one Israel has come to an end, and a new 'Israel of God' has been born. That one Jerusalem 'below' is no longer the true (if ever it had been) and the "Jerusalem which is above" has taken its place. The old history was based upon a visualized new age centring in Israel's institutions, Jerusalem, the temple, the Law, the Sabbath. The new history is based upon the enmity of all that demonstrated in the Cross, now centred in a spiritual nation, a heavenly Jerusalem, a holy, heavenly temple, "not made with hands", a Law of "the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus", and a "Sabbath Rest" reserved for the new people. This is Christianity according to the New Testament, and Paul's revelation of God's Son within.

Let us now sum up.

We fully recognize that the real occasion of this [75/76] Letter was -- and is -- the true ground of man's right standing with God, and that that issue is here fought out conclusively. Nothing must be allowed to interfere with that!

But, when we have acknowledged that, we have not settled every relevant element of conflict. Why is it that, when evangelical Christianity has rooted and established that doctrine in its fundamental creed and faith, so much conflict still remains in the evangelical realm? This is more or less present in early Christianity even when that basic ground is accepted. Looking more closely into the controversy in this Letter, we find that it was not only the foundation that was being settled, but what was being put on the foundation. All the Apostles, even Peter and James, were not quite transparent on that (see Chapter 2:11-14). There was controversy among the chief Apostles, not on the doctrine, but as to their innermost position. Outwardly and doctrinally they assented, but deep down in their religious constitution a drastic "circumcision" -- cutting round and between -- had not as yet been consummated. There was still a carry-over of birth, upbringing, tradition, heredity, inheritance. In Paul, who had been more utterly rooted, and more vehemently absorbed in Judaism than any of them (1:11-14), this radical severance, this spiritual surgery, had been effected. The remnants and relics of historical Judaism and natural religion on the one side, and the thorough-going emancipation -- by the Cross -- on the other set up a conflict, and the real cause was the threat to change the true nature of Christianity -- the Gospel. It was a subtle and dangerous insinuation of mixture; the Old Testament prohibition by God of ploughing with ox and ass together, or the wearing of a mixture of wool and cotton. Paul, because the Cross had ploughed so deeply into his very being, saw through this threat to the purity of Christianity, and was roused to "the defence of the gospel".

So we come to the age-abiding conflict, not only between Law and Grace, but the true nature of Christianity and the things which have been associated with it. People can be called Christians who have no experience of new birth, regeneration, or personal knowledge of or walk with the Lord, and there are many whose conduct, appearance, and associations are not only a denial of Christ, but a contradiction of common decency. The range is from traditional 'Religion' to downright worldliness, with varying shades and degrees.

So, we close by saying that the real battle is that for the true nature of Christianity. The call is for "men whose eyes have seen the King"; men who can truly say: "It pleased God to reveal his Son in me." Men who will be heart-burdened for the purity of the Gospel, and who will pay the heavy price of the testimony of Jesus. It will be in 'Christianity' itself that they will meet the forces that make it so costly. It has always been so.


Chapter 3


Reading: Deuteronomy 30:11-20; Hebrews 2:14-15; Revelation 1:18; Philippians 3:10.

THE matter which we now have before us is the relationship of the Cross to the manifesting of life. It is very important for us to be clear as to what that relationship is. One thing is patent, and that is that life, in this Divine sense, in this spiritual sense, this life called eternal life, is only to be had as the result of the Cross of Jesus Christ. On the ground of His death and by His resurrection this eternal life is given to them that believe. We sometimes speak of this as simple faith in the atoning work of the Lord Jesus. In the reception of that life there may be no sense of battle, nor conflict; there may be no knowledge whatever of this fuller realm where the battle for life goes on. That is because, in the matter of the gift of eternal life, the Lord Jesus Himself fought the battle in His Cross, and we receive the free gift by faith's acceptance of what He did in order that we might have the life.

That is one aspect of the Cross and the issue of life. That is to say, by the objective apprehension [76/77] of the Cross we receive eternal life. All that the Lord Jesus did for us in His Cross in order that we might pass from death unto life, appropriated, apprehended by faith, results in our having life.

But there is another side. The Cross of the Lord Jesus subjectively wrought out results in our having life more abundant. His own words are: "I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly" (John 10:10). I believe that the first half of that statement relates to the simple faith-appropriation of the objective work of the Cross -- what He did for us -- but the second part of the statement carries us further. Life more abundant requires that what He did for us shall be made good in us. May we put it in this way: In His Cross He dealt with our sins, and on the ground of His having so dealt with them, and of our believing in His atoning work for our sins, we receive the gift of eternal life. He also dealt with ourselves, but that is something which has to be made good progressively, and it is as we ourselves are dealt with in the power of the Cross that the way is made for that life to express itself in ever deepening fullness. The fact is that it is self which is in the way of the life and its full expression. It is the natural life which obstructs the course of the Divine life. Thus what has been done for us has to be done in us, and as it is done in us that life becomes more than a deposit, more than a simple, though glorious possession; it becomes a deepening, growing power, a fullness of expression.


Let us seek to set forth the position. In the first place there is in the creation a state of disorder with which God is not united. We can all grasp that. There is nothing very profound about it except as the fact breaks upon us, and we realize that there is this state of disorder in the creation of which we are a part, and that God is not united with that state, with the creation in that condition. It is not according to His mind. It has ceased to express His thought. It is contrary to His intention and therefore He is not linked with it.


Secondly, there is a positive association of death and Satan with that state. It is not just a passive mass, in confusion, in chaos, in disorder. There are active elements in it. We might say that it is a seething mass. There are forces at work in it and those forces are not the forces of life, but of death. Death is working, and Satan is associated with that state.


In the third place, we see that a need arises, and a need along various lines. Firstly, there must be a judicial setting aside of that creation . We mean by 'a judicial setting aside' that a judgment must be passed upon it, and under that judgment it must be put away out of God's sight. It must come to the place where in its entirety it is under the Divine ban and not one part of it can come into acceptance with Him: that is, it must be judicially dealt with, and judicially set aside. That becomes necessary as a preliminary step to anything which God will do after a new order. God has dealt thus with the creation in the Cross of Christ.

Secondly, an actual and a potential destroying of that power of death and Satan must take place. Let us watch our words -- an actual, and a potential, destroying of that power of death and Satan. Well, God did that in actuality in the Person of the Lord Jesus. He destroyed death and him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. In Christ it is actually done. Christ at God's right hand represents and declares that this has been accomplished. Death is swallowed up victoriously. Satan too has been destroyed. That word 'destroyed', translated in the Revised Version 'bring to naught', does not mean what some people take it to mean. There are times, when speaking of destroying, we think of going the whole length of utterly obliterating, putting out of existence. This word does not mean that. Bringing to naught means, in the intention of God, to render utterly abortive, to render incapable of ultimate success. Do not forget that, so far as the Lord Jesus is concerned at God's right hand, Satan is defeated. He cannot touch Him personally, and he knows it. The only way in which he can touch Him is through His members. Satan no longer has any power to touch Christ directly with death, or with any other weapon. "Through death he has destroyed him that had the power of death." It is actually done in Christ.

We have used another word -- potential. That potential destroying of death and Satan was on behalf of the saints. That is something which is secured and, though not yet fully entered into in experience, can be entered into by faith and known in a progressive way. It cannot be said that you and I at present in the entirety of our being find that death and Satan have no power. So far as we are concerned it is not an actual fact that Satan is inoperative. But this has been secured for us potentially in Christ, that we may become those [77/78] who more and more experience what Christ has wrought for us, and come progressively into the good of that work which was potentially done on our behalf. In Christ, then, we see that destruction to be accomplished in actuality; in the saints, potentially.

Thirdly, it is essential that there should be a living representation of the Divine order, which is deathless, and victorious over Satan, as the pattern to which believers are to be conformed. That is a necessity, and it is realized in Christ. He is the representation of the new creation, the Divine order, to which we are to be conformed, and which is deathless, and victorious over Satan. God must work to an end, to a pattern, to a model, and Christ is that for Him. He is working in the saints to bring about conformity to Christ, which means also conformity to the Divine order represented by Christ; for we must remember that Christ is the sum total of a Divine order. So often the Lord's people fail to recognize that. We must in the first place, of course, recognize that He is a Person. Before all else, He is the Divine Person, but He is in Himself the sum total of a Divine and heavenly order. If the tabernacle or the temple of old expressed a whole system of things: regulated, ordered, appointed, functioning, related: a wonderful system (do not be afraid of that word, for put in the right realm it is a very good word), and if the temple or tabernacle represented that, they were but types of Christ. Christ is the Priest; Christ is the Altar, Christ is the Sacrifice, Christ is the Fine Linen; Christ is the Gold, Christ is the perfect Humanity, Christ is all, and Christ is the order. "Let everything be done decently and in order", says the Apostle. It is a heavenly planning and appointing.

