"A Candlestick of Pure
Gold: of Beaten Work" Exodus 25:31
"The Testimony of Jesus" Revelation 1:9
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|May -- June, 1971
||Vol. 49, No. 3
[The following letter
was inserted between the inside front cover and the first page of this
Witness and Testimony
39, Honor Oak Road,
London, S.E. 23, England
To Our Readers:
Greetings in the Name of the Lord Jesus!
Toward the end of January my husband, Mr. Austin-Sparks, the Editor of
this paper, was taken quite ill with pleurisy.
He spent some time being nursed at home before going into Hospital. On
his return we hoped he would have made progress towards full recovery,
but although all was done that could be, humanly speaking, the Lord
called him into His presence on April 13th, quite peacefully after a
time of prolonged weakness.
For the present we are expecting the paper to be published as usual
until the Lord makes the pattern clear.
We should greatly value, too, your prayer fellowship for Miss Beryl
Guy, our friend and secretary, who has been with us for so long. She
was taken ill early in the year and has been in Hospital. She is now
living at home again, but is continuing under treatment and is unable
to fulfill her usual duties. The Lord has wonderfully provided all
needed help in the Office, for which we do praise Him.
We shall continue to pray that you may be blessed through this ministry.
Yours in His service,
THE HOLY SPIRIT'S BIOGRAPHY OF CHRIST (4)
CHRIST GREATER THAN ALL
Reading: Matthew 3:1-6, 13-17; 4:1-11.
WE are seeing that the Holy Spirit is taking up the history of the Lord
Jesus and is repeating it in the lives of His people, and we come to
the next chapter of the biography that He is writing in the hearts of
It is unfortunate that these chapters in Matthew are divided as they
are, for the section that we have just read ought to be one chapter. We
should never divide the baptism, the anointing and the temptation, for
they are all parts of one thing, and each depends upon the other. We
shall see that as we go on, but let us come back to the beginning, to
John the Baptist's preaching in the wilderness of Judaea.
This was evidently one of those occasions in history when there was a
new movement of the Spirit of God from heaven: what we would call in
our time a revival. The Spirit of God was coming down upon that country
and was convicting men and women of sin, and as they were convicted of
sin they became afraid of judgment -- and that is what every revival
ought to be like. First of all there should be conviction of sin and
then fear of judgment. John cried: "Who warned you to flee from the
wrath to come?" A great spirit of condemnation and conviction had come
upon the people and they were fleeing to John to know the way of escape
from the coming wrath of God. Of course, that was just the ministry of
the Old Testament Prophets.
Then right in the midst of that revival, or that Holy Spirit-convicting
of sin and judgment, Jesus appeared on the scene. It is wonderful that,
while all this was going on, He suddenly came into the midst and right
into that particular situation. The whole multitude were under a great
burden of sin and fear of coming judgment, and the Lamb of God appeared
in that -- "Behold, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the
world!" (John 1:29). [49/50]
THE TWO PROPHETS
Now John was the last of the Old Testament Prophets and the beginning
of the New Testament Prophets, and if you see Jesus standing there at
the side of John the Baptist, you see the Old Testament and the New
Testament. All that is in the Old Testament is gathered up in John the
Baptist. Jesus said that he was the greatest of the Prophets, and that
was because he gathered up all the Prophets into himself. As I have
said, the ministry of the Old Testament Prophets was to bring
conviction of sin and fear of judgment, but standing by the side of
John the Baptist is another Prophet, One who is greater than John, and
He has come to answer the great cry of the Old Testament for
deliverance from sin and judgment. He has come to bear away the sin of
So John is the sum of the Old Testament Prophets and Jesus takes up the
work where all the Old Testament Prophets laid it down. They were not
able to go beyond conviction of sin, for they were quite unable to take
sin away. Jesus takes up their work at that point, and the imperfect
work of the Old Testament is made perfect in the New.
So you have two things side by side. First you have the two Prophets,
the Old Testament Prophet and the New Testament Prophet.
THE TWO BAPTISMS
Then you have the two baptisms. There are two baptisms in the Bible,
and you will find these mentioned in the nineteenth chapter of the Book
of the Acts, when Paul came to Ephesus and discerned that there was
something missing in the Christians there. He asked them: "Did ye
receive the Holy Spirit when ye believed?" (verse 2), and they replied:
"Nay, we did not so much as hear whether there is a Holy Spirit." So
Paul said: "Into what then were ye baptized? And they said, Into John's
baptism." Then, after Paul had explained the significance, they were
baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.
Now I do not advocate being baptized twice. I believe that in one
country people are baptized every year, but, as far as I can tell, they
are not any the better for that! However, here you have the two
baptisms alongside one another. John said: "I indeed baptize you in
water ... but he that cometh after me is mightier than I ... he shall
baptize you in the Holy Spirit." Water in the Old Testament speaks of
judgment and death. You ask Noah about that! You remember that the
Apostle Peter refers to the flood as the baptism of that time (1 Peter
3:21), and that was a baptism indeed! If you asked those people: 'What
did your baptism mean to you?', and they were able to answer you, they
would say: 'Well, it was judgment and death. That is what the water
meant to us.' Go on a little further in the Old Testament and ask
Pharaoh about water. You know that the Apostle Paul tells the
Corinthians that the Israelites were "all baptized into Moses in the
sea" (verse 2), so the Red Sea was a baptistry. If you asked Pharaoh
and his army what their baptism meant, they would answer: 'It was
judgment and death.'
This was the baptism of water in the Old Testament, and John's baptism
was the baptism of judgment and death. But he said: 'He who comes after
me will baptize in the Spirit', and that is life and salvation, that is
baptism into the Saviour and not into death and judgment, and that is
baptism into eternal life.
THE TWO LAMBS
Then you have the two lambs. They are here in these Scriptures,
although they are not mentioned by name. John represents the Old
Testament system, and therefore he gathers into himself all the types
of the Old Testament, those lambs that were slain over many, many
centuries. Day after day, and year after year the lambs were
sacrificed, but we are told by the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews
that they could never take away sin for, after all, they were only
types, and not the reality. Thousands, or millions, of lambs never took
away sin, but John points to the other Lamb. There is only one Lamb,
but this One does what all the millions could never do: "The Lamb of
God that taketh away the sin of the world." Here you have the reality!
In the Old Testament the lambs were never effective, but this Lamb is
the One who has the power to deal with sin. What those other
lambs could never do He does in one offering for ever.
Do you hear what Jesus says? "Thus it becometh us to fulfil all
righteousness." You remember that we have already said that that word
'righteousness' means 'right standing with God', so Jesus is saying:
"Thus it becometh us to fulfil all right standing with God." Here,
however, our language is difficult, and the real meaning is 'To make
full and complete right standing with God.' Through all the ages all
the world wanted to be in right standing with God and now here at the
Jordan is the One who is making right standing with God complete.
I wonder if that is what your baptism has meant to you? Those waters of
baptism ought to have carried away all condemnation and all judgment.
Charles Wesley wrote one poem that has never [50/51]
become a hymn to be sung, and I do not know whether it would be
possible to sing it. Certainly those in denominations would not be able
to sing it honestly, nor would anyone in the Christian system as it is
today. In that poem Charles Wesley depicted all the different kinds of
Christians: the Presbyterian with his clerical clothes and collar, and
his special kind of hat, and even the Plymouth Brother, whom he
depicted with a Bible in his hand. He brought them all to Jordan, and
when they got into the midst of Jordan, the stream was rushing so fast
that it carried away the clothes of the Presbyterian, everything that
marked the different denominations, and even the Bible of the Plymouth
Brother! All that went down the river, and all that was left was just
men stripped of everything. Did your baptism mean that? You cannot be a
sectarian if you understand your baptism! You cannot be any of these
things that Christianity makes us in these times. The waters of the
Jordan take from us all these artificial things and leave us just men
and women before God. That is the meaning of baptism.
I said that I do not advocate being baptized twice, but perhaps some of
you are feeling that you ought to be baptized again now!
Well, these two baptisms and these two lambs represent a dividing of
everything that is imperfect and a making of a way for that which is
perfect, and they leave us in right standing with God. All these other
things do not bring us into that right standing with God.
THE TWO HORIZONS
Now we have two other things -- two horizons which meet at Jordan.
"Then went out unto him (John) Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the
region round about Jordan." Although these were different regions, they
were one nation, which means that representatives of the nation were
there, and when they were baptized they had to leave their national
ground. They were Jews, or Israelites, no longer. You say: 'Where do
you find that in this Gospel?' Well, what did John say about the Lord
Jesus? 'Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of Jerusalem? Or
the sin of Judaea? Or the sin of Palestine?' Oh, yes, He does, but much
more than that. The whole world meets at the Jordan and all
mere nationalism goes.
When you are baptized into the Holy Spirit you lose your earthly
nationality -- and now you say: 'What is the proof of that?' My answer
is that Hotel Bellevue, Hilterfingen, Switzerland, is the proof of
that! How many nationalities are there in this room? And how many of
you different nationalities will have nothing to do with those of other
nations? 'Oh, he is German, or -- worse still! -- British, or Chinese,
so we do not have anything to do with them!' No, a greater horizon
comes into view in Christ. It is something that the Spirit of God does
in us, so that we love one another without any regard for nationality.
I think Christians have to learn something about this! Although what I
have just said may be very true with us here today, it is not true
amongst Christians everywhere. I have been to other countries and I
have overheard people say: 'I wonder what that Englishman is
doing here?' They were Christians and in a Christian conference -- but
that is an absolute denial of Christ and the Holy Spirit.
Well, all this is very simple, but it is very blessed to have an
experience of the Jordan. You see, I am talking about the real writing
of the life of Christ, and there is a chapter on 'Christ greater than
Now Jesus is baptized, and when He sinks beneath the waters He
represents that whole race of mankind which is discredited by God. When
He said: 'This is the way to fulfil all righteousness, to make real and
full right standing with God', He clearly implied that we are not in
right standing with God without this. The man who is not in right
standing with God must be put under the water out of the sight of God,
for he is the discredited humanity. Surely we agree with that if we
So these waters cover that which is discredited, and when Jesus comes
up out of the water what is the first thing that happens? This One is
accredited: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." He is
accredited by God. He is another Man. The one has been put out of God's
sight, and now the other stands under an opened heaven and God is
saying: 'I love this One!' He is the first of a new race to be
accredited by God.
