austin sparks, book ministry, christian ministry, daily devotional

June 9

9 JUN – Nothing Is Over Till the Lord Says So

See the Lord Jesus in the days of His flesh! Look at Him purely along a human line. What do you see? Well, men do not see anything but a man, perhaps a very ordinary man at that. Evidently there is nothing about Him as a man which overpowered them, which made them feel: Here we have a superman! No, nothing like that. Probably they saw weakness. “His face was so marred more than any man’s” (Isa. 52:14). They saw tiredness. There was no difference between Him and us regarding His humanity, but there is something in spite of that, something that you cannot account for. It is not natural at all, it cannot be accounted for along any other line. There is something else here. That is the mystery of Christ. It is God here present in this weakness.

And the principle is carried over to His servants and to His Church. If you look for any explanation at all along human lines you will not find it. You will find a great deal which seems to provide a background for wondering whether anything more is going to be possible, and the mystery of Christ is this, that it goes on and it comes again and again, but it does not get rid of all these human weaknesses and limitations. It goes on in spite of them.

I believe we have got to come to some acceptance on this point. It has got to be something we settle before the Lord. That amounts to this, that naturally we might die, a hundred times, a thousand times; from every natural standpoint, you might take a very short lease of life, but we will live to seventy, eighty, ninety years of age — until God says, it is finished! I think we have got to come to a settled place about this matter, that we are not going to finish up, if we are here representing the Lord, until the Lord says, “Finished!” though all the best human opinion, all scientific wisdom and understanding might say, “No!” Some of us again and again have felt that the end has come, but it has not been. It is a coming up again and again, and you cannot account for it. It is not hysteria at all; it is God, the mystery of Christ. Shall we not settle back on that and say, Yes, it will be, until the Lord says, “Finished” it is not going to be finished. You have your bad times and feel the Lord has done with you or that you are finished. Do not accept anything until the Lord says so, and you know when the Lord says so.

Book Ministry Website

Book-Ministry eBay Store

Standard
austin sparks, book ministry, christian ministry, daily devotional

June 8

8 JUN – There Are No Experts in Spiritual Matters

The service of the Lord is fundamentally personal and springs out of what the Lord has done in us, and it amounts to Christ coming into a situation by us. The service of the Lord is that He comes into us. All sorts of perils and dangers are associated with that, and you know how foolish people are, that immediately the Lord does something through a channel, by means of an instrument, people begin to make something of that person at once. ‘Oh, let us call so-and-so, if only he will come, if only she will come’, and they begin to make something of the vessel, and the next time it does not happen. It is the Lord and He is very jealous and you can never take anything for granted. You have got to recognize all the time it is the Lord, but this is the service of the Lord. That is why it is so necessary for one who really brings Christ into a situation, to be a thoroughly crucified person who will never take any glory to themselves, who will never allow people to make of them experts in spiritual matters, but it is the Lord. If it were not for the Lord, nothing is possible. It is only a crucified man or woman who can serve the Lord really, because service is bringing the Lord in. It is all the Lord.

There is a lot of history behind what I have just said. If I am not mistaken, that is the explanation of all Paul’s suffering. If ever a man brought the Lord Jesus into a situation, Paul did. If ever a man’s presence meant the presence of the Lord, his presence meant that. But there is nothing in the natural realm where Paul was concerned which gives him anything whatever to trade upon. If we are not mistaken, the right reading of Paul’s life is this, that Paul himself was more often than not unconscious of any demonstration of God’s presence. If you had asked him, he would often have had to say, ‘No, all I am conscious of is extreme weakness, dependence, need, helplessness; I am not always aware of the mighty power of God resting upon me, I am not always aware of being lifted completely above my infirmities, weaknesses, I am conscious of them all the time; if anything is happening, it is happening in spite of all sorts of things which cripple and limit and seek to defeat and destroy me; the Lord is doing it in spite of these things!’ I believe that was the true history of Paul. The Lord kept him there.

Book Ministry Website

Book-Ministry eBay Store

Standard
austin sparks, book ministry, christian ministry, daily devotional

June 7

7 JUN – The Making of God’s Representatives

What the Holy Spirit does is to make people. He constitutes representatives, He deals with individuals. He does not give them, in the first place, something to say, He does something in them out of which all their saying comes. He does not tell them what to do; He so works in them that they go and do it, it comes out, it is spontaneous as the result of something done in them. Quite a lot of young men and women are ready to throw up business and go out and be a missionary. There is something romantic about it. They could serve the Lord so much better if you put them down in the heart of Timbuktu. But here they are in the heart of a tremendous crying need, and they are not serving the Lord at all. That is false and artificial. The Holy Spirit does not do that. The Holy Spirit makes witnesses or representatives — the same thing — and if you are not a representative where you are, do not think that by changing to some foreign land where they are dark heathen that you are going to be a representative there.