When we come into Christ, while it is true that we come into the Divine Person, we have to come into our place in a Divine order, and being in Christ requires that there shall be a right relationship to one another; an appointing, a functioning, a relativity about everything. It is a wonderful Divine system. Death and Satan have their occasion when anything that relates to Divine order is not obeyed, recognized or observed. It is quite easy for death to get a chance amongst the Lord's people when there is a disorder amongst them, when they are not conformed to Christ in the sense of His being an expression of an ordered, heavenly system. Surely the New Testament rather thunders upon that than speaks. If the Corinthian Church is an example of weak testimony, and indeed it is, the reason is not far to seek. It was a matter of disorder amongst believers.

So God must have this representation of His Divine order, which is deathless, and victorious over Satan, and to that believers are to be conformed. That is conformity to the image of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Fourthly, there is required a vital union with Him as basic, and a life utterly and continuously in the Holy Spirit. We all accept the first essential, vital union with Him as basic, but what is just as important, if there is to be the full expression of life, is that there shall be a life which is altogether in the Holy Spirit continuously. Life in the Holy Spirit is the Divine offset to that other life in death and under the power of Satan. That other life is disordered, and God is not united with it.

That is the first state: a life in death, under the power of Satan, in disorder; tremendously active, energetic, and yet God is not in it. It may even be active in a religious way, and yet God is not in it. I sometimes wonder if religion is not God's greatest enemy in this world. It sounds a terrible thing to say, but I am quite sincere in raising that question. Religion seems to place more people in a position in which God -- if we may so speak -- is put to a greater measure of difficulty to reach them by the Holy Spirit than any other thing, because it puts them into a false position. Over against that God sets this new Order which is utterly under the Holy Spirit. What does it mean to be utterly under the government of the Holy Spirit? It means that everything shall be submitted to the Holy Spirit. You and I will recognize that if we move any way without our lives completely committed to the Holy Spirit, we are most likely to function outside of God's realm; and the end is death. There may be the best of intentions. Our motives may be all right. We may even do a thing for the Lord; but there are multitudes of things done for the Lord which are not done in the Holy Spirit. There is a whole mountain of activity proceeding from the purest motives for the Lord's interests, but they are not the Holy Spirit's activities. I believe the Lord is generous and gracious, and that, because it is a matter of ignorance, He is patient with us and seeks to lead us into better ways. The mistaken course may be due to want of light, and while fuller light is not available, or until it breaks in the Lord continues alongside and gives as much blessing as He can. But that does not mean that in the long run all that past activity is going to meet with acceptance and prove to have been for the accomplishment of Divine ends. At some point it will break down, and those concerned will come to a recognition of the fact that, after all, a great percentage of all that work for the Lord has not [78/79] counted; and the earlier we come to that recognition the better.


All that is gathered up in the Cross. The Cross simply says that an order, though it be religious, well-motivated, or good-intentioned, but nevertheless proceeding from man in his natural state (not necessarily in defiance of God or in conscious rebellion against Him, but just the expression of man's natural state as he is), the Cross says that this entire order is set aside. God has judicially judged it and put a ban upon it. In the Cross of the Lord Jesus God has said finally: 'You in your natural state cannot serve Me, and cannot bear any fruit to My glory! It is possible to go out and work, labour, and die of the strain of trying to serve Me and yet it still remains true that you cannot, out from yourself, by any natural resources whatever, bear fruit unto Me.' The only thing that can ever get through to God's end, and that can be in life -- eternal, Divine, heavenly life -- is that which proceeds from the Holy Spirit.

How sweeping that is! How that analyses and dissects everything! Of the things we say, for example, it continually presents the interrogation: 'Was that spoken in the Holy Spirit?' It is not enough to ask ourselves: 'Did I mean it well? Did I intend it for the Lord?' but: 'Was it said, was it done, in the Holy Spirit, or did I do it?' It is not a question of motive or of intention, but of the source from which we did it.

We have daily to recognize that our lives must be subject to the Holy Spirit, and when we are aware that there has been something of our own will, we have to be faithful before God about it. I believe that slowly and surely we shall come to the place where we live with that certain pause in our hearts which is a check on our impulsiveness, a check on rashness, a check on acting under excitement, a check on our own way of reasoning about things. That is a thing for the Holy Spirit to set up in us. Our business is to recognize that from centre to circumference our lives must be handed over to His control. The result will be that the Holy Spirit will all the time work back to the Cross. The Cross, once for all, settled that position in a comprehensive and detailed way. It stands for ever as God's judicial ban upon man by nature, in his unregenerate state. The Holy Spirit will work back to that with us.

Do recognize that the Cross is the end of the risen life, and not only the beginning. If you forget everything else, remember that. The Cross is the end of the risen life, as well as the beginning: "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed unto his death." People have been to me with Philippians 3 and have asked: 'Why did Paul put death at the end? Surely it ought to be right the other way round -- "That I may be conformed to His death, and know Him in the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings"!' No, there is no mistake. The order is of the Holy Spirit. The power of His resurrection presupposes that there has been a death, but the very resurrection-life leads to the Cross. The Holy Spirit in the power of the risen life is always leading you back to the Cross, to conformity to His death. It is the very property of life to rule out all that belongs to death. It is the very power of resurrection to bring us back to the place where death is constantly overcome. That place is none other than the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ where the natural life is put aside. So Paul says: "... becoming conformed unto his death ...", which means: to have the ground of death continuously and progressively removed; and that, again, as we have said, is the fruit of living union with Him. It would be a poor look-out for you and for me were we to be conformed to His death in entirety apart from the power of resurrection in us, apart from our already knowing the life of the Lord. Where would be our hope? What is it that is the power of our survival when the Cross is made more real in our experience? There would be no survival were it not that His risen life is in us. So Paul prays: "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection ...", and that means conformity to His death without utter destruction. The end of the risen life is the Cross. The Holy Spirit is always working in relation to the Cross, in order that the power of His resurrection may be increasingly manifested in us.

This is the background of the whole question of life. I am sure, with a greater certainty today than ever, that the basis in us for life triumphant is the working of the Cross in the setting aside of all that which is natural. There is nothing more hated by the enemy than the Cross. Let us seek to free our minds from all false conceptions of the Cross! So often there has been this kind of reaction: 'Oh, it is the Cross; it is death, death, death! This working of the Cross in a subjective way is all the time leading to death!' That is why we have already mentioned that it is so important for us to recognize that it is not that death destroys us, but that it makes the way for a greater fullness of life. It is the positive side that we have to keep in mind; not the [79/80] fact that we are constantly being ruled out, and ruled out, but rather that of necessity that is being done in order that He may come in, and come in, and come in. It is the life side which has to be kept uppermost, even in the working of the Cross with reference to what was set aside by God at Calvary.

Is your need, then, that of life? The Lord, in effect, says: 'Well, let us get this thing out of the way!' And when He gets that out of the way there is life. Do you want more life? Well, let us get this thing out of the way; and you have more life. You very rarely meet people who, having really laid themselves out before God for an increase of spiritual life, have not promptly gone into a very bad experience and had a difficult time. Have you ever come to the place where you have laid yourself out for that extra thing, that new thing, which God has been revealing to you, and not gone through some dark, trying and painful time? It is always so. It is not wrong. The Lord is only saying: 'Do you want that?' There is always something to be got out of the way. It may be that you want spiritual increase because it will make you a happier man. That motive will have to be got out of the way so that you want it, not for your own sake, but for His sake. If you go through a bad time, and the dominating element is self, you will say: 'Oh, well, it does not matter. I would rather not have it if it means this!' That is the selfish way of regarding it. But if you are in a dark time in relation to something, and you come to the place where you say: 'Well, whatever it costs, the Lord must have this thing in my life!' you have come there by way of Christ's victory. The Holy Spirit always brings that issue. It is life that He is after, and life more abundant, and this is alone realized by His bringing back and back to the Cross. The Cross is basic to life, because it was there that the Lord Jesus conquered death, and brought life forth for the saints. Calvary is victory, not defeat!

(To be continued)


[W. E. Thompson]

"That ye may put difference between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean" (Leviticus 10:10).

"Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby. For I am the Lord your God: sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that moved upon the earth. For I am the Lord that brought you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. This is the law of the beast, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth: to make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the living thing that may be eaten and the living thing that may not be eaten" (Leviticus 11:43-47).

"And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment; so that ye may prove the things that differ; that ye may be sincere and void of offense unto the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God" (Philippians 1:9-11).

LOST in space could have been the fate of Apollo 13. This small craft, manned by its three occupants in a completely alien environment, depended almost entirely on external forces to which it was related to bring it safely home. Here we saw a massive combination of the knowledge centred in 'Mission Control' and the responsive judgment and actions of those within the craft. The one supreme objective was to keep it on course, which was essential to its safe arrival home.

The drama and suspense were heightened by the possible breakdown in the transmission and receiving of a mass of detail upon which action was to be based. Contact in a number of realms, moral and electronic, was vitally essential to the course being maintained.

Herein lies an important parable for the Church today. We live in a dangerous atmosphere of dishonest enquiring: 'Why should I?' 'Why shouldn't I?' 'What does it matter?' 'Who says [80/81] this is important?', etc. For the Apollo astronauts such an attitude towards 'Mission Control', or to the importance of details -- much of which they might not have understood! -- would have meant a losing of the way and a consequent death in a wilderness of space.