We must recognize that the anointing must be kept related to the
baptism. There cannot be the anointing until there has been the
baptism. These two follow each other as day follows night, and in the
beginning of the creation the day and the night were one. It is strange
that it says that "there was evening and there was morning, one day"
(Genesis 1:5). I think it just means that you cannot have a whole day
until you have had the night of [51/52] judgment
and condemnation and come out of it into the new day of light. It is
like that in spiritual experience. We know that there was one day in
our lives, and half of it was night when we came under conviction of
sin and under the fear of judgment. That was the dark part of another
day. I am an old-fashioned Christian and I believe that this ought to
be true of everyone who is born again. I think that the trouble with
many Christians is that they never had a dark night, the terrible sense
of sin and judgment which is a necessary preliminary to the day.
Now I know that some of you are saying: 'I know I am a Christian, but I
never had that experience.' I will ask you this: 'If you did not have
it at the beginning, have you had it since? Has there never come into
your spiritual experience something of this sense of the awfulness of
sin and the reality of judgment?' I think that experience has to have a
place in every Christian life, and I am not sure that that night/day
ever has an end. I mean this. Even after many years of being the
Lord's, you can have a terrible experience of what a dreadful thing sin
is in your own heart. I think the Lord has to do that from time to time
to make us appreciate the wonder of being saved. These dark nights of
condemnation leading to glorious mornings of justification are
foundational to spiritual growth.
Well, if you do not believe that theology, or accept that doctrine, do
not worry too much about it. I am only telling you of my experience,
when sometimes I have got into the depths of feeling what a terrible
person I am, and then the Lord has brought me through and shown me what
a glorious thing salvation is. I think that is the only way to
appreciate our salvation. I am sure you agree with that!
Now, what does the anointing mean? There is another Man now, who is on
the life side of the Jordan, and there we are all supposed to receive
the Holy Spirit. I believe that the reception of the Holy Spirit goes
with new birth. As with salvation you come more and more to understand
and appreciate salvation, so with the Holy Spirit you come more and
more to understand the meaning of the Holy Spirit, but that does not
mean that you have just that day received the Holy Spirit. I know I am
on dangerous ground, but I am not going to be drawn into your argument!
I am going right on. What does the anointing mean?
Notice that the anointing relates to only one thing, and that is the
purpose of God in our salvation. I am going to call that purpose
'vocation'. It was here at the Jordan that Jesus took up His life
vocation, the very purpose for which He had come into this world, the
work that He was to accomplish. Get that and hold it for a minute!
The second thing was that it established the relationship between Him
and God. Notice the sequence: first, purpose; second, relationship; and
the third thing was equipment for the vocation. When Jesus was anointed
at the Jordan, that was the beginning of His life vocation, and that
vocation was to be established upon a complete fellowship with His
Father. The relationship was to be on the basis of Son and Father,
Father and Son. The Bible has so much to say about that relationship! I
dare not stop to go over that ground, but the Bible's idea of a
Son/Father relationship is that the Son will do nothing without the
Father. He will consult His Father about everything; He will seek to
know the pleasure of His Father in everything; He will do the will of
His Father in everything; He will listen to no other voice than the
voice of His Father. That is the relationship in both the Old Testament
and the New. You see, the devil has upset that, but here it is
established as the only ground upon which a life service for God can be
The purpose of God -- that governs. Fulfilled in relation to God --
that governs. And then, equipped by God to fulfil that purpose -- that
is the anointing.
It is gathered up into one word, and that is 'servant'. You remember
what we have already said about that! Let us go back to Mary, the
mother of Jesus. We saw that her whole significance was to bring the
Lord into this world, and that is the meaning of service.
We saw three things in the case of Mary. Firstly, we saw the Cross, the
cost of this service -- and how costly this was to Mary before this
world! And the old man in Jerusalem said to her: "Yea and a sword shall
pierce through thine own soul" (Luke 2:35). It was going to be a very
costly thing to bring the Lord into this world! It was going to mean
the Cross, because it was at Calvary that the sword went through the
soul of Mary.
Secondly, we saw that the ability to fulfil this service was the Holy
Spirit: "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee" (Luke 1:35). He was the
ability, or the resource, for fulfilling the ministry.
Then we saw the third thing -- the devil. He had an instrument, that
wicked Herod in Jerusalem. Shall we say that he was 'Satan incarnate',
who focused all his malice upon this one little child. He would stop at
nothing to kill that Babe! "A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and
great mourning" (Matthew 2:18), and do you think that Mary escaped? She
knew about it, and she knew that [52/53] her
Babe was involved in that! The devil came out when she brought the Lord
in -- and what a lot of history there is in that!
Let us go on to John the Baptist. His vocation was to prepare a way for
the Lord, to bring the Lord in. Was it a costly thing for John? Yes,
John brought the Lord Jesus in, but the same devil was watching and he
had a Herod again, and this Herod beheaded John. Behind the incidents
that led up to that there was this sinister power that says: 'If you
are going to bring Jesus Christ into this world, I am going to be your
enemy!' It was costly indeed for John to bring the Lord in, but he
fulfilled his ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit, and although
Herod took off his head, later that same Herod was afraid that John had
risen from the dead. When Herod heard what Jesus was doing he said:
"John the Baptist is risen from the dead ... John, whom I beheaded, he
is risen" (Mark 6:14, 16). I think John the Baptist haunted his dreams!
However, the point is that the work was accomplished in the power of
the Holy Spirit.
Are you translating this into spiritual experience? This is not only
Bible teaching, or exposition, but it is spiritual history. You see,
dear friends, we are here in this world as Christians for one purpose
only, and while what I am saying will have a special meaning for those
who are in what we call 'fulltime service' -- people whom we wrongly
call 'the Lord's servants' -- it applies to the simplest, humblest
believer in this place. You are called to the same vocation as were
John the Baptist and Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus. More than
that, you are called to the same vocation as was Jesus Christ, and that
vocation to which you are called is no more nor less than, nor anything
other than, to bring the Lord in, that where you are the Lord is. You
are to make a way for the Lord. You are to be, so to speak, the vessel
of Christ coming in. You are John the Baptist, and you are Mary. In a
sense, your presence means Christ. That is our vocation, and it ought
to revolutionize our lives.
Dear friends, it revolutionized my life. You see, I was what was called
'a minister', and I wore a clerical collar and all that kind of thing.
I thought 'the ministry' was mostly to do with getting up sermons and
preaching them on a Sunday. Really, for me, 'the ministry' was climbing
steps up into a pulpit and preaching a sermon. Well, as you can see,
the Lord has done something! He has shown me what the ministry really
is, and if this ministry is not being fulfilled, I am ready to go out
at once. If I am not bringing the Lord Jesus in, if the result of any
life is not more of the Lord Jesus in this world, then my life is a
failure. I have missed the meaning of service. And this belongs to you,
whoever you are. You may not be a great public figure, you may never be
called a 'minister', you may never preach in a pulpit, but you can be a
servant of the Lord as much as John the Baptist was. It can be said
that because people met you, they met the Lord, because you lived in
that village, people knew the Lord was there.
Are you taking this to heart? You see, this is the principle of the New
Testament. It is put in this way in the Gospels: Jesus sent His
disciples into all the towns and villages where He himself would
come (Luke 10:1). Why did they go? To bring Him there. That is the
principle throughout the New Testament. Oh, no, they were not sent into
all these places to form churches, but to bring the Lord Jesus. I do
not think that the devil cares a little bit about people forming
churches, in fact, I think that many of the churches that are formed
please the devil very much! He does not find that they are a challenge
to him, but where these New Testament servants of the Lord went, the
devil recognized the significance of their being in that place. 'They
are to bring Jesus here, and that is the most dangerous thing to our
kingdom!' So, if we have something of the Lord, if our presence means
the coming in of the Lord, what do we expect?
We expect the third part of the chapter, for the next phase is the
temptation in the wilderness.
My time has gone, but I will just say one thing and leave it there.
Baptism, the anointing and the temptation are all one thing. If you are
in right standing with God, for that is what baptism really means, if
you have received the Holy Spirit, the anointing, you must expect that
the next thing that will happen is that the devil has put his mark upon
you, and his one object will be to break up your testimony concerning
the Lord Jesus, to nullify the presence of Jesus in your life, or to
get you right out of the way. The enemy will be watching you all the
time to try to destroy the presence of the Lord Jesus and to get you
out of the way.
This is the quite natural sequence: right standing with God; the
indwelling Holy Spirit of the anointing; the great purpose of God taken
up to bring Him into this world; and then the conflict with the enemy,
and that will go right on to the end. Do not expect anything else.
Jesus told us not to expect anything else, and the Apostles show us
quite clearly that we should not expect anything else.
May the Lord write this chapter in our hearts! [53/54]
THE POWER OF THE WORD OF FAITH
"And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn
within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to
us the scriptures?" (Luke 24:32).
"Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their
heart.... Then they that gladly received his word were baptized"
(Acts 2:37, 41).
"While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell
on all them which heard the word" (Acts 10:44).
"For this cause also thank we God without ceasing,
because when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye
received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of
God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe" (1
LAST time we noticed what our Lord Jesus after His resurrection, and
Peter on the day of Pentecost, and Paul after he had been received up
into the third heaven, did not preach, and now we are going to
consider what was not their appeal. They did not say, when they
finished their message: 'You have heard these wonderful things and now
you have to live up to what you have heard!' nor did they say: 'Now you
know all this, so you must seek power to do what you have heard.' They
did not say anything like that, for their message was not a piece of
good advice, but the Gospel. They did not make the Christian life and
message a kind of ladder: 'The first step is that you hear, the second
is that you understand, the third is that you pray, the fourth is that
you understand more because you have prayed, the fifth is that you
commit yourself to the Lord, the sixth is that you seek power' -- (and
then, as you come to the top, you drop down again!)
