This rich meditation for the Church is taken from “Feed My Sheep” by George H Warnock
What then did He do about it? Did He start acting upon the Scriptures that related to His Messiah-ship, and seek to fulfill what He had read and studied? His pathway is clearly set forth in the Word.
He simplified His life by walking in union with the Heavenly Father… and as a result ALL SCRIPTURE WAS FULFILLED THAT GOD INTENDED TO BE FULFILLED in the short ministry that He had in the earth… and what remained unfulfilled He was prepared to commit into the hands of the Father who sent Him. Doing the will of God was MORE IMPORTANT to Jesus than seeking to fulfill His Messianic office. With what result?
His ministry was cut short, for He was “cut off out of the land of the living…” But He did exactly what God intended Him to do… and the Scriptures which He did not fulfill while here on earth will yet be fulfilled in His Body, as He sits enthroned at God’s right hand in the heavenlies.
This may not seem important to some… but it is vitally important. For if we understand this WAY, then we can spare ourselves all the frustrations and needless anxieties that a minister of God has to endure when He sets his course to fulfill a New Testament ministry, or to bring into being a New Testament Church.
Let us not read the Scriptures with the thought in mind that it is up to you and I to strive to fulfill all that we read. Rather let us read the Word for our daily bread, that we might have the strength and the wisdom to do just what God wants us to do TODAY, and rejoice in the hope of the promise that seems as yet unattainable. And let us be assured that every glorious promise of the Word that God has given us… high and unattainable as it may seem to be, is nevertheless yours and mine to embrace as God quickens the Truth of it to our hearts. And as we faithfully walk in obedience in the realm that God has enabled us to walk in TODAY, the time will surely come when we shall also walk in obedience in a realm which is at present beyond our grasp.
I am not being “scriptural” when I try to fulfill Scripture; I am only being scriptural when I walk in fellowship with the Spirit, and in union with the Son… and in so doing I make way for the Word to take hold of my spirit and to nourish and renew the inner man.
“Dear Lord, as I meditate upon your Word, help me to know that I hold in my hands the plan and the blueprint of the greatest and most wonderful masterpiece of your creative power that you have ever undertaken to bring forth. For when you formed the heavens and the earth… the heavens and their wonderful galaxies and universes, and the earth adorned with beauty and majesty… you simply spoke a Word, and it came into being.
But when you saw fit to bring forth your Masterpiece, even the Church of the Living God, composed of redeemed sons of Adam’s fallen race. you must needs descend to the lowest depths with them in the Person of your Son, that in His death, resurrection, and exaltation to highest heaven we also might be lifted from depths unreachable to heights unattainable, in virtue of your own grace and wisdom and power.
And now in this Book that you have given us to read you have set forth in minute and intricate detail your plan and purpose concerning your people. Who am I that I could begin to formulate and arrange my life and calling, or the lives of your people, according to your Divine blueprint? I have it in my hands… I read it… I memorize it… I meditate upon it… But Lord! There is nothing that you say that is within my desire to perform or within my power to accomplish except as your indwelling Spirit breathes afresh upon the Word that you have spoken, and causes it to become Life within me.
Let me therefore read your Word with the consciousness that you are causing the very dew of Heaven to fall upon it, that it may quicken thy servant, and take on form and reality in my life as I receive it. Give me only that which I need for today, for thus you taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” May we not be greedy for wisdom and knowledge, while as yet we are not able to digest it. For again you have said, “Hast thou found honey? Eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it” (Proverbs 25:16).
Let us be happy as we walk one step at a time, as long as there is union with Thee, with a Word here and a Word there that we can lay hold upon. But let us not grasp hold of Scriptures, as an undisciplined and inefficient workman would grasp his tools… to erect the pillars and walls, and install the furnishings… when as yet the foundation has scarcely been laid. For so you have declared Thy Word would be fulfilled to a people who would enter in to your rest”:
“For precept must be upon precept,
Precept upon precept;
Line upon line, line upon line;
Here a little, there a little:
For with stammering lips, and another tongue
Will he speak to this people. To whom he said,
This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest;
And this is the refreshing:
Yet they would not hear”
And because Israel would not hear, God’s Word that was intended to bring them into rest, caused them “to go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken” (verse 13). “For if the light that is in you become darkness,” Jesus said, “How great is that darkness!”
Jesus, then, did not formulate any plan for the fulfilling of the Scriptures, nor for His own ministry… nor should we. He simply walked with the Father in perfect harmony and as He did everything came to pass as God intended, and the Scripture was fulfilled. How often we read the phrase, “That it might be fulfilled, according as it is written…”
This is how He began His ministry; for as He entered into the synagogue of Nazareth after His anointing and baptism, and stood up to read, He opened the scroll to the place where it was written concerning His great Messianic ministry. Then having read the portion that pertained to Him FOR THAT HOUR He closed the book, and handed it back to the minister of the synagogue, saying, “THIS DAY is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears…” (Luke 4:21).