When we are constituted to be God’s representatives, then the Holy Spirit disposes of us and puts us here or there, where He will. In His sovereignty … He does not appoint officials, He appoints people. A mere official may cut no ice at all, and the Lord knows that Gehazi may be the official servant of the prophet and he may get hold of the prophet’s rod and go in his official capacity with the insignia of office into the death chamber where that boy lies, but nothing happens. The woman saw through Gehazi and said, I am not going with you, I am going to stay with the prophet! When the prophet came as the man anointed of God, he spread himself upon the lad, identified himself with the lad in a vital way, and he was literally dragged back from death into life. That is not official, that is vital; that is a person (2 Kings 4:17-37).

“Why could not we cast him out?” said the disciples after that ignominious failure at the foot of the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:19). Perhaps they had tried officially thinking that they were the disciples of Christ! They had evidently made an attempt at casting out the demon. The Lord said, in effect, ‘This thing is done vitally not officially. You cannot do this by merely bearing the name of a disciple. You have to be a divine representation!’

Book Ministry Website

Book-Ministry eBay Store

Standard
austin sparks, book ministry, christian ministry, daily devotional

June 6

6 JUN – How Should I Serve the Lord?

In this meditation we come back to this, that the Holy Spirit is most decidedly and positively the Spirit of service. This may be a very simple beginning, but it may do us good to just be reminded of this. It has always been the case that when the Holy Spirit has really gained His place in a life, that life has very quickly become governed and mastered by the Spirit of service, and I feel that something must be wrong if ever a Christian life loses the Spirit of service. If ever you or I lose that urge to the service of the Lord, something has gone wrong. I am not speaking about forms of service. I am speaking about the spirit of service.

So we find that, right at the beginning, the Holy Spirit created this urge to serve the Lord…. A tremendous concern was planted in the heart of those who received the Spirit about the Lord being known by others, about the Lord being brought to others, the Lord getting His place in others and in all the earth — a real concern about it. That is a mark of the Holy Spirit. There is something wrong if that is not found in us, a real concern that Christ should get His place and be brought into His place in the people of this world. Let us ask our hearts quite honestly now — is that true in our case?

The Spirit of service is the Holy Spirit. Let us remember that. Everything will take its rise from that. It may be that there is not an adequate concern, no real passion to serve the Lord. Now will you honestly answer the Lord in your own heart on this matter? Ask yourself the question, Have I, above all concerns and interests in life, a desire to serve the Lord? It is not, ‘How am I going to serve the Lord?’ Suspend that, put it back on the Lord. It is not whether I am going to give up what I am doing now and be a minister or a missionary. I am not talking about that. I am talking about the spirit of service, and the thing is, am I above everything else in life concerned for the Lord’s service, to serve the Lord? It may be that I shall serve along this line, in this capacity or in that; it does not matter. The thing is that I serve. Above all other things that I do and through all other things that I do, however much I may do, that it is the Lord’s service that is governing me, and is dominating.

Book Ministry Website

Book-Ministry eBay Store

Standard
austin sparks, book ministry, christian ministry, daily devotional

June 5

5 JUN – The Divine Thought of Representation

What is the very heart and essence of the Lord’s service, the work of the Lord? The answer is found in this word — representation. That may include many things, it may cover a lot of ground, but it may be a very simple matter indeed without a great many things. It means simply this, our being on this earth implying the Lord, the very fact that we are here carrying with it the implication of Christ. It conveys quite positively the fact that the Lord Jesus has not departed from this world, has not left this earth, but while in glory is also here quite definitely and positively.

It may often be quite impossible to say much about it. Now, do not make that a cover for silence. Sometimes it is impossible to say very much; sometimes it is impossible to do very much, to engage in the various forms of activity in what is called the Lord’s service. There may be very severe limitations and straitness may be on all sides. It does not necessarily affect the matter of the Lord’s service at all; that is not the point.

In the first instance, the service of the Lord is not the amount said nor the number of activities engaged in. The Lord’s service is a matter of being, in the first instance. It is this tremendous implication carried effectively and positively in a vessel, in a witness, in a being; the implication that God is here, the Lord is here, the Lord is in His world, the Lord is in the midst, the Lord is available, the Lord is accessible, the Lord is near, the Lord is real, the Lord is living, the Lord is willing, is ready, the Lord is at hand — all that as a many-sided implication of our being on the earth. That is the service of the Lord. That is the very heart and essence of service.

The Divine thought of representation is that the Lord is present and known by means of representation. This matter of representation for God is the very heart and essence of service.

Book Ministry Website

Book-Ministry eBay Store

Standard
austin sparks, book ministry, christian ministry, daily devotional

June 4

4 JUN – The Service of God Begins With the Cross

Only as all service is brought within the limits of this Divine ordering by a positive witness within the sanctified and quickened spirit of the “chosen vessel” can there be “the works of God” which alone count. This, on the other hand, rules out all our works.