No, theirs was not that kind of message at all. This is not the Gospel
at all, but the law: 'I tell you the truth and it is up to you to do
it.' Anyone can preach like that! That is not a gift, but merely a
piece of good advice. It is not Divine, but very human.
When the Lord spoke their hearts burned, and something
happened. When Peter spoke "they were pricked in their
heart", and something happened -- the Holy Spirit fell upon them. Why
Well, "no word from God shall be void of power" (Luke 1:37, R.V.), and
the Lord Himself said these marvellous words which we so often
overlook: "it is the spirit that quickeneth" (John 6:63). We would all
agree with that, but then he added: "The words that I speak unto you,
they are spirit and they are life" -- and we do not agree with
that! If we did we would not say: 'You have heard and now you must have
the Spirit.' If we say that, then we have not spoken the words of God,
because the words of faith do not describe the spiritual life
-- they are life. They do not describe the spirit
because they are spirit. They do not speak of the truth
for they are truth. If our preaching is not like that, then we
do not speak the words of God, but only dead letters. We are bringing
nothing more than morale, for morale is always teaching people what is
right and what is wrong, and then asking people to try in some way --
often, of course, by seeking God -- to do what is right.
But when Jesus said: "Daughter, your sins are forgiven", what happened?
They were forgiven, for the word brought what He proclaimed.
When He said: 'Go away, and sin no more!', He did not add: 'And it is
up to you to try.' That would be no Gospel. When He said: 'Sin no
more', it was life, and as the woman heard and received the word, so it
That is the Gospel. It is a secret, and it remains a secret. The Lord
says to you: 'My son, my daughter, you are always with Me and all that
I have is yours', but if your answer to that is: 'I will try and live
up to that', then you have not heard! But when the Lord says: 'My
fullness is thine, My peace is thine; My joy is thine', and you hear
it, your heart is warmed because through hearing you have received
spirit and life. Then you will not reply: 'Because all that is mine, I
must obey', but you will say: 'I have heard, so I can obey.'
There is a fundamental distinction between the words of the Lord, which
are life and spirit, and what men are so often telling other people.
The Lord does not expect us to live up to the heavenly heights, but He
does expect us to live out from them right from the very beginning. The
Christian life is organic. It starts with fullness, and out of fullness
it develops into more maturity. When the Lord gives He does so in a
Divine way. When He speaks, He conveys life and spirit. You could never
call the Lord a lecturer! Would you say that He lectured wonderfully
about Christianity? No! Never has anyone spoken as He did, and
if you have ears [54/55] to hear (which is the
most important thing of all!) you, by hearing, receive all that He
says, not tomorrow, but now, this very moment.
Speaking is most important. It is not lecturing. I hardly dare say
this, but please do not misunderstand me: Never go to a Bible School
where they lecture, but only to one where the life and truth of the
spirit are conveyed. Preaching is not just speaking biblical truth, for
that could just be dead letters. Speaking should be conveying the very
life of the Lord.
In the Bible there is no distinction between teaching and power. If
teaching has no power then it is not teaching at all. And there is no
distinction between truth and spirit. If the truth is not spirit, then
it is not real truth. We have already heard that life governs
everything, and that is very true, so life should govern speaking. Dead
truth is no truth at all. Teaching without power is no teaching. Then
there is no distinction between words and life in the Bible. If the
words are not life then they are only dead letters.
All these distinctions have been made by pious men. It seems and sounds
very pious to go away from a meeting saying: 'That was wonderful! Now
we must see how we can practise it all.' If you go away in that pious
mood, then nothing has been accomplished, but if you go away saying: 'I
have heard wonderful news! All that I have been seeking and longing
for, and praying for, is not up in the heavens, nor deep down in the
depths, but here. It is mine! I have it, so I obey, and I can do all
that the Lord wants me to do. It is almost too good to be true!' For
many Christians it seems that it is too good to be believed! "The words
that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life." Does that
not make you want to shout 'Hallelujah!'?
Sometimes Christians are like the Swiss people. They have all this
beauty, and when a Dane comes here and sees these mountains and says:
'I never thought in all my life that there was such beauty to be
found!', a Swiss man will look up from his newspaper and say: 'Oh, you
mean the Jungfrau and the Monch', but because he has them every day he
does not see them. It is the same with the Gospel. Oh, it is so
wonderful, but Christians do not see it. 'All that I have is thine!'
'Oh, yes', we say, 'I know that. It is in Luke 15, verse 31.' 'You have
fullness in Christ.' 'Yes, now where is that? I do not quite remember
whether it is in Ephesians or Colossians.' 'Your sins have been blotted
out.' 'Now, I think that is in Psalm 103, is it not?' 'We have been
seated in the heavenlies with Christ' -- but no one shouts
'Hallelujah!', and no one thinks it is wonderful. Everyone is very
pious and will go away from a meeting saying: 'We must try and live up
to that!' You can say that for the rest of your life, but you will
never live up to it! You can pray for the rest of your life, and you
will be more and more pious in the flesh, but you will never be a man
of the Gospel.
It is up to me now to speak the living words of God, and it is up to
you to listen. That is more important than anything else, for the Lord
says: "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear" (Matthew 11:15). If He
speaks and you listen, you will receive what He says, so you can live
out from that. Difficulties and sorrows will come, and Satan will
attack, but sorrows, enemies and satanic attacks all have one thing as
their goal -- the quenching of that living, humble faith which was
exercised when you listened and heard and received.
"Faith comes by hearing" (Romans 10:17). Tell me one thing: Did you
receive the Spirit through the words of the law or by hearing? If you
listen, you will receive, that is what Paul says in 1 Thessalonians
2:13. This is the marvellous thing about preaching, which is the most
important job in the Church. I am very angry with those people who try
to undermine the importance of preaching the Word. Some people say that
they do not like preaching, and that they need something else. If they
do not learn how to listen they will never receive anything from the
Lord. Faith comes through preaching, and the Spirit is given when you
listen; Christ is formed in you as you listen; all your burdens roll
away when you listen and receive in faith, for the spirit of truth
makes a man free. It is so Divine that it is, as I said before, almost
too good to be true! We easily corrupt it through the carnal man's
conception of what is pious and right. I think it was the biggest fight
of Paul's life to keep steadfastly on this path all the time, for he
was accused by pious people of being too superficial, but right
preaching and true hearing bring the soul instantly in contact with
Divine reality, and through that a work is accomplished that can stand
all the tests of time.
"The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life" --
therefore they quicken, because the spirit quickens. Well, I believe
this. It works, but I know that some of you may perhaps protest that I
have forgotten James.
So we turn to the first chapter of James. Pious people will say: 'James
says that it is not enough to hear. You must also do', for in verse 22
he says: "Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your
own selves." That is clear, is it not? So it contradicts all that I
have said and I must sit down in shame. After all, James knows better
than I do! [55/56]
But the first thing that James says is: "Be doers," and that
does not mean that there is something to do, but something to be
. It seems to be a kind of life, and is more than something that you
press yourself to do. In other words, you must be the kind of
man who does what he hears -- but how do you become that sort of man?
Not through superficial hearing; that is what James says: "For if any
be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man
beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and
goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth
therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this
man shall be blessed in his deed."
How do you become a man who is a doer of what you hear? Through, as
James says here, looking into the perfect law of liberty, and
continuing to look into it. It is just another expression for really
hearing the Divine law of liberty, that is, this word which is
spirit and is truth and therefore makes you free. If you continually
listen to what the Spirit says, then you are transformed through that
mighty word which is life, which is obedient life, which is the life of
the Lord who was obedient, and it gives from inside that strength that
you need, and, as its consequence, you do what the Lord tells you.
Through the word of obedience you will receive the life of obedience,
you will do the will of God and will be blessed. This word 'blessed'
does away with the idea of what a terrible struggle it is to serve the
Lord. It is the most wonderful thing to sit down and listen to real
preaching in the power of the Spirit and not to have too much else to
do so that you can concentrate and look into that perfect law of
liberty! That is the law that says that you are free to obey the Lord,
and you receive that wonderful message, not as good advice, but as
life, and truth, and spirit, and you feel inside -- not in your
emotions, but in your innermost spirit: 'I have it now .
Therefore I do it. I do not wait until tomorrow. I have heard, I have
seen, I have received, so there are no more steps on the ladder. I have
arrived, and so I can do what I have to do, and I do it, not as an
experiment, but as life.' That is blessed! It is blessed to obey and to
follow the Lord in life -- and that is the Gospel.
The Lord might say some strong words in between about taking up your
cross, but that is just the same. It is not giving you a piece of good
advice. You do not have to struggle and say: 'Now I must take up my
cross. I must do the best I can!' No! Listen to what He says and look
into that law of liberty. Taking up His cross is not a piece of good
advice, nor just a command, but it is an honour, a piece of Divine
wisdom, and is life from above. Listen a little more, really take it
in, and you will find that what He says, even about the cross, is life,
spirit and power, and it quickens. Then you will say: 'Now I have it!
It has worked in me. Perhaps I do not say "Hallelujah" this time but I
bless my Saviour. I fall down and adore Him, and realize how wonderful
He is. Now I can sell my ladder at a very low price and live in Him,
and through Him.'
Do it now, dear friends, and not in an hour's time, or
tomorrow. The Lord is risen! 'We have the same spirit of faith,
according as it is written, and therefore we speak', knowing that we
are in contact with real reality, with Divine life, with the risen
Lord, and with a word that is not just dead letters, but is power,
truth, life, joy and peace. That is the word from above.
I remember that about twenty years ago, when I was a young man and knew
everything, as all young men do, brother Sparks spoke about learning
Christ. I thought: 'Yes, there is a very big difference between
learning about Christ and learning Christ', and I fully agreed
with him -- until it came to me that learning Christ presupposes that
you are teaching Christ! At that time I had just started some Bible
teaching, and it was there that it dawned upon one, little by little,
that if teaching was not conveying Jesus it was not in power, and was
only doing what the Pharisees did -- putting heavy burdens on the
shoulders of men and women. I am afraid I have done that all too often!
