Archive for January 2009

Fullness in Everything

January 27, 2009

How much then can Jesus Christ do through you and through me? Everything! He is limited only by the measure of our availability to all that He makes available to us, for “in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and ye are complete in Him” (Colossians 2:9-10). What then is the faith that releases divine action? How may you be saved by His life, as you have already claimed to be redeemed by His death? This is the critical question of Christian experience, and the answer is simple­ “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17).

Faith in all its sheer simplicity! Faith that takes God precisely at His Word! Faith that simply says, “Thank You.”

If you are to know the fullness of life in Christ, you are to appropriate the efficacy of what He is as you have already appropriated the efficacy of what He has done. Relate everything, moment by moment as it arises to the adequacy of what He is in you, and assume that His adequacy will be operative; and on this basis in I Thessalonians 5:16 you are exhorted to “rejoice evermore!” You are to be incorrigibly cheerful, for you have solid grounds upon which to rejoice!

Can any situation possible arise, in any circumstances, for which He is not adequate: Any pressure, promise, problem, responsibility or temptation for which the Lord Jesus Himself is not adequate? If He be truly God, there cannot be a single one!

This being so, applying His adequacy by faith to every situation as it arises, will leave you with no alternative but to obey the injunction of I Thessalonians 5:18: “In everything give thanks!” In how many things? In everything ­without exception, “this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Major W. Ian Thomas
The Saving Life of Christ (1961)

The Origin of Your Activity

January 27, 2009

It is not the nature of what you are doing that determines its spirituality, but the origin of what you are doing. Not its nature, but its origin!

There was never a moment in the life of the Lord Jesus that was without divine significance, because there was never anything He did, never anything He said, never any step He took which did not spring from a divine origin – nothing that was not the activity of the Father in and through the Son. Thirty-three years of availability to the Father, that the Father in and through Him might implement the program that had been established and agreed on between the Father and the Son before ever the world was.

Why did the Father give all things into His hands? Because Jesus Christ was completely Man. And He was completely Man because He was completely available! For the first time since Adam fell into sin, there was on earth a Man as God intended man to be!

Which of His activities were the more spiritual: the Sermon on the Mount, the raising of Lazarus from the dead, or the washing of His disciples’ feet? The answer, of course, is that no one activity was more spiritual than another, for all had their origin in the Father, who acted through the Son. “I do always those things that please Him” (John 8:29).

The Lord Jesus summarized this in John 14:10 – “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself; but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works.” … The whole activity of the Lord Jesus on earth as Man was the Father’s activity in the Son, through the eternal Spirit through whom His body was presented to the Father.

Spirituality in man is his availability to God for His divine action, and the form of this activity is irrelevant. If it pleases you, always and only, to do what pleases God ­you can do as you please!

Major W. Ian Thomas
The Saving Life of Christ (1961)

Being Filled with the Full Knowledge of God’s Will

January 27, 2009

“For this cause we also … do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, that ye might walk worthily of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:9,10).

In this verse God’s will refers to Christ. It was not God’s will for the Colossians to follow Judaistic observances [2:16], Gentile ordinances, or human philosophies [2:8]. Furthermore, it was not God’s will for them to practice asceticism, to treat the body severely in order to bridle the indulgence of the flesh [2:20-23]. God’s will for the Colossians was to know Christ, to experience Christ, to enjoy Christ, to live Christ, and to have Christ become their life and their person [2:6, 3:4]. God’s will for us today is exactly the same.

If we know that God’s will is for us to be saturated with Christ, then we have the proper knowledge of God’s will. Whatever we do should be done in the will of God. We should marry in Christ, work in Christ, and move in Christ. Christ should be our life and our person. This is the will of God.

Witness Lee (1905-1997)
Life-Study of Colossians

Free to Be You

January 27, 2009

Under the law we become hypocrites. The word comes from the Greek theatre. A hypocrite is not an imperfect person; a hypocrite is an actor, a pretender. What made the Pharisees hypocrites was not their faults: It was their pretense that they were righteous. It was teaching one thing and doing another. But that is what law will always produce: people who are always hiding their real selves, always acting, always pretending, and never being real.

But what happens when we are set free by grace? One of the most common testimonies I hear is, “For the first time in my life, I am free to just be myself! I’m free to be me.”

The ultimate consequence of living under law is outright rebellion – when you give up because of the hopelessness of ever making it.

Time and time again, I have seen these people who have been branded as “rebels against God” or “back-slidden Christians” come out of their chairs in excitement and joy as they learn for the first time about the incredible grace, love and acceptance of God in Jesus Christ.

In all my years as a Christian, I have never heard anyone say, “I’ve had it! I am sick to death of the love and grace of God. I’m sick of other Christians loving and accepting me. I’m giving up this Christian life.” No I’ve never heard that. But I couldn’t count the number of Christians I’ve known who have given up because of being under law, who have been broken by the crushing burden of trying to be good enough to earn God’s acceptance, who have been mangled by the competition, the judging, and the demands to conform to some group’s standards. “We’ll accept you if you look like, walk like, talk like, and act like us.” And the implication is always, “And God will, too.” So what are we to do?