God has provided for us against this. In Exodus He acts; the 'blast off' is by His power alone. He delivers His people by a mighty hand. Against the humanly insuperable, gravitational pull of Egypt they are thrust forth by His power alone. But in Leviticus -- now launched -- God demands . The onus for action shifts to the vessel -- to men in an alien atmosphere destined for the place where they belong. To be kept on course means action based on an external, concentrated source of knowledge and power. 'In Him' -- the Lord Jesus Christ -- 'are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge' (Colossians 2:3).

It is for this reason that the Book of Leviticus, with its massive concern for detail, is vital to the purpose of God. For those who doubt its validity or relevance, we find it quoted forty times in the New Testament. It is a fount of spiritual knowledge and truth. Cowper regarded it thus:

"Israel in ancient days

   Not only had a view

Of Sinai's blaze,

   But learned the Gospel too.

The types and figures were a glass

In which they saw the Saviour's face."

A powerful New Testament summary of its content and purpose is found in Philippians 1:9, concentrated in those three key words: 'knowledge ' (external detail), 'discernment' (inward moral choice based on knowledge), 'proving the things that differ' (putting to the test, doing the things judged to be right).

What, then, does Leviticus contain and mean?


Concerning the 'whole man', his spiritual worship and soul salvation: Chapters 1 - 4; his social behaviour and conduct: Chapter 5; his property: Chapter 6; his food: Chapter 11; his health and hygiene: Chapters 13 - 15; his family and progeny: Chapter 18; his security: Chapter 19: and so on, throughout the book.


It begins where all relationships with God begin -- with true worship. This is the governing core of attitude and behaviour. This explains the God of the meticulous -- He is altogether different from His creatures. This explains the vast amount of detailed instruction as to how He is to be approached and worshipped, which relieves man of any ground for his own imagination. All must proceed from God, and this alone is found in Christ who is one fullness of the Godhead bodily, and who alone meets all the Divine requirements. Worship or prayer which disregards the Divine detail is 'strange fire' which is as destructive as the true fire is effective.


There is nothing cheap with God. It is always the best that He gives and seeks to receive in return. His values are supreme, be they the sheep or goats for sacrifice, or the garments of the priests! There are no 'instant', 'canned', 'quick frozen', 'dehydrated' ways with God. He gives and seeks reality. Leviticus teaches, above all else, the value which God places on all that which is related to Him and spells out for us that which is worthy of His Holiness.


It is for the present. The details are for the desert, not the destiny! The fact that they constitute a contrast to their surroundings is evidence of their true nature and value. We are not excused from obedience here on the ground that the 'times are bad', 'all is against us', 'we cannot help it', 'this is how we are made'. Here and now is our need. Our course lies through the wilderness.

The burden and aim of this book, designed to keep God's people on course, are summarized by a number of key verses.

1. "That he may be accepted ..." (1:3).

This means unbroken contact with 'Mission Control'. The careful maintaining of sensitive lines of communication and channels of power are of the first importance. To sin wilfully or unwilfully breaks the contact, and cleansing and renewal must be sought. To walk in the light means to be on course and to prove 'co-ordination' (fellowship). What would have been the situation in that small space ship had the three men fallen out with each other? It would only require one to lose his contact with 'Mission Control' for this to happen, and the result could have been disastrous. Fellowship means access to the Father and oneness with Him on His basis. Hence the primary emphasis on [81/82] worship, and that together'. Thus we have the 'table', a focal point ordained of God where the tremendous fact of 'being accepted before the Lord' is powerfully demonstrated, and, alas, tragically weakened by those whose contact is broken.

2. "That ye may put a difference between the holy and the common, the clean and the unclean" (10:10).

That we may discern! How do we know what is true and what is false in a day of imitation and synthetics? It is necessary for us to bow to a Superior Informer -- we may not be under law, but we are under the God of law and perfect order, whose purpose is to bring us safely home. It is vital that we develop taste for what is right and true and clean. This involves all we see and read. It involves the friends we make and the places to which we go. If details mean anything, then all, body, soul and spirit, must be brought subject to Him, and whatsoever we do -- in any area of life -- must be for Him. We simply learn and must accept that we cannot do as we like.

This lack of discernment is one of the biggest single factors for deflecting a Christian off course, and we must in all honesty and sincerity say: 'Lord, where have I gone wrong?' We may be surprised by His answer -- we failed to recognize the common and unclean.

3. "To teach when it is unclean" (14:57).

Infection and the danger of contamination where not only to be found on a person, but in his dress and in his house. It is important to recognize this. The beginning may be small and undetected, but the end result can mean a spiritual epidemic. The small root -- many defiled (Hebrew 12:15). The onus for detection and dealing lies with both the individual and the spiritual leader, and requires an acute spirit of discernment with a skilful hand at spiritual surgery. "If a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one" (Galatians 6:1). If honest detection of a 'spot' (in person, dress or house) were to result in 'our going to him alone', and following the details for disciples in Matthew 18:15-17, infection could be arrested and healing be secured.

The New Testament has many practical examples of the warnings of uncleanliness and the removal of the unclean. We must give earnest heed!

4. "The Glory of the Lord" (9:6).

This was to be a foretaste of home! An incentive to get there -- and for us it is the 'extra'! The reality of God amongst us in power. To disregard the details will disqualify for 'glory'. Yet this is to be our experience, and many know that seemingly indefinable 'difference' between meetings and meetings, and places and places. Is the God of glory there? Does His glory appear to all the people? This is the evidence and thrill of being on course. "Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God" (Philippians 1:11). These are not words without meaning, unattainable, but to prove and enjoy them God has made full provision. Let us, then, obey and apprehend! - W. E. T.



[Harry Foster]

MANY years ago in India there lived a Christian whom we will call Lady X. She was wealthy and entertained many British officials and other people of importance in her lovely home. She was very much liked, but most people scoffed at her devout faith and some were not slow to let her know of this and to express their own unbelief.

It so happened that she once had several of these unbelieving friends staying in her house at the same time, and on one occasion the talk got round to the Genesis story of the Fall of man, and particularly of Eve's part in being tricked by Satan into eating the forbidden fruit.

"Surely you don't believe that!" one of them remarked. "And you a woman, too! No sensible woman could possibly have acted so foolishly. I am surprised that anybody ever invented that story, and still more surprised that you believe it." The others all agreed and joined in to pour scorn on this idea of temptation and disobedience by Eve.

Lady X. said little, beyond making her own position clear, but she had an idea, and next [82/83] evening at dinner she put it into operation. Everyone had been served, but in the centre of the table there was a large silver dish which remained covered up. The hostess noticed several inquisitive looks being directed towards this covered dish, so she herself looked at it and began: "O yes -- that dish ", when suddenly a servant came to her side and told her that she was urgently wanted in another room.

She rose up from her seat and asked to be excused, adding: "That dish has something really extraordinary in it, but please do not touch it until I return." With that she left the room, and of course the general conversation centred on the mysterious dish. What was in it? Various suggestions were made, but still Lady X. delayed, so nobody knew which guess was right, if any. She had hinted that she might be absent for a time and had urged them to proceed with their dinner and not wait for her.

This they did in a half-hearted sort of way, but all the time they were far more interested in what was under that silver cover than what was on their plates. One lady could bear the tension no longer, so she suggested that surely there could be no harm in lifting the lid and peeping under. She thought that they could all pretend that they did not know what was there and so give their friend the pleasure of thinking that she was surprising them.

At first her suggestion was turned down, but as Lady X. still delayed they one by one began to weaken until the first lady again urged that there could be no harm in just taking a peep. "Do lift the lid!" she begged her husband, adding that the great thing was to replace it in exactly the same position so that they could not be found out. So at last her husband did as everybody suggested, and taking hold of the silver handle he lifted the cover just enough to be able to see inside.

Now India can be very hot, and in those old days there was no such thing as air-conditioning, as there is today, but only a large fan, or punkah, which was suspended from the ceiling and went round and round to stir up the air. The lid was lifted in silence except for the swish of this punkah, and then a cry of dismay came from the lips of all the guests.

What do you think was in that dish? A heap of feathers! The currents created by the fan sent these feathers flying all over the table. There were feathers everywhere. At first the diners instinctively tried to grab them in order to put them back again in the dish, but they soon realized that this was impossible. They had thought that they could cover up their act, but now they saw that the evidence was flying in all directions.

At that moment Lady X. returned to the dining-room and saw the predicament of her guests. She was very amused inside, but she kept a solemn face and remarked mildly: "I thought that I asked you please not to uncover that dish!" They all looked rather foolish, and then the man who had done it apologized, adding that he was afraid that the harm was done now and the feathers could not be put back.

"Oh, it is all right," Lady X. replied, "but you see my point about Eve now, don't you?" She went on to point out that if intelligent people of the nineteenth century could be overcome with curiosity, it was not surprising that the first woman failed in this way. "That is just how people do behave," she added, "and if you, why not Eve?"