But we have not been called to do that. We have the wonderful privilege
of knowing One who speaks, who commands, and it happens. Through the
spirit of faith we are one with Him, and our wonderful privilege is
just to speak out from Him.
Therefore, dear friends, listen once more. He has given us all the
fullness of the Godhead. I shall not comment upon that, but if you
listen and hear it you have it, and your whole life will be
transformed. - P. M. [56/57]
FOR BOYS AND GIRLS
SEEDS OF DISASTER
NOT long ago I told you of how wonderfully I was helped by the sowing
of an orange pip by an unknown helper. Now I would like to tell you of
a different kind of sowing. It took place in the same Brazilian jungle,
and happened when I first went there to live among the Red Indians.
Our long journey upstream was made easier by the help of a Brazilian
Christian named Nestor. He had been wonderfully saved from a life of
evil, and although he could neither read nor write he was always ready
to talk to others of the Saviour. What was more, he was practical and
used to up-country living, and so just the man we needed to get us
started in our new life.
On the lower reaches of the river there were small settlements of
Brazilians, and we were grateful to spend the first few nights of our
journey under cover as we made our slow progress upstream; after that
we left all human habitation behind and had to hang our hammocks under
the forest trees and sleep in the open on the bank of the river. We
were just about to embark at the last of the settlements when Nestor
came hurrying forward, full of excitement because of some seeds which
had been given to him. These, he explained, were Bucha seeds, and it
would be most important for us to have Bucha because it was used for
making wads for our shot gun. Now it was true that we had bought powder
and shot, but had nothing to make wads for securing them in the barrel
of the gun with the ramrod, so we were glad to think that we could grow
the material which Nestor assured us was most suitable for the purpose.
Weeks afterwards, when we were living with the Indians in one of their
villages, we began to build a simple house of our own. Before that,
though, and even more important, was the clearing of a piece of forest
ready for planting maize and rice, and in this work Nestor proved
invaluable. He stayed with us long enough to get our plantation sown
and, a little while before leaving, produced his little packet of seeds
and went out to sow them.
I should explain that I afterwards discovered that buchas were what we
should call loofahs, which grow on vines which spread over the ground,
giving a fruit which is like a cucumber or vegetable marrow. We learned
how much these vines spread, and learned it to our cost, but that was
after Nestor had returned happily to civilization, leaving us to
experience the result of his sowing.
The rains came, the seeds planted all around the plot began to sprout,
and while we were busily building our house the loofah vines took
possession of our whole plantation. We discovered what was happening
before it was too late, and so were able to uproot and remove the vines
before they had choked all our other plants, but we had to work hard
and long to do so, and if we had not destroyed them in time they would
have ruined our small crop of food.
This made me wish that Nestor had remained long enough to undo the
trouble he had given by his cheerfully abundant and random sowing. It
also taught me a lesson which I have tried to remember all through
life, the lesson that carelessly sown seeds can produce endless
trouble. Even if we have good intentions, the sowing of wrong can do
endless harm to the growing work of God in our lives and in the lives
of others. We must watch what we sow. Words and deeds may not seem very
important at the time, but their influence can grow and spread until it
destroys all that is good. They can be seeds of disaster. This is the
reason for God's warning words: "Looking diligently lest any man fail
of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up troubles
you, and thereby many be defiled" (Hebrews 12:15). - H. F. [57/58]
THE REST AND THE COURAGE OF FAITH
Reading: Hebrews 4:9; 3:19; Joshua 14:6-14.
I AM sure that it will sound to many of you like going a long way back
and out into a very broad realm when I say that we Christians are being
constantly confronted with, and challenged by, our Christianity. Many
of us have not really entered into Christianity yet. What do I mean?
Well, for one thing, the very door into true Christianity is the door
of rest, the rest of faith. The very simple way in which the Lord put
it in His appeal was: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy
laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). He was speaking to a
multitude, and those words are usually employed in Gospel messages to
the unsaved. The meaning of the Lord in using those words is given to
us here in the letter to the Hebrews, and it is a very much deeper and
fuller meaning than is generally recognized in the usage of the simple
invitation: "Come unto me ... and I will give you rest." There is
something that we have to hear, to detect, in the statement: "There
remaineth therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God."
A PRESENT ENTERING INTO REST
If you look at the context, you will find that the meaning is something
into which the people of God had not entered. "They were not able to
enter in because of unbelief" (Hebrews 3:19). They could not
enter in -- and who were they? The people of God. It is the people of
God for whom the rest remaineth. Do not let us put that into the
future, for that is not the meaning at all. It is not that, when we get
Home to glory, we shall arrive at the Sabbath day rest. It is not
something for the tombstone -- 'He (or she) entered into rest.' It is
something which remains now as a present thing for the people
of God, not in death, but in life.
You will not think me too elementary, for you know in your heart, as
well as I do in mine, that this matter of heart rest, the rest of
faith, is a live question continually. It is coming up all the time.
One of the things which is lacking in so many of us is this rest, or,
to put it the other way, the things which characterize us so much are
fret, anxiety, uncertainty, and all those things which are just the
opposite of calm assurance, quiet confidence, and the spirit and
attitude and atmosphere which say all the time: 'It is all right. Don't
worry! Don't fret!' One thing our great enemy is always trying to do is
to disturb and destroy that, rob us of it, churn us up, fret us, drive
us and harass us, and he will do anything to rob us of our rest or to
prevent us from entering into rest.
It is the rest of faith, not just the rest of passivity,
indifference, or carelessness. There is all the difference between
carelessness and carefreeness. There remaineth, there is still to be
had, there still obtains, there still exists, there is still preserved
a rest for the people of God. We have no right to go to the
unsaved and bid them come to Christ and find rest until and unless we
ourselves know that rest. Our testimony and our ministry are
jeopardized, weakened, limited and discredited if we are not ourselves
in rest; and the object of the enemy's activity in this matter is to
discredit us by taking from us that very birthright of our union with
Him who is never perturbed, never anxious, never in doubt as to the
issue, and is the One who reigns. You see, rest is the practical
outworking of our belief that He is Lord, and the very Lordship of
Christ is struck at by the unrest of the people of God.
The rest of faith must be our position, first in the great matter of
justification, for if that is not settled here, it will not be settled
anywhere. The enemy is striking at that. He is ever seeking to undercut
it, and in some way to raise again the question of our right standing
with God, that is, not as finally perfect in ourselves, but in our
union with Christ on the ground of what He is. The enemy never ceases
to try to undercut that, and his methods are countless, very persistent
and very forceful.
So there must be the rest of faith in that, but also in a hundred and
one other ways, in the practical things of everyday life, things which
are not in our power to arrange, secure, settle or bring to pass. Every
day brings hundreds of ways in which there is the opportunity to stand
into the rest of faith, into that faith in the Lord which brings rest.
So subtle are the ways of the enemy that he will even tell us that some
things are too small with which to trouble the Lord. 'That is a mere
incident. Why take it to the Lord? He has bigger and more important
things than that on hand! Why try to make the Lord your errand-boy' --
I say that reverently -- 'just to do all the little things you want
done?' If in this thing the testimony is preserved in rest, then it is
a big thing to the Lord, and not a little thing. If in this matter the
Lord's glory [58/59] stands to suffer, then it
is a very big thing. It may be an incident in daily life. Yes, in many,
many ways every day, you and I can so lose our poise and our rest and
our quiet confidence that we lose out spiritually, and it is proved
that somewhere faith has been lacking, and the rest has gone. That is
one side, and it is a real challenge to us.
THE NECESSITY FOR FAITH
"We see that they were not able to enter in because of unbelief." Not
able because of paralysing, disqualifying, incapacitating unbelief.
That means that the sooner we face this whole question and, as far as
possible, get it settled, the better. For thirty-eight years Israel was
locked up, held up, and went round and round, so to speak, on this one
question as to whether they were going to believe God. It arose, let me
say again, on all kinds of matters. It arose on physical matters, for a
life in that wilderness was a great proposition physically. The Lord
did not change the physical conditions, but called first for a change
in the people themselves. The physical conditions were settled when He
had got the change inside them. When the matter of faith in Him was
settled, then the Lord dealt with the physical. The question arose in
the circumstantial, the emotional, the intellectual and volitional
realms, and the challenge was made along all those lines in numerous
ways. You can take all their experiences and see how each one was a
peculiar form of the challenge to faith, and the challenge was changing
almost daily in its aspect and its form, but it was the same challenge.
It came along every kind of line and the Lord never changed it, never
prevented it, and never allowed the whole set of conditions to be
altered, but He always focused on one point. The thing that matters is
the inner man, and not until the issue was settled there did the Lord
deal with all the other things.
Well, that is very comprehensive. Do not think that it is necessarily
certain things that account for our condition. These may be
contributing factors, and they may be very testing, bearing upon us
very heavily. Physical matters do press, do make a situation very
difficult and do make a difference. The circumstances in which we have
to live do make a lot of difference, and can make the situation
exceedingly difficult. We say: 'If only the Lord would deal with this
physical matter, or these circumstances, or this something else! All
this difficulty is due to this or that.' That is our way of reasoning,
but it is not the Lord's thought at all. The thing is deeper down than
that, and it is simply a matter of believing God, of resolute faith and
confidence in God. The Lord is trying to get us out of our variable and
varying soul life where we are at the mercy of our feelings, our
thoughts and reasonings, into a realm where, in spirit, we are
steadfast. That is the point which is brought out in the psalm: "Their
heart was not steadfast with him" (Psalm 78:37), and around that the
whole of the forty years of Israel in the wilderness is gathered. The
key to this is spiritual; to be strengthened with might by His Spirit
in the inward man (Ephesians 3:16) is the answer to it all. The other
may then give way, or, at least, we shall gain ascendancy over the
other, even if it is not removed.