There would be other days, when other Scriptures would be fulfilled, But for this day this was sufficient, and this was relevant, and God was truly glorified. God’s ministers often feel free to boast: “This is Bible, and I’m going to preach it…” But Jesus was confined to that portion of the Word that God was speaking TODAY.
This excerpt is taken from “The voices of the prophets” By T. Austin-Sparks
They knew Him not, nor the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath. (Acts 13:27 ASV)
We would remind our readers that these messages are constituted by a principle which governs so much of the Bible. It is that, deeper than the words of Scripture, there is a voice; that it was – and is – possible to hear the words and miss the voice. The words are the statements; the voice is the meaning. We have proved this to be the case by such a statement as that in Isaiah 6:9: “Hear ye indeed, but understand not, and see ye indeed (margin: ‘continually’) but perceive not.” This is the condition lying behind our basic quotation in Acts 13:27.
It is sometimes positively amazing and staggering what even Christians – and Christian leaders – can do and say because of this deaf ear to the Spirit. They can take up and pass on most pernicious reports which are sheer lies and do untold harm to others and the Lord’s interests because they do not so walk in the Spirit as to have Him say within: “That is not true.” It is one thing to include belief in the Holy Spirit as a tenet of Christian doctrine, and it may be quite another thing to know when “the Spirit of truth” witnesses within the heart to the truth or the falsehood. It is significant that both the Remnant and the Overcomer are marked by this “hearing the voice.” Jesus placed the ultimate issue of Life or death upon this “hearing the voice (not just the words) of the Son of Man.”
“Every Sabbath” they heard the words, but not the voice.… Let us pray for the ear of Samuel –
“Oh, give me Samuel’s ear –
An open ear, O Lord!
Alive and quick to hear
Each whisper of Thy word!”
Seasoned exhortation from T. Austin-Sparks taken from “All Things in Christ” CHAPTER 7
You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. (John 5:39 NIV)
Ministry is the expression of Life, and not the taking on of a uniform and a title. Once I thought that to be in the ministry was to go into a certain kind of work, to come out of business, and, well, be a minister! So one got into the thing. Many, many are laboring and toiling in it, breaking their hearts, afraid to leave that order of things, lest they should be violating what they conceived to be a Divine call. Many others cannot get out of it because it is a means of livelihood, and they too are breaking their hearts. It is all false. Ministry is not a system like that. Ministry is the expression of Life, and that is but saying in other words that it is the outworking of the indwelling of Christ. Disaster lies before the man or woman who ministers on any other ground than that. When the Lord gets a chance in us, and we really will trust Him on that ground and take our position there, He will show us that there is ministry enough for us; we shall not have to go round looking for it. The real labor so often is to get us down to that ground, the delivering of us from this present evil age even in its conception of the ministry, unto the heavenly ministry.
The Lord Jesus is our pattern. You see the spontaneous ministry, the restful ministry of that Heavenly Man. I covet that! It does not mean that we shall become careless, but it does deliver us from so much unnecessary strain. That is how it should be. May the Lord bring us to it; the heavenly Man with the heavenly Life as the full heavenly Resource.
Lively and rich exhortation from T. Austin-Sparks of blessed Memory
Brother I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened. (Ephesians 1:18 NIV)
“The eyes of your heart enlightened…” discerning love. Love is as far removed from blindness as heaven from earth. “Love is blind”? No – not true love. The fact is that true love sees everything, but transcends everything. The love of Christ for His disciples was not blind love that did not know His men, love that was duped, deceived, misled, but eventually found out that they were not the men He thought they were. No, “He… knew what was in man” (John 2:24). His love saw everything and could tell them beforehand exactly what they would do; but love persisted in face of it all. Love is a great seeing thing.
If you are consumed with a burning love for the Lord, you will be very quick of scent as to what is doubtful and questionable. You will not need to be frequently and continuously told when a thing is not right. No, love for the Lord will bring you quickly to see and to sense there is something that needs to be adjusted. You may not know what it is at the time, but you have a sense that all is not well. Love will do it. All the instruction in the world will not bring you to it. You may have the Word of God brought to you on all such points, and you might even say, “All right, because you say so, because it is in the Bible, I will do it, I will be obedient.” Do you think that is good enough? Such a thing has never come to you through the eyes of your heart. But, mark you, if this love, this discerning love, has really filled your heart by all the intelligence of the Holy Spirit indwelling you, you will sense it without being told; or if it should be brought to you from the Word, that within you will say, “Yes, I know that is right, the Lord tells me that is right.” Do you not think that is the kind of Christian that is needed, and what the Lord needs at the end? That is what He has had in mind from the beginning and He calls that first love that is quick of scent to see what needs to be cut off or added, what adjustments are necessary, and does accordingly. You do not have to follow round and say, “Please do this; have you never taken note that you might be helpful in this way?” You do not have to do that where there is devotion, love watchful all the time, aliveness, alertness, perception, readiness to do without being all the time told to do it. Real devotion to the Lord is something that far outreaches legality. First love is discerning love.