They laughingly agreed that they had been caught in the act, and that perhaps there was more in that Bible story than they had realized. One or two of them appreciated that if their hostess was right about this, she might be right about more that the Bible teaches, and that perhaps instead of scoffing they should read more of it. This is, of course, what Lady X. wanted them to do; not just to take her word or imitate her faith, but to discover from the Word of God not only the fact of human sin, but the wonder of the Saviour's love. Don't argue about the Bible -- read it for yourself! - H. F. [83/84]

The final message by Mr. Madsen at the conference in Switzerland, September, 1969.


[Poul Madsen]

"But now I go unto him that sent me; and none of you asketh me,
Whither goest thou?"
(John 16:5).

JESUS is here speaking from heaven and saying what He hears His Father say. Because He has heard His Father say it, He says: "None of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?" This is quite remarkable, because if you read John 13:36 you will find that Peter did ask the Lord: "Lord, where goest thou?", and if you read John 14:5 you will find that Thomas also asked the Lord where He was going: "Lord, we know not whither thou goest, how know we the way?" Peter and Thomas had asked the way, but, according to Jesus, they had not asked anything at all!

Jesus said of Himself: "I am from above: ye are of this world" (John 8:23), so the questions we ask are of the earth and not in the realm of the Spirit. Therefore you very seldom find that our Lord Jesus answered the questions put to Him. Again and again in John's Gospel we see that people asked Him questions and He said something which seemingly had nothing to do with the question.

Nicodemus was one of these questioners. He put this question to the Lord: "How can a man be born again?" Had he put that question to us we would have answered: 'One, if you do this and that, and, secondly, you must do something else, and, thirdly, you must testify to people, and, then, fourthly, the Lord will give you new birth.' But the Lord Jesus did not answer Nicodemus' question! He said: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:5). Nicodemus asked further: "How can these things be?" Again if he had asked us that question, we would have answered with four more points, and said: 'And then it happens!' But the Lord did not do that. He said: 'If you do not believe when I speak of earthly things, how can you believe when I speak of heavenly things?' If you read chapter three of John's Gospel, you will have great difficulty in finding an answer to that question that you will like. That is because Nicodemus asked his questions as an earthly man, but the Lord never answers questions as an earthly man, so what He says fails to satisfy man's mind.

It was the same when the Greeks came and said: 'We would like to see Jesus.' What an answer the Lord Jesus gave them! "The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified" (John 12:23). Is that an answer? Not to our minds!

It is always like that with the Lord. He does not answer questions. He cannot do so, for an answer which we would understand would be a means of keeping us in our world. It would be a hindrance to man if the Lord answered his questions according to his mind. The Lord wants to draw the earthly man out of his world, so He cannot give him an answer that he would understand for that answer would keep him in his earthly world. The Lord knows what is in man and is not in need of his questions! We often feel that our questions are very important but the Lord knows better. Our questions are not vital. Deep down underneath the many questions there is something that the Lord knows, and that is what is vital. It might be a hidden sin; it might be pride; it might be fear of man: it might be superficiality; or it might be some kind of bondage. Therefore the Lord does not answer questions, and it is as though we do not ask anything at all.

The Lord's answer is, of course, the word of the Cross, and the Cross does not answer the questions of earthly-minded people. It was an answer the disciples had never expected, for it did not answer their questions, but was a shock to their whole being. The Cross does not accept the earthly man and his questions, but does away with them. It is as if the Lord from the Cross says: 'You are nothing and your questions are nothing. You have never asked one question that is valid with Me!' That is the way in which the Lord answers questions, and it seems as if He does not speak at all to the earthly man.

In 2 Corinthians 2:17 Paul gives a remarkable definition of preaching: "... but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God, speak we in Christ." Where is his audience? Is that not very important? You cannot find an audience here in Paul's definition of the preaching of the Cross! He speaks "in the sight of God", and not in the sight of men. That is very important, because we are so interested in applying the truth to the status of men. We are always thinking of those who ask the questions and say to them so kindly: 'I will do what I can to understand you, and if I say something that you do not understand, please ask me to explain. Do [84/85] you understand now? Can I make it clearer? Shall I write it down?' Then we have all these points, one to four, and (a) and (b), and at last they understand everything -- and it has not changed them a bit! All that has just been a means of keeping them where they were! Paul was much more interested in God's presence. For him it was not so much: 'Do you, my audience, understand me?' but: 'I am speaking in the sight of God. Does His Spirit give His 'Amen' to what I say?' That is the all-important thing; and the more you make things plain to the earthly man, the sooner the Spirit's 'Amen' disappears.

So the Lord said: 'None of you has asked Me whither I go.' If Peter or Thomas had interrupted and said: 'Don't you remember, Lord, that I asked you that question an hour ago?' He would have said: 'We cannot speak to one another from two different worlds. I am helping you out of your world into Mine, because all that you do and say in your own world is as nothing. I speak from above. My words are not a declaration; they are life and spirit. They go deeper than answers to your questions, Peter. Can you not, even now, sense that My word is something quite different?'

I think the Lord has graciously allowed us to have this word among us this week. Many have come with questions, and possibly they have not been answered. Or perhaps the Lord has said something so surprisingly different from your question that it is as if He spoke of something that had no relationship whatsoever to your problem. Hold on to that word very strongly! In this week the Lord has not been in need of our questions, because He knows every one of us here. I have been speaking with quite a number of you at meal-times and a question that has come up several times is this: 'How do we build the Church?' The Lord has not answered with four points and then said: 'Now you have the Church!' I am sorry we have not had such a clear answer! Would it not be wonderful if we could go back to our different places and say: 'One ... two ... three ... four ... and then we have the Church'? If we ask the Lord: 'Lord, how do I build the Church'?' He will answer thus: 'Go and visit that troublesome old saint down there!' or: 'Pray for those who persecute you!' or: 'Greet that man in the street whom you do not like!' Then we would say: 'But, Lord, that is no answer to my question. How do I build the Church?' To that the Lord would say: 'You ask questions from the earth, and I can never give you an answer on that level. But I will give you an answer, and if you have an ear to hear what the Spirit says, then you will recognize that this is the answer.' That is a creative answer, an answer with, and in, life.

The word of the Cross is the word from above, and that is like rain from heaven. It does not return to the Lord void, but it fulfils that for which He has sent it. Be sensitive to that word which we have heard this week! It may not answer our questions, but it does answer the cries that come right from our innermost being.

So anyone who came with such a cry, or -- to speak in modern language -- with an existential cry, knows that only the word from above does away with all our questions and touches our spirit. It is that word that satisfies the crying heart, and we are grateful for it. It is that word we want to keep: and it is that word, and only that word, which we want to give to our generation.

It can be done, and it shall be done! - P. M.



THESE messages and this ministry are based upon a three-fold supposition, or assumption:

1. That you have a very real concern to know the will of God.

2. That you are quite prepared to consider anything that may be a help to you in that direction.

3. That you are of a mind to obey any light that the Lord may give as to His will.

Given that foundation, I think the Lord will find a clear way of meeting us and speaking to us.

The business of any servant of the Lord is, perhaps in many ways, to bring His people to know what is His will concerning them, and it is on the heart of this servant of the Lord, if He will [85/86] help, to give you a fuller understanding of what that good and perfect will of God is. We will come back to that more specifically as we go on.

The Bible, which is the charter of the Christian faith, is altogether occupied with that one thing. You can read through your Bible, and perhaps you will find some of it rather tedious, and other things you might not understand, but the whole Bible, altogether, is concerned with that one thing -- the will of God. So it is as well to read the Bible everywhere in that relationship: What has this to do with the will of God?


In other words, the Bible is a revelation of God moving according to purpose. That is only another way of speaking about the will of God. God is seen, from the first words in the Bible to the last, moving according to purpose, moving in and with purpose. He is a God who is motivated by one final and all-inclusive object, which we understand in New Testament language as God's eternal purpose.

The first section of the Bible, which consists of the first five Books, shows us, clearly, fully and meticulously, God moving according to purpose. It is a section of movement forward, and although in the fifth book, the Book of Deuteronomy, there is a retrospective aspect, a looking back with this word: "Thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God hath led thee" (8:2), even that retrospective aspect has a forward aspect connected with it, for the remembering is related to what is yet to be. As you know, it is the book of people between a past history and a new history of the future, and it is looking back to pick up the lessons of the past in order to carry them into the future. So we move into the Book of Joshua with all that the past history has taught as the foundation, and how meticulous the Lord is in that book of Deuteronomy! He is reiterating and re-emphasizing, and laying a very sound and very particular foundation for the future. It is important to note that in the light of what we are going to say, for we are going to be occupied with the laws of God by which His will -- which is His purpose -- is realized, fulfilled and accomplished in His people. So all this first section has the future in view, with the will of God governing.

The last section of the Old Testament, the Prophets, is occupied with the tragedy of lost purpose. The cry of the Prophets is that God's will has not been realized and fulfilled. It is a tragic cry of failure and disappointment, and you must listen to it, for as you listen to these Prophets and hear their anguished cry over these people, you are hearing just this: 'What God meant has not been realized, and that is a terrible thing!' The Prophets have a voice of tragedy, pathos and anguish, because God has been disappointed over His purpose in these people, and they have missed what He intended for them.