FAITH IN GOD THE SECRET OF COURAGE
Come back to the word in Joshua. Of that first generation only two men
got out of that soul realm -- Joshua and Caleb. They triumphed in and
over that realm. They triumphed in that realm first, and then the Lord
brought them out, but the fact that it was the rest of faith which was
the secret of their triumph while they were in it is brought so
beautifully, magnificently to light in this fourteenth chapter of
Joshua. I think this is fine.
Caleb, one of the two, comes to Joshua. He is an old man now, but he is
still living by faith in the position which he took up with the Lord
years before. He took up that position when he went as one of the
spies, and when the overwhelming majority brought their evil report.
They looked at God through their circumstances, but these two men
looked at their circumstances through God, and it made all the
difference. Caleb took up that position of looking at everything
through God, and he is still living in that position. Now, as an old
man, he comes to Joshua, and, while all the other people are being
given their inheritance in nice easy, prosperous positions "where every
prospect pleases", Caleb says: 'Give me this mountain where the giants
are; this hilly country where the cities are great and walled up.'
There is a lot to be said about that, but I am going to be content with
this one thing now as following up this challenge to my heart and to
yours. What are you looking for? An easy inheritance, a nice, workable
cabbage-patch, something that is going to respond to your touch
immediately and give you satisfaction? Are you looking for the
flourishing land? The faith which brought Joshua and Caleb into rest of
heart before they came into the rest of the land was this kind of
faith: 'Give me a tough proposition! Here is a situation full of
difficulties, full of threatenings, full of adversities. [59/60]
It is almost an appalling prospect, yet, nevertheless, give me a chance
there!' You see the challenge. Do difficulties appal you, or do they at
once present a great opportunity for the Lord? "It may be that the Lord
... as the Lord spake." How are we facing the big difficulties? And
there are difficulties and problems! These mountains seem to
pile up upon one another as we go on. Sometimes there seems to be an
impossible outlook and prospect, a hopeless situation. Perhaps the
mountain is impossible for our own lives individually, for some reason
within ourselves or outside of ourselves, or for the work to which we
are called, the ministry, the testimony that is laid upon us. Well,
what about it? Is it: 'Give me this mountain!' Nothing but a real faith
in God can take on things like that and say: 'All right. It is
difficult, an appalling prospect naturally, and a hopeless outlook.
Nevertheless, let us take it on in the name of the Lord. "It may be
that the Lord . . as the Lord spake"'. It is a case of looking at the
mountain through the Lord, and not at the Lord through the mountain.
I think that is the kind of faith that we need to bring us into rest.
Yes, there is a mountain right enough, a physical mountain, a
circumstantial mountain, a mountain of outlook in the work, and
naturally we would do the right, the wise and commonsense thing if we
said: 'No, we are not going to touch that!' But faith says: 'I am not
going to try and skirt that mountain! I am not going to turn my back on
it and run away. Give me this mountain!' We all want that faith! It is
not just our natural courage, our bulldog nature, nor our pugnacity
that will do it. We know quite well that we have nothing, and, if left
to ourselves, we had better quit. But the Lord is challenging us, and
Caleb does come up as a rebuke to us. At the end of a long life, when
we might think that now is the time for him to be given a very nice
little garden and a lodge somewhere where the work was easy and he
could take his rest, he says: 'No! Give me this mountain wherein are
the giants and the walled cities!' His choice was a difficulty,
because it was an opportunity for the Lord.
Probably we shall very soon be brought up against what we have been
saying in very practical ways, but let us have dealings with the Lord
on this. We are going to have to face what will be naturally appalling
difficulties, within and without, and they will take the very heart out
of us, but, oh! for this quiet, restful assurance and confidence in our
God which says: 'Give me this mountain as an opportunity for proving
And Caleb got it! It was Hebron, and that is another, very long story.
I leave you to look that up, for Hebron has a wonderful place in the
purposes of God. David was crowned king first in Hebron before he was
crowned in Jerusalem. Hebron means 'fellowship', and there is a great
inheritance bound up with it. Hebron is secured to men and to women of
this kind of faith which says: 'I am not wanting to escape from my
difficulty and get out of my hard way! Let me take it in the Lord's
strength and give Him an opportunity to show that He can do what is
The Lord give us that faith!
THE REVELATION OF GOD
[Roger T. Forster]
"And I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne and of
the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had
been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven
Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth" (Revelation 5:6).
A FRIEND of mine was once speaking at a meeting when a young lady
jumped up and shouted: 'If there is a God, show us your God!' In one
sense that is a silly question! As if we could open a door somewhere in
the universe and say: 'Look, there is God!', or make Him materialize at
our own wish! But yet, for Christians, it is also a meaningful
question, for there is a sense in which we can see the Lord, not with
our physical eyes, but with the eyes of our heart.
You can see me with your physical eyes this evening, for there are
little waves that go through the air from my body to your eye. Your eye
translates those waves into electric currents which run inside you, and
they create a vision of me on your built-in television set. In actual
fact, the [60/61] picture you get is upside
down, but you do not like me that way, so you automatically put me the
right way up. You say you see me, but really you are seeing something
which is inside you.
And when we see God it is much the same, for there is a communication,
this time from heaven, which registers into our lives and transfers
into currents and an image. Something happens within us and we say: 'We
have seen the Lord!' There is a momentary flash, the shutter of our
inner camera clicks, and on the 'sensitive paper' of our spirit there
is left an image, an impression. It is something from God, and we have
seen it as really as we have seen anything else. That is why, right
through the Bible, there are men who say that they have seen the Lord,
in spite of the verse that tells us: "No man hath seen God at any time"
(John 1:18). Of course they have not seen Him with their physical eyes,
but there has been an inward vision in their spirits. When this happens
to us we say: 'We have seen the Lord, and we can never be the same
again!' An indelible print has been left on the sensitive paper, and we
are different sort of people. There is a new factor in our lives, for
we have seen God.
From the beginning of the Bible, and throughout, there are men who are
wanting to see the Lord, and in the New Testament the Apostle prays for
Christians that God might give them a spirit of revelation in the full
knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, having the eyes of their hearts
enlightened (Ephesians 1:17-18). This is what a Christian is -- someone
who has seen the Lord and goes on seeing Him -- and this is how he
begins to be transformed into the image of the Lord. It is not by
trying to act the Lord, nor by trying to be like Him, nor by trying to
do His works, but just by seeing Him.
Moses cried on the top of the mount: 'Show me Thy glory!', and as the
glory of the Lord passed by him so on seeing the Lord his face began to
shine. Or we could turn to Isaiah, who was one day in the temple of the
Lord where he saw Him, and that left such an impression on Isaiah that
he said: "I am a man of unclean lips" (Isaiah 6:5). He had never been
so convicted of sin before, and never had he had such a desire to be
like the Lord. Now he had seen the Lord, and that was everything! Then
Samson's parents, Manoah and his wife, when they saw the Lord go up to
heaven, said: "We shall surely die, because we have seen God" (Judges
13:22). But his wife was more logical and said: 'God would not have
shown us all these things if He was going to kill us. We will not die.'
I think they were both right, for it is only when we have seen the Lord
that we really do die. What does it mean when we say that we are
crucified with Christ? Can we feel it? No, it is no good trying to feel
crucified! Do we understand it? That is very difficult! Even Paul said
that he was crucified, and then he added that he lived; and further
qualified by saying that he did not really live, for it was Christ who
lived in him. So Paul is dead really, but he goes on to say: 'The life
I now live ...' so he is alive! Ah, Paul has seen the Lord, so that is
why he is dead, and also that is why both Manoah and his wife
were right. They had seen the Lord, and something was done inside which
was beyond understanding and beyond feeding.
In the Old Testament it was a generally recognized thing that if a man
saw God he would die; but if we look into the New Testament we find
that the wise men came to look for Christ, and, having seen Him, they
went back home a different way. Once you have seen the Lord you cannot
go on in the same way!
The most important thing is that we should see the Lord. Each evening
this week we have been looking at men, ordinary sort of men, but men
who knew God -- Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. All of them in their fallible
human weakness showed us something of the ways of God. Abraham brought
the revelation of the Cross in his four altars, Isaac brought the
revelation of the Spirit in the four wells, and Jacob brought the
revelation of the Church with his four pillars, but, although these men
were showing us something of God, there was so much of man in it all.
Behind Abraham we found the face of the Almighty, and that was what we
were really looking for; behind Isaac we saw the finger of the Lord,
whom we really wanted to know; and behind Jacob we discovered God's
family and God's heart.
Now we are going to turn to Joseph. Nothing at all bad is ever said
about Joseph, because he is going to show us something directly about
the Lord Jesus Christ. In the person of Joseph we are going to see a
revelation of the Lord Himself. He had four sets of dreams in his
experience, and because he is a man of revelation he is revealing the
Lord to us. He is like looking through a keyhole. The shape of the
keyhole is Joseph, but through him we are looking into a lighted room,
and there we are seeing the Lord. Joseph is a revelation of Jesus
Christ, but of a particular aspect of our God, for seven times we see
him weeping, and we are going to see the tears, the broken heart, of
God. It is very important that we see the Lord as we look into these
Scriptures. As we look at Joseph let us open our hearts to God so that
we may see Christ and our hearts be moved [61/62]
towards Him. As we see the broken heart of God in the experience of
Joseph, let us ask that we should be moved to a deeper devotion, a
deeper love, a deeper adoration and a deeper desire: 'O Lord, I want to
see You more!' so that our love for Christ is the biggest, the most
important and the overwhelming thing that takes up our human being,
that puts a meaning into our existence and draws us out into eternity.