Motive, good intent, laboriousness, enthusiasm “in the name of Jesus,” “for the Kingdom,” “in the interests of mankind,” etc. these do not count in the realm of “the eternal purpose in Christ Jesus” if they are our own activities… with our own natural resources. It must be “God who works within.”

We have yet to know the nature and immensity of the works of God… and how His ends call for His infinite energy; and when we have a little light on this matter, we shall see that all our works are “dead works” indeed.

The flesh cannot enter into the works of God; hence the measure of spiritual effectiveness is the measure in which the Cross of Christ has slain our flesh experimentally… not what appears to be successful Christian work, but what is done not by men but by God through crucified men. We must be content to have our fruitfulness and spiritual value registered in the unseen… and not be dominated by the scales of values as set up by men on the earth. One sign of counting beyond mere flesh and blood is the malice and fury of the oppressor… and his persistent efforts to get one out of the fight.

Finally, we can only get into the true service of God as we are put into it by the Holy Spirit. This is not as from the earth, but as from above. Men cannot make these appointments or ordinations! To press into this service of oneself is to meet the fire of God breaking forth. To touch this “ark of testimony” with our hands is to die.

Even after Moses had been chosen, had received the revelation, and had been commissioned, “God met him and sought to kill him.” Why? Because the circumcision of the flesh had been neglected… and no flesh can serve the Lord.

Book Ministry Website

Book-Ministry eBay Store

Standard
austin sparks, book ministry, christian ministry, daily devotional

June 3

3 JUN – Only What God Does Himself Is God’s Service

There is so much and there are so many ways which claim to be “God’s service” and “mighty works in the Name of Jesus.” Thank God, however, that we have not to judge and decide what is and what is not true service to God. It is given to us, nevertheless, to recognize and emphasize basic principles by which all who claim to serve Him must judge themselves in this matter.

Now, of this service there must never be a judging after the seeing of the eyes or the hearing of the ear! This is a matter into which the senses cannot come without the peril of deceiving and misleading the whole life. The service of God like every other thing in relation to Him is essentially an unmixed spiritual thing.

There are two things at least which are basically wrong and inevitably disastrous from the standpoint of true spiritual value: one is the regarding of the work of God as a set system, just as any commercial, industrial, or professional system is a vocation or calling (So much is heard about “entering the ministry,” “taking up Christian work,” “becoming a missionary,” etc. and this as static, organized, systematized); the other is going into service on the basis of an external appeal to the senses, the intellect, the emotions, the volition, by reason of a presentation to the ears or the eyes.

Without seeming to judge of this ourselves, let us state a further principle or two or re-emphasize in definite form: all-inclusively, only what God does Himself is God’s service! This is basic to the entire revelation of the purposes of God in the whole Scriptures.

The Lord Jesus is most insistent upon this Himself: “The Son can do nothing of Himself.”

“The Father doeth the works.” “The Father speaketh the words.” “My Father worketh until now.”

“It is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaketh in you.”

This principle was well recognized by the Apostles. In fact, it is the primary object of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit: “The Holy Ghost said….” “The Spirit suffered them not.”

Book Ministry Website

Book-Ministry eBay Store

Standard
austin sparks, book ministry, christian ministry, daily devotional

June 2

2 JUN – Christian Service According To the Mind of God

What is Christian service according to the mind of God? It is not our having a very full program of Christian activities – not necessarily. It is not that we are always busy in what we call “the things of the Lord.” It is not the measure and amount of our activity and busyness – the degree of our perspiration and enthusiasm in the Kingdom of God. It is not our schemes, our enterprises for the Lord. Beloved, the test of all service is this: its motive. Is the motive, from start to finish, that in all things HE may have the preeminence – that Christ may be all in all?

You know the temptations and the fascination of Christian service – the fascination of being busy… being occupied with many things… having your programs, schemes, enterprises… being in it and always at it. There is a peril there, and that peril has caught multitudes of the Lord’s servants: it is bringing them into prominence. It has made the work theirs – it is their work – it is their interests; and they are the more pleased the more they govern the thing and run the thing.

Sometimes that end is achieved by our being put out of action, and that is the test as to whether we are quite satisfied to be altogether put out of the work if only the Lord can be more glorified by our being out. If only He can come into His own, it does not matter a scrap whether we are seen or heard. In the grace of God it is somewhere to get when you are quite content to be put in a corner, to be taken no notice of, not to be seen… if thereby the Lord Jesus can come into His own more speedily and fully.

Somehow we have got caught up into this thing, and we think the Lord Jesus can come into His own only if we are the instrument. After all, what were you after? Winning your audience or winning your sermon… or winning your Lord? A great difference! The explanation of service according to God’s thought is just this: what are you doing it for? Do you want to be in the work, to take up the work, to be busy? Or is it utterly and only if by any means He may come into His own? That God’s end may be realized? And if it means that He can be “all and in all” by our death as well as by our life, have we come to the place where we can say, “That Christ may be magnified in this mortal body, whether by life or by death”?

Book Ministry Website

Book-Ministry eBay Store

Standard