Jesus Christ came to free us from the burden of the law by calling us to a life united with His. We are beloved, accepted children of God, who have been called to His “banquet table” to experience Jesus Christ living in and through us every day. Abundant life is not “pie-in-the-sky” or nebulous theory. It is real, and it is ours for the taking if we will only believe. Let’s not settle for anything less.

Bob George
Classic Christianity (1989)

The Measure of Christ

January 27, 2009

“Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:20-23).

We want immediately to focus everything in and upon the Lord Jesus Christ, for it is HE who is in view. What we have before us these days is not teaching or truth – that is, to be possessed with more knowledge of truth; it is not service; but it is the LORD Himself.

The object of the Father from first to last is that the Son, the Lord Jesus, shall fill all things … and all things shall be filled with Christ. The value of everything in the eyes of God is according to the measure of the manifestation of Christ in it. It is from that standpoint that God determines the value of the thing. How much of the Lord Jesus is manifested through it – that determines the value of a thing. How much of the Lord Jesus is manifested through it – that determines the value from God’s standpoint.

If we got focused there, it would make a great difference; much would have to go, because of manifesting something other than the Lord Jesus.

We must understand that the Father has set the Lord Jesus before His eyes, and the Father’s eyes are full of only one object – the Beloved, His Son. In the eyes of God the value of everything is determined by the measure in which His Son is manifested and glorified; that is His end, and that is His object …

God has singled out a Person and gathered into that Person all the Divine perfections. Everything is inseparably bound up with His Son. He has put all the fullness of the Universe into that Person and bound up all the fullness in Him. Not a fragment can be had apart from Him; that which is to characterize the New Creation is in Him. The predestined End of God is a full presentation of the fullness of Christ – every corner of the Universe speaking audibly of Jesus Christ – so that we shall not be able to go into a place or touch a life without finding an expression of the Lord Jesus.

“Christ in you, the hope of glory” – this is heaven. You walk in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. Think of the whole Universe like that – a universal expression of His Son in fullness. That is the end God has in view – that Christ shall fill all things … a looking into everything will mean finding it full of Christ …

The Christian life is not by effort and not by struggle – not merely trying to put into practice certain maxims or to attain to a certain measure; but from beginning to end and altogether, it is a matter of knowing the Lord Jesus within. Of course, this implies response to Him and a continual yeildedness to His working within by His Spirit – so cooperating with Him in His purpose of conformity to the image of His Son.

T. Austin-Sparks (1888-1971)
A Witness and a Testimony (September 1931)

The Joy of Our Souls

January 26, 2009

The Father has given us His Beloved Son to be the joy of our souls, the object of our hearts … He is saying, “Behold My Servant, Whom I uphold; Mine Elect, in Whom My soul delighteth!” (Isaiah 42:1).

The Father would have us find our joy where He is finding His, and that is in that Beloved One at His own right hand. He is saying, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice.”

May we know the rest and blessedness of this joy at all times; so shall we glorify Him as we pass through this world of darkness. Happy ourselves, we shall help others to be happy.

J.H. Taylor
Cited by Miles Stanford, An “I” for an “I”

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

January 26, 2009

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is a powerful biblical model of the Law. As the Apostle Paul declared, “The strength of sin is the law” (I Corinthians 15:56). This is because it is through the Law that we derive our knowledge of good and evil. We may wonder how this knowledge brings death until we see the fruit. The knowledge causes us to focus our attention upon ourselves. Sin is empowered by the law; not just because the evil is revealed but the good as well. It drives us either to corruption or self-righteousness, both of which lead to death …

 The good of the Tree of Knowledge has always been more effective in separating us from the Lord than the evil has been. The goodness of man can be the most ugly manifestation of his pride and rebellion against God. The entire Tree of Knowledge must be torn from our soul by the roots …

Sin is not just a few wrong things we have done; it is the nature of what we are [were] – regardless of whether the guise is good or evil… Paul clearly articulates this in his letter to the church at Philippi (Philippians 3:2-9).

Paul’s righteousness based upon the Law brought him into direct conflict with the Truth. He was a persecutor of true worshipers, as is everyone who tries to live by the law. Just as Cain could not tolerate Abel, those who seek to stand by their own righteousness find the presence of those who stand by faith in Jesus intolerable. The righteousness of God, based completely on the atonement of the cross, strips away facades and lays bare the pride of man … When he [Paul] perceived the righteousness of Jesus, he counted everything that he has so valued in life as rubbish …

The cross of Jesus utterly destroys every self-righteous presumption. There is no greater intimidation to the knowledge of good and evil than the cross.

Rick Joyner
There Were Two Trees in the Garden (1986)


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