It was as a student that I became a Christian, and the crisis moment
came, not when I heard how bad and sinful I was, nor when I found how
clever God's ABC of salvation was, how He had provided a way for me to
come to Him, but when I was sitting in a meeting and a man preached
Christ. It was then that God began to illuminate my heart and I saw the
Lord Jesus on the Cross, and it was as though God was saying: 'Look,
that is how much I love you!' It was the sight of the Lord Jesus, that
"sacred Head once wounded", that made me say: 'God, if You love me like
that, if that is what You are like and if that is what my sin has done
to You, then it must be a very bad thing, and I must give myself back
to You.' I could not do anything else, for I had seen the Lord, and it
is that sight of Christ that is what we need continuously. As we gather
together amongst God's people in His house, what do we want to find? We
want to find that God is at home and that we can meet with Him. That is
why Abraham shows us Calvary, Isaac shows us the gift of the Spirit,
and Jacob shows us the house of the Lord -- but what is the point of it
all? It is to come inside and find the revelation of Joseph, to find
that God is there and He is like this.
Let us look through the keyhole of Joseph! It is a morning breakfast
time in the household of Jacob, and all the brothers are sitting down.
Joseph arrives, looking as if he has had quite a bad night, and as he
takes his place at the table he says quietly to his father: 'You know,
Father, I had a dream last night.' 'Did you, my boy? What was it?'
'Well, Father, it was like this. All my brothers had sheaves of corn. I
had one, too, and their sheaves all bowed down to mine.' Jacob raps on
the table and says: 'Listen, boys. Joseph has had a dream. Tell them
about it, Joseph.' Joseph is his father's favourite, and his brothers
grumble: 'It may be that Reuben has lost his birthright, but why should
this young fellow have first place and we boys bow down and worship
him?' The next day Joseph comes down and takes his place at the
breakfast table. 'Oh, Father, I had a dream last night.' This time
Jacob does not wait to hear it but calls out: 'Come on, you boys.
Joseph has had another dream. Listen to what he has to say.' So Joseph
tells the story: 'There were eleven stars and they bowed down to my
star, and, by the way, Father, the sun and moon were there, too, and
they bowed down.' 'What is that, my boy? I and your mother bow down as
You see, Joseph had a revelation as to his destiny, that he was to be
the first in the things of the earth, the highest of the things in the
heavens, and that all things in heaven and earth should acknowledge him
lord of all. He is showing us the destiny that the Lord Jesus has --
and this revelation is hated by the brothers! It may be that Joseph
wanted to give it to them in love. Certainly he looked for them in love
when he was taking their food to them, but their reaction to that love
was to try to destroy him, and then to sell him, so he was taken down
to Egypt as a slave. Has your love ever been misunderstood?
That is very hard to bear! It is difficult to understand when you have
gone out in love towards friends and neighbours, or it may be to those
in your home, and that has been misunderstood.
But behind it all there is a warfare afoot. God has appointed His Son
to be above all things, and you gladly acknowledge that. You have begun
to be headed up into Him and you are glad that He is going to have
first place -- but the forces of the enemy are in and they seek to
bring in misunderstanding of the love of God. The Lord Jesus suffered
much misunderstanding for His great love!
Down in Egypt Joseph reached a very superior position in the household
of Potiphar. All things were entrusted to him because of his
righteousness, but Potiphar's wife cast her eyes upon him, and you
remember how he finished up in prison because he was misrepresented.
Have you ever had your righteous actions misrepresented? Our
Lord Jesus was misrepresented, for the people said He was doing the
devil's work (Luke 11:15), that He had an unclean spirit (Mark 3:30),
and the Lord Jesus had to suffer all that. His love was misunderstood
and His righteousness was misrepresented. He suffered "the
contradiction of sinners against himself" (Hebrews 12:3), and was
misrepresented by witnesses before the Sanhedrin, but He did not open
His mouth. He reigned in silence. Have we not got a great Lord?
Then, while in prison, Joseph interpreted the visions of the baker and
the butler, and on this occasion he was the interpreter of men's
destinies, for one man was to be saved and the other man executed. Then
he was forgotten by the butler for two years. He was overlooked. Have
you ever been overlooked ? You are not worth considering! [62/63] You are such an insignificant person, and no
one takes much notice of you in meetings. It is then that you should
shout 'Hallelujah!', for you are becoming like the Lord Jesus. He was
overlooked, too. It is a tremendous thing to become like the Lord Jesus
Christ -- at least, we thought it was when we began the Christian life,
but we did not know that it was going to mean all this: being
misunderstood, even when we love, being misrepresented, even when we
are doing things rightly and with pure motives, and being overlooked
and forgotten. When the Lord Jesus died on the Cross, do you think that
the whole world turned out and put it as headline news in their papers?
Why, it is very difficult to find a reference to that crucifixion in
any place. It is mentioned a couple of times in Roman literature, but
otherwise it was quite overlooked. Apart from His own disciples, no one
thought it was worth recording. But the Lord Jesus, our God, is used to
being overlooked and misrepresented, and millions of people
misunderstand Him, but He is big enough to bear with all that. We are
so small and petty that if someone misunderstands us just slightly we
have a great enquiry, and go out of our way to justify ourselves, but
not the Lord Jesus.
GOD'S PAIN AT MAN'S SELF-TORTURE
Then the moment came in Joseph's life when he interpreted Pharaoh's
dreams, and he was made the chief man in the whole of Egypt. He had
shown Pharaoh that earthly things always fail to satisfy in the end.
Our fattest cows get thin, our best wheat becomes very poor, and
earthly things always get less and less, showing the need for the
Lord's spiritual reign. So Joseph reigns in Egypt, and now his brothers
are gathered before him, having come to buy wheat. He is unknown to
them when he sees them and he begins to question them. As they stand
before him and he questions them about being spies, they begin to
remember their evil deeds, and say to each other: "We are verily guilty
concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he
besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come
upon us" (Genesis 42:21). The brothers begin to show that they have a
conscience, for they feel guilty and it hurts. They show they have a
memory, and that memory begins to haunt them. They try to repress it,
but it rises up again. Perhaps they see the anguished face of their
brother Joseph, and they argue with themselves: 'This has come upon us
because of our sin.' You know, there are some people who say they do
not believe in hell, when already within their own lives they begin to
feel the pang of conscience. They are tortured and haunted by memories,
and their reason argues with them again and again that this is just and
right. Surely to be left with that, without God, in eternity is enough
hell, whatever else hell might be! There is no release from the agony
of conscience, the torture of memory, and the pain of reasoning.
Is God unmoved by that? In verse 24 of that chapter we read that Joseph
"turned himself about from them, and wept". God's heart is in anguish
over the self-torture of men. He is afflicted in all our afflictions,
and the very groanings of this universe are reflected in the groaning
of God. In Romans 8:22 and 23 Paul tells us that the whole earth is
groaning, even Christians. In verse 26 we read that the Spirit is also
groaning, "with groanings which cannot be uttered", and those groanings
are evidence to a Christian that God groans over the condition of this
world. A part of the pain of Calvary is the broken heart of God over
I am afraid that we could get the impression from some books that we
might read, or even from some people who might speak, that the
Christian God sits aloof from the pains of this universe. That is not
the God of Joseph! It is not the God of the Bible nor the God and
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Why, He feels the very pain that we
suffer because of our sin, and that suffering is in order that we might
find in Him a heart that understands.
Perhaps there is someone here who feels that he (or she) has an
unforgivable sin in his heart, some memory that haunts him, some prick
of conscience that cannot be stilled, and some very good reasoning why
he should suffer for that sin. Let me say that we can only do God more
damage if we do not come to the place where God has been hurt by that
sin, if we do not confess it to Him and find that He can remove it. Do
you know why it will be removed from you? Because it will be removed
from Him and you will feel that in your own heart and life. There is no
more sacrifice for sin. Christ takes it away, and because it is no
longer registering in God's heart, there is no need for it to register
GOD'S PAIN AT HIS INVOLVEMENT WITH MAN
Joseph wept again when Benjamin appeared with the brothers on their
second visit (Genesis 43:30), and he had to hide himself from them.
Here was his own flesh and blood, for Benjamin was not only the child
of his father, but the only other child of has dead mother. [63/64]
Do you know that it was a pain for God to be involved with man? It was
a delightful, exalting, rejoicing pain, for He is happy to link Himself
with man, but it means that He gets involved with what we are, feeling
our infirmities and understanding our human situation. Now, in the
heart of God, through the incarnation and ascension, there is humanity
and it ever lives to make intercession for us. It is ever pleading the
cause of man. God's own heart beats in time with man's heart. He has
become our Kinsman, our Redeemer, has joined Himself to our human flesh
and taken it back into God's own heart. There is nothing that happens
in humanity which does not have its pleadings to God, for the Lord
Jesus is there, making intercession for us. That involvement with man
has cost the Lord Jesus tears.
GOD'S PAIN OVER HIS FORGIVENESS OF MAN
Joseph wept a third time (Genesis 45:2), at the moment when he revealed
himself to his brothers. They had reached the point of confessing their
sin. Judah, who was the man who had wanted to destroy Joseph, now said
to Joseph on the throne: 'Take me in the place of Benjamin.' He was
understanding something of substitution, and would rather die himself
than let Benjamin die and destroy his father. This had not been his
thought when Joseph was sold! He had no concern for his father then,
but now he virtually confessed his sin: 'Take me in the place of
Benjamin', and Joseph could not contain himself. As he revealed himself
to them in forgiveness he had to weep, because it hurt -- and to be
forgiven always hurts the forgiver. If it does not hurt the forgiver
there is nothing to forgive; and it was because there was
something to forgive that it hurt God to pay the price to forgive at
Calvary. At the Cross the Lord Jesus was involved with humanity, with
the consequences of our sin and He paid the price of forgiveness. That
hurt God. If you think that God is too big to be hurt, well, perhaps
the bigger you are the more it hurts.
GOD'S PAIN AT HIS COMMUNION WITH MAN
But Joseph wept again (Genesis 45:14): "And he fell upon his brother
Benjamin's neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck." Perhaps
this was the weeping of communion. Have you ever wept when you have
been away from someone for a long while and you meet again? It is a
weeping of joy. We are strange, mixed-up sort of creatures and we weep
when we are very happy! There is a relief in it. And there is a weeping
in Christ's heart when He can commune with us, for He has been waiting
for us and we show Him our faces so very little. Perhaps we keep Him
waiting for months, or even years, but there is such a relief in His
heart when we turn to talk with Him.