So we have the first and last sections of the Old Testament. We are not here occupied with the whole of the Old Testament, but just notice these in connection with the will of God. Of course, I am talking about the big, comprehensive will of God, not about what we might call the little wills of God with which we are occupied every days when we say: 'What is the Lord's will for me in this, or that?' No, that is not what I am talking about but, mark you, all those expressions of the Divine will in the particular matters and situations are gathered into the big will, and until you get into that big will, you really do not have the ground for the little wills of God, the particular application of that will.

Turn over to the New Testament, and in the first section God is taking up His purpose again. Now He is taking it up in the Person of His Son, and in Him the purpose and will of God is embodied and personified. Now it is all gathered into a Person. It has been expressed, as the writer of the Hebrew Letter says, in many different ways and "by divers portions" at different times. Now the whole thing is summed up in the Person of Jesus Christ, who says: "I am come ... to do thy will O God" (Hebrews 10:7). This whole will and purpose of God, therefore, is personified, or incarnated, in Jesus Christ, God's Son; and although you have heard that a thousand times and have listened to many, many messages about it, it may not have occurred to you that there is one statement by the Lord Jesus which comprehends all this: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). That is a comprehensive statement as to the whole will of God.


What do you have a way for? To get somewhere! A way implies a goal, a moving toward an object. 'I am the way of this eternal purpose of God. I am the way of its realization. I am the way, the embodiment of the will of God.' "I am come to do thy will, O my God." The way is a Person.


That simple clause, or definition, is so immense [86/87] that it needs many hours! Men have been preaching on it for centuries. In effect the Lord Jesus is saying: 'I am set in a realm which has been deceived and led away from the will of God, from the Divine purpose. I am in a world that is now a lie in its constitution. I am the truth over against all that which is false in the human race, in the creation, in this universe.' If the will of God is all-comprehending, vast, and great, the lie of the devil is an immense thing, and it is something that has to be overcome in you, in me, and in the whole race. Truth has to be put into our constitution to destroy the lie that is there.

I dare not dwell upon that, but just indicate it in the connection with which we are concerned -- the will of God. "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). We talk about 'conversion', and, you know, a fundamental factor in conversion, in turning round in the opposite way, is turning from what is false to what is true, coming into the truth of God, as to why we have a being in His purpose, why He is dealing with us as He is according to His great will, and what it all means. Do you and I not need every day to know the good of that conversion, the real and true meaning of God in Christ for us?


We have far too small an idea of that! There is a marvellous statement in the Letter of Paul to the Colossians, where he speaks of the life which God foreordained unto His glory. Before ever the world was created and man upon it, God's thought was centred in this thing called 'life'. It was in His eternal counsels. That is the battleground of the ages, and is the key to so much -- what God means by life, the life of God's eternal purpose, the life of His all-captivating will, the life which the Lord Jesus is.

This is the day which is called 'Good Friday' and we were reading this morning of the Lord Jesus, having received the sentence of crucifixion, walking toward the Hill with Simon carrying His Cross, and the women of Jerusalem weeping and wailing for Him. I was impressed again with the way in which He turned to them and said: 'Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me. There is no need to weep for Me. You weep for yourselves and for your children, but not for Me!' What does that mean? That this Cross, toward which He was going, on which He was going so soon to be impaled, and all that was going to fall upon Him there, was not the end. The women may have thought so, but He knew that it was not. Even then tears for Him were not justified: "... who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross ..." (Hebrews 12:2). The way of the Cross was life, not death. This was how He was going to secure that for which He had come, and which God had intended for man all down the ages, and from before the world was.

"I am the way, the truth, and the life." Dear friends, we cannot get outside of that! If we comprehended what those three terms mean, that would be all that we need. They compass everything.

The New Testament, then, introduces this eternal will and purpose of God in a Person; but what is the rest of the New Testament about after the Gospels? It is simply the working out of these three things. All the rest of the New Testament is gathered into the way that Christ is, the truth that is in Jesus, and the life that is by His death and resurrection.

Having said that, we can come to our particular message for this time.


We must read some Scriptures to get to this:

"This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success" (or, as the margin says, " deal wisely") -- (Joshua 1:8).

"And now, 0 Israel, hearken unto the statutes and unto the judgement, which I teach you, for to do them; that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, giveth you. Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you " (Deuteronomy 4:1, 2).

"These words, which I command thee this day, shall be upon thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shall talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be for frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thy house, and upon thy gates" (Deuteronomy 6:6-9).

"He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that [87/88] proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4).

The Divine laws of realizing the Divine purpose of knowing, of doing the will of God, which is the ultimate thing in Christianity. Here it is perfectly clear that it is the law of the absolute government of the Word of God.

We have read from Joshua, and we have intimated already that the Book of Joshua is the resumption, after a nation's failure and perishing in the wilderness, of the Divine will and purpose, and moving forward now under that government. Right there at the beginning, the foundation of this new movement and all that is involved in it, all that it means against a repetition of the failure and tragedy that has been, is the meticulous observance of the Word of God. The Word and the will of God go together, and there is no progress in this great calling into which you and I are called in the mind, the purpose and the will of God except by the Word of God. There must be obedience to the Word, the cherishing of the Word, the binding of the Word upon our lives in all matters. I have said how meticulous the Lord was in that Book of Deuteronomy because, on the one side, there was the terrible tragedy which had taken place and, on the other side, the tremendous prospect. There, in chapter after chapter, He is saying: 'Remember what I said? Remember what I said! Call to remembrance all that I have said to you.' The law of prospect is the government of God's Word. The people had been forty years on probation in the wilderness, and the one thing that stood over that forty years was a testing of the heart as to the Word of God. Remember Deuteronomy 8:2: "And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God hath led thee these forty years in the wilderness, that He might humble thee, to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. " In other words: 'Whether thou wouldest obey His Word, and what place His Word had in thy heart.'

The probation of life is always the testing of a wilderness experience. The trials of the journey and of the experiences are, in God's mind, to see what is in our hearts, whether we really have a heart for the Lord and whether, after all our professions and protestations, the will of God is really the thing which governs our whole life. The Lord is trying us out on that -- "Whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no." The testing is by the Word of God, and perhaps we know something of that daily?

So we come to Joshua, and a new phase begins on the other side of Jordan with a reaffirmation that the Word of God is to be kept always before the face, on their arms, on their foreheads, on the thresholds of their homes. The Word is always there to govern them. They were a called people, called by God out of Egypt, and called by His name, but the calling is not enough. We have all been called, but, after the call, comes the testing; then, when the testing has been proved. we are chosen.


Everything in the Word of God turns upon this one thing: the government of God's Word. Where the Word of God was not honoured there was disaster, and because of failure to do what God had made known as to His will there was calamity. Again and again in the Old Testament we find disaster as the result of a failure to keep the Word of God always before them. Even Moses, who had sacrificed and suffered so much for those people, was at the last forbidden by the Lord to ask any more that he might go into the land. Why? Because the Lord had said something and Moses had not meticulously observed what He had said. 'Well,' you say, 'that is terrible! He is a hard God.' Ah! but you must remember that it was not just Moses -- Moses has attained and obtained now, for he was with Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration -- but it was the people for ever afterwards who had to learn this lesson: you cannot violate anything that the Lord has said without forfeiting and losing something.

Then we remember David bringing the ark up to Jerusalem and making a new cart on which to carry it. But there was a disaster on the way. The whole thing, about which they seemed to be having such a good time and feeling that they were being prospered and blessed of the Lord, turned into that threshing-floor calamity. Uzzah died before the Lord, and David was angry with Him that day. He turned the ark aside and went and sulked, nursing his grievance with the Lord. But he got over that, and we do get over these things! We have those bad times with the Lord, but when we get over them He is able to show us the meaning of what He has done. David went back to the Word of the Lord and found the Lord's instructions about the carrying of the ark. He had not said: 'Thou shalt make a new cart.' That was not in the Word at all, indeed, it was another heathen idea. Then David saw and said: 'Oh, it is written that the Levites shall carry the ark.' The tragedy of that day, with the all good intentions, was because the [88/89] Word of God was overlooked and missed, but the Lord never overlooks His Word.

There may be many secret tragedies in our lives, many arrests in our spiritual progress, not because our motives were not good, but the best motives may just miss the particular thought of God, and He does not substitute a good motive for something that He has laid down as law.