Strong insight for humble walk with God is inevitable for us all. The exhortation below by T. Austine-Sparks is most timely for the season the Church is at. The excerpt is taken from “The shool of Christ”.
To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. (Revelation 2:17)
God always keeps the revelation of Himself in Christ bound up with practical situations. You and I can never get revelation other than in connection with some necessity. We cannot get it simply as a matter of information. That is information, that is not revelation. We cannot get it by studying. When the Lord gave the manna in the wilderness (a type of Christ as the Bread from heaven), He stipulated very strongly that not one fragment more than the day’s need was to be gathered, and that if they went beyond the measure of immediate need, disease and death would break out and overtake them. The principle, the law, of the manna, is that God keeps revelation of Himself in Christ bound up with practical situations of necessity, and we are not going to have revelation as mere teaching, doctrine, interpretation, theory, or anything as a thing, which means that God is going to put you and me into situations where only the revelation of Christ can help us and save us….
Now then, that is why the Lord would keep us in situations which are acute, real. The Lord is against our getting out on theoretical lines with truth, out on technical lines. Oh, let us shun technique as a thing in itself and recognize this, that, although the New Testament has in it a technique, we cannot merely extract the technique and apply it. We have to come into New Testament situations to get a revelation of Christ to meet that situation. So that the Holy Spirit’s way with us is to bring us into living, actual conditions and situations, and needs, in which only some fresh knowledge of the Lord Jesus can be our deliverance, our salvation, our life, and then to give us, not a revelation of truth, but a revelation of the Person, new knowledge of the Person, that we come to see Christ in some way that just meets our need. We are not drawing upon an “it,” but upon a “Him.”
This excerpt is taken from “Nugget for the needy” written by Mavis duCille of blessed memory.
Let me share an experience with you. Someone had hurt us very badly by slander. Of course, I went to God weeping my heart out. The Lord said to me, so clearly, “Oh, you are so sorry for yourself, that you are not able to see the condition of that poor man. He must be in an awful state to cause him to do such a terrible thing to you.” What I saw then was a poor human being taken captive by demons, and manifesting the evil nature of the demons. Surely the man we knew and loved as a Holy Spirit baptized Christian was definitely a different person from the satanic manifestation which came against us. When “I,” “ME” and “MY” were out of the way, my eyes were opened and I began to see from the Mind of Christ. Then and only then I could pray for him. There I saw myself again; self-pity blinded my eyes so that I could not see the man’s great need. Whenever a person is spiritually bankrupt, God will always use another to pray and activate God’s forces of deliverance. On the other hand, the enemy will do anything to prevent this intercession. Satan very often causes the person in need of prayers to strike at the person who should pray for him/her. If this praying Christian can see beyond self-pity and his own pain through God’s eyes of compassion, then his/her suffering will be nothing compared to the deliverance of the soul in bondage. “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him,” 2 Timothy 2:12. No one can pray for his enemies unless he/she can see “the enemy” from the perspective of God. That day, as soon as my self-pity was rebuked by the Lord, my eyes were opened, and I could see the awful plight of another human being who needed deliverance. Dear ones, we must always be watching for the big “I,” “ME” and “MY” which rise up like mountains, always present to block our vision and cloud our minds from seeing and understanding the needs of those around us. May the Lord help us to prefer one another as brethren, and have compassion on all those who are taken captive by the enemy. We are all in battle against one common foe over whom Jesus Christ has had the victory once and for all, and has lifted us up together with Him so that we too might overcome. Oh, what a glorious day when the prince of this world will find nothing in us, because we continue to cast him out through the grace of God and the power of the Holy Ghost. Hallelujah. “Fight the good fight with all thy might Christ is thy strength and Christ thy light. Lay hold on life and it shall be Thy joy and crown eternally. Run the straight race through God’s good grace, Lift up thy eyes and seek His face. Life with its ways before us lie, Christ is thy truth and Christ thy guide. Faint not nor fear; His arms are near. He changes not for thou art dear. Only believe and thou shalt prove That Christ is all in all to thee.” Maranatha!