GOD'S PAIN AT HIS REUNION WITH HIS SON
There was another weeping (Genesis 49:29) when Joseph met his father,
Jacob, and they were reunited. At the Last Supper the Lord Jesus said:
"I go to my Father" (John 14:12), but He went by the way of the Cross,
for that was the only way back to His Father. That moment on the Cross,
when He cried: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" must have
hurt! It really cost something to experience man's God-forsakenness in
His own heart. That was what God was doing in the Lord Jesus, but when
that wound had healed and the Lord Jesus was with His Father, do you
not think that there were tears at their reunion?
GOD'S PAIN AT DEATH
In Genesis 50:1 "Joseph fell upon his father's face, and wept upon him"
when Jacob died. Joseph wept at death, and so did the Lord Jesus. There
was a moment at the graveside of his friend, Lazarus, when He wept,
although He was going to raise him up again. Martha ran out and said:
"Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died" (John 11:21),
and then Mary came out and said: "Lord, if thou hadst been here, my
brother had not died" (John 11:32). Do you think they were saying the
same thing? No, not quite, for Mary wept at the beginning, while Martha
did not. More than that, although the words the two women used were
exactly the same, they occurred in a different order to show a
different emphasis, a different tone in the voice. Martha said: 'If You
had been here my brother would not have died', and that was why
she did not cry. She had something which was hers taken from her, and
it hurt, but she did not weep. But Mary said: 'If You had been here, my
brother would not have died.' Ah, that has hurt, for
it is her brother that has gone and means the tearing of relationship.
It is not the losing of a possession, but the tearing of a
relationship, so Mary wept and she saw the Lord Jesus weep, because it
is through our tears that sometimes we understand the tears of God. But
if we are only concerned with things , we never understand what
it is that hurts God. God hates death, because He is life, and
everything about Him is living. The Lord Jesus snorted like a horse
(that is what [64/65] the Greek word means) at
the sight of death, and then, groaning in spirit, He cried: "Lazarus,
come forth." That is God's attitude towards death, and what it means to
Him to have a world full of death. But what it must mean to Him to have
a Church full of death!
GOD'S PAIN AT MAN'S UNBELIEF
There is a seventh and last occasion when Joseph wept (Genesis 50:17).
After their father died the brothers came to Joseph and pleaded with
him not to destroy them, because they felt that he had only reserved
his anger until their father died. They could not believe that he had
forgiven them. Because their own hearts were deceitful they found it
difficult to see that God's heart is the reverse. Because they would
not have forgiven, but would have sought vengeance, they could not
understand the heart of Joseph, which was the reverse, and during all
those years when their father was still alive they had been worrying
and wondering whether they were really forgiven. That made Joseph weep.
He wept at their unbelief, and unbelief hurts God. It is the sin that
hurts God most; not only our unbelief that we are forgiven, but our
unbelief at what He has said to us. Joseph had told the brothers that
the land of Goshen was theirs and they could enjoy it, but they had
never really believed it, although they had lived there. They thought
that one day, when their father died, Joseph would take revenge. God
has said a lot to us, and it is to be believed; and seeing the grieving
heart of God over our unbelief will help us to believe.
What is the besetting sin in Hebrews 12? Is it that thing that always
trips us up or gets us down? I do not think so. If we have just read
the eleventh chapter there is only one thing that that sin can be, and
that is unbelief. That is the thing that destroys our Christian
pathway. So as God says something to us in His Word we must put our
finger on it and say: 'Lord Jesus, make this like a photograph inside
me. Make it live in me.' Then we thank the Lord for what He is and that
we can see Him in His Word, and it is as we worship Him that faith
rises up and lays hold of the truth of God, and writes it on our hearts.
Perhaps the greatest of all pains that God has to bear from Christians
are the tears that come through our unbelief. "O fools", He calls us,
"and slow of heart to believe!"
If we have seen the Lord Jesus tonight in the pain of His heart towards
His people, surely everything that is in us must go out to stop that
pain, and the wonderful thing is that the very pain of the Christ of
Calvary draws out our hearts in worship. There is nothing that moves us
more than the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, and as we see His tears
we begin to praise and thank Him for what He is. That is the way in
which He illuminates our hearts and we see Him. Let us spend a lot of
time at the Cross; do not let us run too fast away from Calvary. The
Lord God himself has a Lamb in His heart, slain even before the
foundation of the world, and through eternity we shall be worshipping
that sort of heart in order that we might go on seeing the Lord. - R.
FRIENDSHIP WITH GOD
"And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man
speaketh unto his friend" (Exodus 33:11).
"Didst not thou, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of
this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of
Abraham thy friend for ever?" (2 Chronicles 20:7).
"But thou, Israel, my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen,
the seed of Abraham my friend" (Isaiah 41:8).
"By faith Abraham, being tried, offered up Isaac: yea,
he that had gladly received the promises was offering up his only
begotten son; even he to whom it was said, In Isaac shall thy seed be
called: accounting that God is able to raise up, even from the dead;
from whence he did also in a parable receive him back" (Hebrews
"And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, And
Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness;
and he was called the friend of God" (James 2:23).
THERE are many astonishing things in the Bible. Few of them, however,
are more so than this -- that God should desire a friend. [65/66]
We would think that of all things God would be able to get on quite
well without having men in that relationship with Himself. I say it is
an astonishing thought that God, in all His self-sufficiency, His
fullness, His creative power, should want a friend, but here it is --
Abraham my friend" ... "the friend of God".
This, dear friends, is the one thing in the mind of God behind all His
strange ways. Probably in all the Bible there was no one who had
greater reason than did Abraham to think of God's ways as being very
strange. How strange those ways were! And very rarely were they easy.
Almost every step, if not every step, was fraught with perplexity. But
God was governed in all His dealings with Abraham by this one idea and
thought: to have a friend, and to bring a man into such a relationship
with Himself as to be able to speak of him as "My friend".
You know, of course, that that title and that relationship are
peculiarly and especially connected with Abraham. There are some
wonderful things said about other men -- Moses, Daniel ("O man greatly
beloved") -- but "My friend" is uniquely Abraham's title. To understand
that we have to look again at the way by which Abraham was led and how
at last he arrived in the heart of God.
While the whole life of Abraham is required to make up the full
inclusiveness of this sublime fellowship, there is little doubt, I
think, that consummately it was bound up with that one incident of
which we have just read: the call to offer his son Isaac. Just think
what that really meant where Abraham was concerned! Did God call him
from Ur of the Chaldees, to leave all and come out, without telling him
anything more than that He would lead him to a land? If we knew
everything we would see that that was no small step, for there is every
reason to believe that Abraham was a prosperous and great man in Ur.
Did God lead him out? Did God promise him a son, and then go away and
leave him without fulfilling His promise? Did God bind up the whole of
his life with that promise and with that son? The very justification of
his move from that old country, leaving everything, was focused and
centred in that son. Abraham's whole life, the justification of his
living at all, and everything in his life, was centred in that son. All
the commands and all the guidance of God to Abraham ended in Isaac. Did
God so call, so lead, so promise? Did He make Isaac the exclusive
vessel of His Divine purpose and the explanation and meaning of all His
promises to Abraham, so that Abraham had no alternative to Isaac?
Abraham tried an alternative and found that God was not in that. He
tried through Ishmael, but found that that was no way through. There
was no alternative for his life for God, his knowledge of God, his
history with God, but Isaac. Should Isaac not exist his faith would
have been in vain, for he had nothing else. God would have failed him,
and his life would have been a failure.
Naturally, if Isaac did not exist, or if he died, there would be some
tremendous implications. The obvious implication would have been that
Abraham had been misled, deceived, and followed a false line; that God
had mocked him and brought him into a trap. He had followed God in a
way which he had believed with all his heart to be God's way for him,
and he had committed himself without reserve to what he believed to be
the way of God for his life. And all that centred in Isaac.
Then came: "Take thou thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest ... and
offer him" (Genesis 22:2). Dear friends, we cannot make too much of the
seriousness of the crisis to which Abraham had now come. It was a
tremendous thing for him! It might have raised the question of what
kind of a God his God was, or who this God was to whom he had given his
life, and there are many other questions and implications. All his
guidance, his consecration, his long years of waiting and travailing,
his faithful obedience -- and now, at one blow, it looked as though it
was all shattered. To survive that, and, more than that, to go through
it triumphantly, is to explain what God means by friendship. Yes, that
is the meaning of friendship -- but what is it?
Well, if this is the Divine explanation of friendship, and we are
called to be partakers of the Divine nature, and God is working with us
to bring about such a relationship, it is going to be along that same
road. If you and I want even to approximate to this relationship, this
supreme relationship to God, if our hearts do respond to this
suggestion and proposition that God should be able to speak of us as
His friends (and, on the face of it, no doubt everyone would say: 'Yes.
There is nothing that I would covet more than that God should be able
to speak of me as "My friend"'), then see what it means.
Firstly, it means absolute and unreserved committal for life and with
life to God, without reserves and without alternatives. Abraham had no
alternative. This relationship, this going on with God, was everything
or nothing for it was sealed in a blood covenant. You will remember the
occasion when that covenant was made. The sacrifice was cut in two. The
one half was put on one side and the second half was put on the other
side. One side was God's and the other was Abraham's. Blood was shed
and they together, in the true figure, joined hands and moved between
the two halves. In the blood of that sacrifice each committed himself
to [66/67] the other in terms of blood, or life,
for ever -- God's "covenant for ever" (Psalm 105:8). Abraham's covenant
with God was in terms of life. At Mount Moriah God was taking the very
life-blood out of Abraham, but Abraham was standing to it. He was
standing to the very basis of his relationship with God. It was a
committal for ever with life itself to God, and the end of that was:
"Abraham, my friend".
These are hard things that I am saying, and beyond our present
attainment, I know. Not one of us would claim to have reached this
point. Nevertheless, this is what God is working towards.