This all sounds very terrible, but we must take it further, and this is where our hearts are really going to be touched. The answer to these failures was not just a sort of legal, mechanical way of observing some statement in the Bible. The issue was very much bigger than that! If you will look at every such instance in the Old Testament, the big and the small, you will see that it was always a matter of the Lord's presence. Do you remember Ai? What had the Lord said about the principles of spiritual progress? You know what He had said! The people came to Ai, and you know what Achan did. He violated the Word of God, and the whole of Israel was arrested in their progress, brought to a standstill and there was a scene of tragedy. But what was the real tragedy? The manifest presence of the Lord had departed! Is not the manifest presence of the Lord everything? Oh, we do not want anything greater than that! Surely there is no heart here which is interested in anything in this life and all this world apart from the presence of the Lord! If only we know that the Lord is with us, what a lot of difference that makes! There may be a lot of victories, a lot of strength, yes, there may be conflicts, as there were with Joshua afterwards, there may be many problems and many difficulties in life, but if only we are assured that the Lord is with us, that is everything, is it not? I tell you that is my battleground all the way along. The devil is so cruel, using the very discipline of God meant to bring us into His greater fullness, using those trials as accusations against God, and making us feel that because of this situation and circumstance, this trial, this difficulty, this thing that is so hard, the Lord is not with us. Don't you listen to that lie! You will be absolutely worsted, ruled out of all the conflict and the possession if you take on that lie of the devil.

The presence of the Lord is the battleground. What can we do without His presence? How can we get on without it? What would our meetings be but for His presence? If only we are able to say after our prayer-meetings: 'The Lord was with us. He was there and we knew His presence.' That is life, and that is strength.

Now all that in the Bible, as you see, hung upon this Word of God. He is with us according to His Word, on the basis of His Word and He is only with us as His Word is in our hearts. So the Apostle says: "Let the word of God dwell in you richly in all wisdom" (Colossians 3:16), and that is the Presence of the Lord. He stood back at Ai and in the incident in David's life because of the defaulting over His Word. And it is always like that.


The Holy Spirit! You see, He is present as a jealous Trustee of the Word, will and purpose of God. I thank God for that! You are probably thinking: 'This is rather oppressive, rather heavy, exacting, demanding and rather hard!' Oh, yes, that is true and right, but the Holy Spirit ...! For what has He come? Why is He here? Why is He in us? He is, as I have said, the jealous custodian of the Word of God. He is very watchful. He is referred to as the "seven Spirits of God" (Revelation 3:1), which means complete spiritual knowledge, discernment and perception. If I may put it in this way, the Holy Spirit is here in trust with the will of God, in trust with the purpose of God, and, therefore, in trust with the Word of God, for these things all go together. The known presence of the Holy Spirit, and the working of the energy of the Holy Spirit are all in this connection -- to bring us, by way of the Word of God, to the end to which we have been called. The Word of God is the ground of the Holy Spirit's activity. You see that illustrated here in the Old Testament. The Spirit of God is in charge. He is the Captain of the hosts of the Lord. In the New Testament the Holy Spirit has come to dwell within in order to keep us on the line of the Word of God, and if we are sensitive to Him, without perhaps knowing the particular Scripture that applies, we shall know that something is not right. We are just out of adjustment with the Lord. There is something that does not say: 'That is right and good and proper.' There is a sort of pause in us. The Holy Spirit knows why that is, and if we will seek the Lord about it and turn to His Word, He will just put His finger on something; and we say: 'Why, that has been there all the time, but here my situation just contradicts it.' So we are tested by the Word as to the heart, and the Holy Spirit has come for that. It is the ground for His working.

Let me say to young Christians, out of a long experience, that, although you may not understand a great deal of the Bible, and you may not seem to enjoy it, read it! Even if it is labour, read it, work at it, get down to it. You know, you have a tape recorder inside you! We have a lot of tapes in the [89/90] office of messages spread over many years. Sometimes one is asked for and we look it out, and just occasionally I want to hear a bit of it. Then I say: 'Did I say that? Oh, yes, it is coming back to me now from somewhere far away. Yes, I did say it.' Have you tried to remember something, someone's name, some person or some particular thing, but it has gone? 'What was that person's name? When was it that that happened? Where was it? Oh, I give it up!' Do you? If you understand anything about psychology, you won't give it up. When it happens with me my folk say: 'He has gone away!' I cannot let go of that thing until I have remembered it! I am not looking anywhere for it, but I set my mind to recover it, and then the point comes where I feel utterly defeated. But I have learnt something, and I let go. Later on, the thing just comes floating into my mind. Where has it come from? My tape recorder, speaking back after perhaps many years. Have you had that experience?

The Word of God is like that. I am so glad that in my early Christian life I set myself to a systematic study of the Bible, book by book. I did not understand it all, indeed, there are many things today that I do not understand, but in those days I could often have closed the book because it did not seem to mean anything. But I worked at it; I analysed the books without spiritual understanding, but I worked -- and am I not glad today! If I have any spiritual ministry today it is the Holy Spirit working upon what is there. The Word is there, and the Spirit works upon it. In times of need it becomes more than the Word -- it becomes the life.

Young Christians, do not give up the Bible because it is difficult. Work at it, and the time will come when you will say: 'Thank God for that hard labour over the Bible!' One of the greatest, if not the greatest, Bible expositors of this last century said to me once: 'Sometimes it is such a weariness in my work with the Bible that I almost wish there was no Bible there!' Well, he laboured at it, but the fruit of his ministry is all over the world.

The Spirit works upon the Word. Give Him His ground. It is the ground of spiritual progress by the Holy Spirit. There may be an unconscious control of the Word in the sense that you may not know exactly what a Scripture is, but you know there is something that has got hold of you. That is the Spirit working. The thing is written inside you by the Spirit. The new covenant is written upon the heart.

That is the beginning; but what does this mean after all? It may still seem objective to you, just things said, but spiritual progress in the will of God unto the full purpose of God in our calling means that demands will not be made without a very meticulous observance of what is in the Bible.

Why this word today? Oh, it is born out of a tremendous amount of exercise over recent years! Why the weakness of Christianity today? Why the weakness of so many Christians? Why the slowness of their spiritual progress? Why the failure of so many? I put my finger upon a large number of things that are here in the Word of God, as clearly to be seen as anything can be, and I look at those Christians and find that in their behaviour, in their appearance, in their conduct and way of going on, in their relationships there is just as clear and definite a contradiction of what is here in the Bible as anything could be. The Bible has something to say about anything that you can think of. If I mentioned some of the things that the Bible speaks of, you would be surprised: 'The Bible says something about that?' Yes, it does! What is the meaning of the tragedy of so many marriages? That is a practical point! Then you go behind and ask: 'Why did the marriage take place at all? On what ground? A fascination? An infatuation? An emotion? An impulse? A desire to be married anyhow?' It is a tragedy, because that marriage was not based upon a real spiritual relatedness. The first thing was not given its place, because there were other interests. The Word says precisely: "Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers" (2 Corinthians 6:14). Are you going to make spiritual progress if you violate that? No! There will certainly be tragedy sooner or later. I take that as an example, but I could mention many other things that I am seeing in Christianity today.

I am trying to be faithful with you young Christians, because I am deeply concerned for you that you do not miss God's best, God's fullest, and so I say that that depends upon your having the Word of God in you, so that the Holy Spirit can touch something and say: 'Now, what about this?' I want to be serious on this matter, because it is a pressing issue in Christianity today. The Christianity that is being produced now is a terrible caricature of Christ. Young Christians, having God's fullest and best depends upon your being serious about the Word of God.

There is the other side, of course, and what a blessed thing it is to feel that there is no impediment, no restraint with the Lord, that there is a clear way, and that the presence of the Lord is very real! Heaven is opened! I know of nothing more blessed in all life than those times when there is no cloud between the Lord and myself, and His [90/91] presence is so real and so wonderful. I wish it were always like that! We sing the hymn:

"These were but seasons, beautiful and rare;

   Abide with me, and they shall ever be."

Well, that is the wrong way of putting it! It should be:

"Let me abide with Thee, and they shall ever be."

Deviations bring a cloud, but there is nothing more precious in all human history than this joy of the Lord, this peace of God, this sense that the Lord is for you, not against you. You have days, hours, weeks of spiritual ecstacy, and so it is worth it to be obedient and let the Lord's Word rule in your heart, as the Scripture says.

When the Lord Jesus was dealing with the devil in the wilderness, He was dealing with an evil person, but He was dealing with very much more than that -- He was dealing with the whole issue of life and death. The devil was trying to get Him, coerce Him, tempt Him, constrain Him, compel Him to take a way which was out of the will of God and would mean premature death, a death which would be death and not victory. The Lord Jesus was dealing with this whole issue of life and death, so underline and encircle the word: "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Put that in the positive way, ruling out the negative clause: 'Man shall live by every word that cometh out of the mouth of God' -- and that is God's thought.

Suffer this personal word: I was very near to despair a little while ago, especially in the realm of ministry. I went to the Lord, and He turned me to a Scripture which hit me like a sledgehammer: "Preach the word, be instant in season (that is very easy!), out of season (when everything says: 'This is not the time'), but preach to reprove, rebuke, exhort" -- and here we are!

If you have had too much reproof, too much rebuke, well, I exhort you: Give the word its place. The Holy Spirit will do the rest and you will go on the way with unimpeded progress.

(To be continued)


"And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent ... but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue" (Exodus 4:10).

"And the Lord ... said go, and thou shalt save Israel ... And he (Gideon) said, Oh, my Lord ... behold ... I am the least in my father's house" (Judges 6:14-15).