Friendship, further, means this: confidence in the other, when He
neither explains His way, nor can we understand what He is doing. Of
course, that is friendship at its best in human terms. If there is true
friendship, a friend may not always explain to you why he or she takes
a certain course, but you have come to trust that one so much that you
do not want an explanation. You are ready to believe, without an
explanation, that that one knows what he or she is doing, and you have
perfect confidence in that one. It is friendship, even when the other
one is silent and saying nothing.
There is a slight reflection of this in the life of Mr. Hudson Taylor.
After having been in China, away from this country and from his wife,
for a long time, he came home and his wife met him at the ship. They
got into a conveyance together, and, of course, you would have thought
that at once he or she would engage in voluminous conversation on all
that had happened during the years they were apart. But they took that
journey in absolute silence -- and neither was offended! Not
one word passed between them, but that was the deep, deep understanding
of true fellowship. Oh, for something like that with the Lord! He is
silent, and that silence is a most testing thing to us. Why does He not
speak? Why does He not act? Why does He not do something? He is silent
and inactive, and seems to be indifferent. Ah, to believe Him then is
the stuff of friendship, a constituent of true friendship.
"Abraham believed God." You notice that that is connected with this
very thing, the offering of Isaac. To have confidence in a friend when
the friend seems to be mysterious, strange, inexplicable,
un-understandable, reserved, silent, is a constituent indeed of true
But Abraham looked beyond the present and the immediate, and said in
his heart: 'This is not everything. This is not the whole story. This
is not the end, because it is not the end of God. Even if it is death'
-- oh, wonderful triumph of faith! -- even if I have to slay that son
in whom everything for me is centred, nevertheless, God is God, and He
can raise the dead. Even if Isaac is there, dead, God can raise him. I
look beyond death, beyond the present situation which may seem to have
shattered all hope, and I see God as reaching further on. I believe
God. I do not understand, and am not able to explain, but I believe
That is very testing, and I say that it is beyond every one of us, but
this is the basis of the ultimate relationship with God. Surely this is
the gold of the new Jerusalem!
But what about Isaac? He was the new hope, the link in the chain of
God's whole dispensational movements, and the embodiment of this
Young brothers and sisters, you are the next link in the chain of God's
gifts and God's testimony on this earth. Do put your feet down on the
ground of the link before. Take up the testimony of Abraham and take
this position: 'I, not as something in myself, not beginning nor ending
with me, but just as a link in this mighty chain of the ages, commit
myself without reserve to my God, for life and with my life.' If you
will do that you are the new hope of the next phase.
Of course, behind Abraham we are seeing God the Father and the Lord
Jesus Christ, and we all know so well that any hope we have today is
because God raised His Son from the dead. But that is not only a truth
concerning Christ. It is a law of God's ways all through history --
that something is baptized into death, and in that baptism the testing
of heart relationship with God goes on. And that is the point. When
Jesus was baptized into death on the Cross, it was the ultimate test of
His heart relationship with His Father. His heart broke on that -- but,
oh! we are all so glad that the very last utterance was: "Father, into
thy hands ..." (Luke 23:46). That is triumph! He is through! Earlier He
had cried: "My God, my God!", but now He is saying: "Father". It was a
test, the ultimate, final test of His heart relationship with His
Father -- and, mark you, every baptism into death is that.
We are being found out, dear friends, by deep and terrible testings on
the cross of baptism into death as to where our hearts are; whether
they are in things, or in God; whether our life is bound up in some thing
, or whether it is with God.
You see, that was the point with Isaac. After all, it was proved that
Abraham was bound up with much more than Isaac, for he was bound up
with God. 'All right!', said Abraham. 'Everything seemed to have been
centred in Isaac, but if Isaac goes, I still have God.'
What is our life bound up with? Is it things? Is it life work? What is
it? We shall be tested as to [67/68] whether it
is the Lord who has our hearts. If He has, we are not going to fight
for our own ways, our own ends, our own interests or our own ideas,
even in the work of God. It is the Lord who has to take preeminence
over all things, and over us. Isaac embodied that position with Abraham.
Oh, dear friends, see to it that your heart is like that toward your
Lord! If it is, you have the basis of this glorious end: 'My friend, My
friend.' Is that worth having? Surely it is, and that he should say at
the last: 'Come in, My friend!'
We acknowledge with gratitude the following gifts received for the
ministry of A Witness and A Testimony from the 27th January to
the 29th March, 1971:
Aberdare £5; Birmingham £1; Bromley £3, £5,
£5; Cabinteely £0.50; Copenhagen, Denmark £1; Deal
£2.50, £10; Dunning £1; Eerbeck, Holland £2.63;
Hastings £10; Henley-in-Arden £2; Hove £1; Ipswich
£1.48; Jindalee, Australia £5.56; Lancing £3; London
S.E.12 £5; S.E.23 £2, £5, £0.50, £0.60;
Neath £3; Newcastle-upon-Tyne £1.25; Norfolk, Va. £1;
Norwich £3, £15, £4; Papatoetoe, New Zealand
£2; Penticton, Canada £2.03; Penzance £2.57; St.
Ursanne, Switzerland £1.50; Sale £1; Sandown £0.50;
Simmozheim, Germany £1; Stoneleigh £2; Sunderland
£10; Tauranga, New Zealand £0.28; Thornton Heath £25;
Tunbridge Wells £2; Twickenham £5; West Wickham £10.
Bedford, Ind. $10; Birmingham, Ala. $5, $3, $10; Boston, Mass. $10, $5;
Brooklyn, N.Y. $25; Clarendon Hills, Ill. $10; Collingswood, N.J. $10;
Des Moines, Iowa $5; Farmington, Mich. $5; Fort Collins, Colo. $8.30,
$10, $10; Indianapolis, Ind. $60; Langley, Va. $50; Lynwood, Wash. $5;
Martinez, Calif. $20; Minneapolis, Minn. $5; N. Hollywood, Calif.
$6.95; Pinson, Ala.$20; Tacoma, Wash. $5; Tallahassee, Fla. $10; Tulsa,
Okla. $4; Upper Black Eddy, Pa. $4. Total: $316.25.
Toronto, Ontario C$10.00.
Tuart Hill, Australia A$2.15.
Gümligen, Switzerland Sw.Fcs. 40.00. [68/ibc]
[Inside back cover]
WITNESS AND TESTIMONY LITERATURE
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
|THE STEWARDSHIP OF THE MYSTERY
| Vol. 1 ALL THINGS IN CHRIST
| Vol. 2
||(Art Paper covers)
|FOUR GREATNESSES OF DIVINE REVELATION
|WHAT IS MAN?
|THE ON-HIGH CALLING or COMPANIONS
| OF CHRIST AND OF A HEAVENLY CALLING
|DISCIPLESHIP IN THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST
|GOD'S REACTIONS TO MAN'S DEFECTIONS
|WE BEHELD HIS GLORY
| Vol. 1
||(Art Paper covers)
| Vol. 2
||(Art Paper covers)
|RIVERS OF LIVING WATER
|THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PAUL
|FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS OF THE
| CHRISTIAN LIFE
|THE GOLD OF THE SANCTUARY or
| THE FINAL CRITERION
|THE CITY WHICH HATH FOUNDATIONS
|THE RECOVERING OF THE LORD'S
| TESTIMONY IN FULLNESS
|THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST
|THE SPIRITUAL MEANING OF SERVICE
|THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CHRIST
|IN TOUCH WITH THE THRONE
| (Some Considerations on the
|THE CENTRALITY AND SUPREMACY OF
| THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
|THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE CROSS, THE CHURCH,
| AND THE COMING AGAIN OF THE LORD
|HIS GREAT LOVE
|UNION WITH CHRIST
|THE MORE EXCELLENT MINISTRY
| (Incorporating Union with Christ
| The Ministry of Elijah and Stewardship)
|CHRIST -- ALL, AND IN ALL
|CHRIST IN HEAVEN AND CHRIST WITHIN
|"I WILL OVERTURN"
|THE SUPREME VOCATION
||or 30np per dozen
|A GOOD WARFARE
||or 30np per dozen
|WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN?
||or 30np per dozen
|THE BLOOD, THE CROSS AND THE
| NAME OF THE LORD JESUS
|THE ARM OF THE LORD
|CHRIST OUR LIFE
||Free of charge
|By H. Foster (Booklet)
|THE REALITY OF GOD'S HOUSE
|By Various Authors
| (Each volume contains a number of
separate messages )
|THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY
| The three volumes, when ordered
|For Boys and Girls
|By G. Paterson
|GOSPEL MESSAGES FROM THE ANTARCTIC
| (170-page cloth-bound book.
|By H. Foster
| (All with illustrated art paper
|READY FOR THE KING (48 pp. Illus.)
|ON WINGS OF FAITH (52 pp. Illus.)
|BURIED TREASURE (48 pp. Illus.)
|OPENING IRON GATES (40 pages)
A WITNESS AND A TESTIMONY
The six issues of the magazine, bound together, to form a volume with
light blue art paper cover, are available for the following years:
1968, 1969, 1970. Price per volume (1 year): 25np ($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 20 per cent.
Orders totalling more than £1 -- please add 10 percent.
To the U.S.A.: Please add 12 cents in the dollar.
Orders for literature and requests for "A Witness and A Testimony"
should be addressed to:
WITNESS AND TESTIMONY LITERATURE TRUST,
39 Honor Oak Road, London, S.E.23, England.
Telephone: 01-699 5216/4339
Witness and Testimony literature can also be obtained from:
|Ministry of Life,
|Box 74, Rt 2,
||1505 South Westmoreland Avenue,
|Indiana 46120, U.S.A.
||California 90006, U.S.A.
|Convocation Literature Sales,
||Evangelical Literature Service,
|1370 Ray Street,
||(Mr. Donald J. David),
||158 Purasawalkam High Road,
|Virginia 23502, U.S.A.
||Madras, 7, India.
Printed in Great Britain by Billing and
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