"Then said I, woe is me! for I am undone ... And he (the Lord) said, Go ..." (Isaiah 6:5, 9).

"Then said I, Ah! Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a child ... The Lord said ... Thou shalt go ..." (Jeremiah 1:6-7).

"I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son ... And the Lord took me ... and said unto me, Go ..." (Amos 7:14-15).

"And he appointed twelve that they might be with him, and that he might send them forth" (Mark 3:14).

"Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto me" (Acts 1:8).

THE last words quoted above are the answer to all the others. Although Pentecost marked a new epoch and method of the Holy Spirit's activity, yet throughout all time God's Work has been done through the Spirit's agency. Were we asked what is the essential and indispensable equipment for the work of God we would say unhesitatingly; The anointing and filling with the Holy Spirit!

In the instances cited above we have men of vastly different types, but they are all brought to a common basis. Moses was a man of tremendous natural and acquired ability. There was initiative, drive, passion, devotion and courage on the emotional and volitional side, linked with "all the wisdom of the Egyptians" on the intellectual side, and evidently considerable strength on the physical. Isaiah and Jeremiah were not without a wealthy endowment of inherited social, religious, and ecclesiastical advantages and good training. Then what need we say about Paul on this side? On the other hand, Gideon, Amos and most of [91/92] the Apostles were of humble and simple birth, meagre education, and few worldly advantages. Of the latter it is recorded that "they were ignorant and unlearned men". All these, we have said, had to be brought to a common basis. Through painful and sometimes long drawn-out discipline and trial the former had to come to the place where they recognized that only God could do His own work, and that He never uses any man or his natural equipment except on the ground of an utter dependence upon Him: that gifts, training, ability as such do not count with God and are only of service when the man has been translated from a natural ground to a spiritual through the deep inworking of the Cross in its principles and laws. Nothing but spiritual endowments can meet spiritual forces, and this is the background of all the work of God.

God may use the gifts with which He has entrusted men by nature or acquisition, but not until they have been brought through death on the natural plane to life on the spiritual. Moses went that way; Paul went that way; and so have all who have really been used of God for Spiritual and Eternal ends; that is, if the worker as well as the work was to be accepted.

No one will think that we are against all-round training and equipment. Far be it from us to suggest that this is of no vital consequence. What we are emphasizing is that though given every possible natural or acquired endowment, education, natural ability, zeal, evangelical faith and doctrine, a knowledge of Christian work, etc., there may yet remain an essential without which all this is going to fail. This superlative factor is: "filled with the Holy Spirit."

On the other hand, a Spirit-filled man is never one who holds a brief for ignorance or despises and neglects such acquisitions of knowledge as will be ground upon which the Lord may work. It is one of the romances of the Spirit's activity that under His stimulation and quickening many of the most illiterate have become able and eager to master things for which they had neither desire nor ability before.

Now these simple basic things lead us on further. The Lord Jesus as


declared: 'I do nothing of myself; as I hear I speak.' 'The words that I speak, I speak not from myself.' 'The works that I do, I do not from myself.' Here is even a sinless "myself" refusing to speak His own words or do His own works. He was deliberately hanging and drawing upon the Father for everything. It is clear that He realized that even in His own sinless case this was necessary, and to do otherwise was to lay His mission open to infinite peril from without. Thus it was an utterness of God. For such an utterness -- which, let us urge, must characterize all who are to most closely approximate to God's ideal servant -- there must somewhere at some time be a zero point on man's side. This zero point is clearly seen in the life and ministry of so many of the Lord's servants -- the time when despair of everything well-nigh engulfed them, and 'God was their only asset'.

But is it necessary that this point should only be reached at a more or less late stage in Christian life and service, after perhaps, years of activity? Should there be a considerable degree of ineffectiveness, failure and abortion because such a large percentage of the effort and activity is "in the flesh", or of man'? It is necessary that at last, perhaps at long last, the big framework, the loud hammering, the feverish busyness, etc., should begin to fall away and the genuine spiritual and eternal result be comparatively small. We may settle it once and for all that only what the Holy Spirit does will attain unto God's end and remain eternally.

Surely God would have zero on man's side reached at the beginning! Surely this is according to the experience of men in Scripture! At least it was a definite registering of that point to which they were continually brought back if they tended to move beyond it in self-sufficiency.

This, we believe most earnestly to be the true nature of training for the Lord's work alongside of and in company with, a growing knowledge of Himself in His word and in experience. The only knowledge of the Word of God which is of any profit in service is experimental knowledge. That knowledge is the knowledge of God Himself which makes the Word live.

Moses was trained for His life work in the hard school of inaction. Forty years in a wilderness tending sheep for a man of a tremendously active disposition! He had set out with great visions. His motive was good and the end in view was right. His filling up of the outline, however, was mistaken. How to be patient with wrong without condoning it or losing a passion for right is one of the big lessons to be learned by those who would deliver men. Not to put a halo of romance about service for men and to think that there will be a due appreciation of one's self-sacrifice without becoming cynical by reason of disillusionment is another. Not in any way, manner, tone or conduct to suggest superiority is a third. These were some of the minor [92/93] lessons which Moses had to learn, but they were themselves big ones. Dependence, faith, obedience, humility were the primary things, and these cannot be got from books or lectures.

Isaiah had to have a vision by which he was overwhelmed with his own unfitness.

Paul had to come off his intellectual, ecclesiastical, traditional, official high horse with a tremendous thud and grovel in the dust in subjection to the hated and despised "Jesus".

The disciples had to learn many lessons as to their own miserable inability to satisfy the heart of their Divine Master, and, at length, they all suffered the shame of having been proved incapable of believing through the cross.

This is all necessary training and preparation. How few there are who would voluntarily accept a course of training like this! But this surely ought to be the nature of the work done in a place for the preparation of God's servants. There should be a handing over to the Holy Spirit to take into and through all such experiences of spiritual discipline as are necessary to a deep knowledge of God. There should be the knocking of the bottom out of our ideas of work and service. There should be the making of everything inward and not outward; spiritual and not natural; from God and not from ourselves. If needs be, there should be the discipline of inaction. It is so easy to be content if only we are busy and active, but often this only gets in God's way, and He has to take our work away in order to teach us that it is Himself, and not service as such. With many the Lord has to adopt a wearing-out policy, for they will not yield otherwise.


The ideal 'School of the Prophets' is that in which the spiritual life has first consideration; where the Holy Spirit is dealing with the individual and where the Word of God is being made necessary for light, strength, comfort and direction. If we are going to live by the Word, the Word must live for us, and experience is the meeting-place of life and knowledge.

No training centre is adequate which is only intellectual and practical in the sense of doing work. There must be primarily the attention to the spiritual life, its nurturing and directing, and especially the presence of the Holy Spirit must be sought and guarded for that work which can never be done from without.

Now, having said all this, we come back to recognize that, in principle , this was the basis of the mighty activities of God from the time of the fulfilment of Acts 1:8. The Cross, in all its fulness, was brought by the Holy Spirit into the lives of those first believers and witnesses, and the change in the character of the apostles is most noticeable. They became selfless, humble, fearless, full of love, patience, and long-suffering. 'Position' or 'place', reputation, prestige, 'success', popularity, etc., no longer motivated their service. Note how on everything they are directed and controlled by the Spirit! The Lord is released when the bands of the self-life in all its forms in His servants are burnt up by the Fire. As through His Cross He came to His own personal liberation to the boundless so, as His Cross is planted deeply in the natural life of His servants, He is free to do His mightier works. Oh, that we could see early enough in our lives that when Christ went to the Cross He not only took our sins, but He took us! and that not just as sinners, but as men; as preachers, teachers, workers, and everything, so that "henceforth it is no longer I, but Christ". All too late some of us have had to be crucified in one or more of these capacities; and through death preaching has had to be put off the human level and born again from above. And the same with other things. Oh, for a new company of such who right at the beginning are put there! Then God will do His new thing and we shall see a fresh release of the Lord. He is not straitened in Himself, but He is straitened in the natural activities of His servants, which activities are brought over into spiritual things by the horizontal method instead of by the vertical -- that is, along the human line, instead of by the Cross, the resurrection, ascension and descent from above.

As it was in the time of the types the strictest laws governed the anointing with the holy oil, and it was repeatedly stressed that "upon man's flesh shall not the oil come", so the Lord, who is no less particular today, will not give His Spirit to come upon man's "flesh" -- man's self-life. All that must first come under the power of the Blood and be taken to the Cross to give the Spirit a clear way. The first witnesses had nothing to gain, but everything to lose in this life by even naming the Name of Jesus. There was nothing that could be in the slightest degree a sop for the senses. Those at Jerusalem lost everything very early and were scattered abroad. From without the Lord kept everything pure and free. But He never departs from His principle, His original premise, and where He is allowed He will work this state into the very spirit and life of His servant in order that all things may be of Himself, and "whatsoever God doeth it shall be for ever". The law of the corn of wheat most surely operates: enlargement through limitation, gain out of loss, life out of death. [93/94]


[G. H. Lang]


1. Man is conscious of two worlds, an outer and an inner, a public and a private, an objective and a subjective. He is conscious also that these two worlds act and react upon each other, he is influenced by that world around and he in turn influences it.

2. He is further conscious that his own inner and private world is a triple realm, each of the three elements of which interact upon one another. In the one realm work thoughts, ideas, reasonings, plans. These thoughts upon various subjects arouse feelings, of love or hatred, likes or dislikes, affection or aversion. In the third realm of his inner life which man can distinguish he observes the will at work; he makes decisions for or against a proposed action or course.

This triple and interacting world is termed the heart, because it is the centre of man's whole life, and out of it flow the issues of life, as the blood flows from the physical heart to all parts of man's body.

3. Man is further and painfully conscious that both the world around and the world within are in disorder. Something is radically wrong with both. The physical world and its forces now help him, now hurt him. The moral influences, also, of the beings he touches are now a blessing, now a bane, now they purify him, now corrupt him; and he thus influences others.

4. Moreover, the uniform experience of all mankind, continued through thousands of years, has proved man's personal and complete inability to reduce to order either the world without or the world within. The confusion and corruption of both are more awful today than ever.

Each man knows that his thoughts are never absolutely right, true, correct, pure. He thinks wrongly, forms opinions that usually need correcting, has ideas that he knows are foul, or cruel, or unworthy. These he can never wholly exclude, or dismiss, or purify. He knows, too, that his feelings are more or less selfish, prejudiced, deceitful, and are all too likely to hurry him into actions he knows to be unwise or wrong. He is also aware that his will is inconstant, unreliable, too easily swayed by his desires or dislikes, and too often divided, distracted, that is, dragged in opposite directions.

To right-minded persons all this is a cause of grief and deep solicitude: but what can be done? In his soberer moments man responds sadly to the cry of the old writer: "Wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me?" (Romans 7:24).


5. Now it is a momentous fact that once, and only once since this disorder entered man's nature, there lived on earth a man whose inner world was completely and continuously free from disorder. He never had thoughts that he needed to correct or regret, He never felt feelings that were unloving; His will was single, undistracted, always directed to truth, right, purity.

6. Moreover, He manifested also a notable power of control over the world around Him. He reduced tempests to quietness; He walked serenely on storm-tossed water, His word of command caused food to multiply, diseases to disappear, health and vigour to revive; the very dead were restored to life, showing that His authority extended to that region of the universe also.

7. But more notable was His influence upon the moral world around. He read the thoughts of men's hearts; the wicked slunk from His presence convicted and ashamed; the repentant were pardoned and granted peace as to the guilty past; the fainthearted were cheered, the sad comforted, the perplexed guided: there was no sincere heart but was the better for contact with Jesus of Nazareth.

Even yet more noteworthy was His authority over demons, those invisible aggravators of human discord and disorder. They trembled before Him, fled at His command, and their victims became gloriously free from their debasing influence.

Ample proof of all this is found in the four accounts of His life known as the Gospels.

8. The advent of such a Man in this disordered universe was of the highest possible importance and significance. It showed that there is a life-energy superior to all forces of disorder, though lived under truly human conditions. "Our Saviour, Christ Jesus, abolished death and brought life and incorruption to light" (2 Timothy 1:10). Before His life on earth it had not here been demonstrated conclusively that there exists a life that corruption cannot reach, for in fact all other life had decayed.

9. But what life had this Man? It was human life, showing all the normal, ideal marks of this. But why, then, did His life prevail in the battle against sin while all other human beings fail in this battle? One who lived with Him three and a half years and watched Him closely, by night as well as by day, has left on record the result or his scrutiny [94/95] of Jesus. He tells us that he came to see that working through the human life of Christ there was another and higher life, one that had the impress and marks of eternity for it showed no trace of that variableness, frailty, transitoriness that the life of earth displays. It was, indeed that eternal life, that divine life, which had always existed with God the Father and was now in Jesus being manifested unto men on earth (1 John 1:2). Unaided human life, even when originally sinless, had always succumbed to the forces of disorder: human life conjoined with, suffused with, reinforced by eternal life was superior thereto. The Son of Mary, the Son of man, was the eternal Son of God, God manifest in human nature.

"O loving wisdom of our God!

   When all was sin and shame,

A second Adam to the fight

   And to the rescue came.

"O wisest love! that flesh and blood

   Which did in Adam fail,

Should strive afresh against the foe,

   Should strive and should prevail.

"And that a higher gift than grace

   Should flesh and blood refine,

God's presence, and His very self,

   And essence all-divine."


10. This uniqueness of Jesus Christ involves, as a necessary consequence, that to Him all other men must resort if they would find the secret and power of victory, order, peace, for He stands forth the solitary Man who ever held that secret, secured that victory, enjoyed that peace. There never has been any other person who has saved sinners from their sins, or was entitled to say: 'I am the Light upon all your problems; come unto Me and I will give you rest from disorder and disaster.'

God sent forth His Son to be the Saviour of the world, and there is none other. Man must fix his attention upon Christ, as an Object outside of himself, if order is ever to reign within himself. To such as will not turn to Christ there must of simple necessity apply His words: "Ye will not come to me that ye may have life" (John 5:40); for none other of the sons of men has ever possessed that life or could impart it to another.

11. This indicates a fundamental principle of the true life of a Christian: it is a result of occupation of heart with Christ as a historical Person, the facts concerning whom are learned, believed, weighed, remembered. It is therefore no marvel that the Prince of darkness and disorder has ever striven to obscure and pervert the facts as to the Person of Jesus Christ, for thus he hinders his blinded dupes from trusting Christ (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).

In the second place this involves meditation upon the Bible as the message from God through which alone those facts can be ascertained. For it is evident that God has seen fit that the knowledge of the facts, dispensed at first through persons who had known Jesus, has been preserved for later generations solely in the Bible. Again, therefore, it is no marvel that the Father of lies has striven ceaselessly to spread doubts and denials as to the trustworthiness of these records, so that his victims should not, through them, come to the knowledge of Christ.

(To be completed)


We acknowledge with gratitude the following gifts received for the ministry of A Witness and A Testimony from the 26th March to the 31st May, 1970:

Aberdare £2; Arnes, Norway £5 10s.; Auckland, New Zealand £2; Birmingham £2; Bolton £3 3s.; Bournemouth £2, £1; Bradford £2; Brighton £1; Bromley £5, £1, £5; Broxbourne £1; Buckingham £3; Burnley 5s.; Cabinteely 10s.; Cardiff £2 2s.; Chesterfield £5; Deal £2, £10; Doncaster £1; Dudley £1 1s.; Edinburgh £1; Erlanger, Kentucky £2 1s. 8d.; France £40; Glasgow £3, 11s. 6d.; Hastings £5; Hull £5; Hunter's Quay £1 11s. 6d.; Invercargill, New Zealand £1; Kamo, New Zealand £1; London S.E.1 £1 1s.; S.E.4 10s., £5; S.E.12 £5; S.E.21 £1; S.E.23 £5, 10s., 10s., £5, 7s., £5, £1; S.E.26 £2; S.W.19 £1; W.12 £10; Macclesfield £1; Manchester 10s.; Melbourne, Australia £2; Meols 10s.; Newmarket £2; Penticton, British Columbia £2 14s.; Plumpton, New South Wales £1 8s.; Reigate £2, 17s. 6d.; Rickmansworth £10; Riehen, Switzerland £5 5s. 3d.; Ruislip £1; Sandown £5; Simmozheim, Germany £1; Toronto, Ontario £1; Torquay 10s.; Tuart Hill, Australia £1; Twickenham £2 2s., £8; Utrecht, Holland £2 4s. 4d; Waterloo, Ontario £2 8s. 2d.; Zetten, Holland £2. Total: £215 2s. 11d. (Continued on page 83) [95/96]

[The following ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS were on the bottom of page 83.] Altoona, Pa. $6; Arnold, Md. $5; Ashland, Va. $2; Baltimore, Md. $5; Beaumont, Texas $2, $5; Birmingham, Ala. $15, $10, $15; Butler, Ga. $17; Casco, Maine $40; Clubb, Mo. $10; Conway, Mo. $2; Dallas, Texas $1.15; Fort Worth, Texas $10; Gresley, Colo. $2.60; Haddon Heights, N.J. $50; Irving, Texas $10; Las Vegas, Nevada $1; Lexington, Mass. $25; Martinez, Calif. $15; North Augusta, S.C. $20; North St. Paul, Minn. $10, $5; Orlando, Fla. $5, $4; Pinson, Ala. $20; Portland, Ore. $1; St. Petersburg, Fla. $2; Silsbee, Texas $3, $4; Smithfield, Va. $1; Somerville, Mass. $20; South Gate, Calif. $10; Tacoma, Wash. $2; Talladega, Ala. $5; Vermilion, Ohio $5; Washington, D.C. $20; Woodinville, Wash. $5. Total: $390.75.

Calgary, Alberta $5, $20; Don Mills, Ontario $20. Total: C$45.00.
Tonsberg, Norway NKr. 60.00.


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) (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 [96/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: 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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