austin sparks, book ministry, christian ministry, daily devotional

October 1

1 OCT – The Supernatural Work of the Spirit

(This) brings (us) to a supernatural basis as to resources – that we are not left to our own resources, to draw only upon our own life. No, when we are at an end, that is not the end; when we are spent, that is not exhaustion. Oh, let this come to us as a real challenge! So often we take ourselves as the measure of things. ‘Oh, I am so tired, I feel so bad, I do not feel I can go to the meeting’, and so we stay away, taking our own condition as being all that there is to count on. There is another level on which to live, another basis; and if you like to put it to the test, if you really have received the Holy Spirit you can lay hold of the Holy Spirit in the moment of most utter weakness and find yourself capable of meeting a tremendous demand, of standing up to something for which you are totally unable in yourself. There is no place, and it is altogether wrong, for any Christian to say, ‘Well, I cannot, therefore I do not try; I am made like this and I have not got this gift and that, and I have not this qualification and that’ – and thus to settle down and become neutral. I am saying to you that if you have received the Holy Spirit, such an attitude is wrong and unnecessary.

When the Holy Spirit is present, we are put upon a supernatural basis for resources, and we can prove again and again that when we have absolutely nothing, and it would be utter madness and folly for us to essay, we can lay hold of God the Holy Ghost and go through triumphantly and come out at the other end with more life than we had at the beginning – contrary to nature, supernatural.

I said I am talking about a fact, not a theory, of ‘a second blessing’; and I can speak to you out of personal experience of the fact. I know what I am talking about. It is a fact. The Holy Spirit within does mean another level for resource, which is not just our natural level; we are not left to ourselves; so do not contemplate any proposition from the standpoint of what you are or are not in yourself. That standpoint in itself may be perfectly true; but there can be a laying hold upon the Lord by faith, saying, “I can do all things in him that strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:13). You are surprised at what you can do if you know this great reality of the indwelling Spirit; you are capable of things you never thought you would ever do. It ought to be like that. That is the romance of a true life in the Spirit.

Book Ministry Website

Book-Ministry eBay Store

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

September 5

5 SEP – Are You Feeding on His Flesh?

“Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have not life in yourselves.”

“How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” John 6:53, 52

If it is imperative that a new entity is demanded for entrance into the Kingdom of God now; it is equally imperative that such entities shall be sustained and matured. The New Testament is full and emphatic on this matter. In the miracle which led to the statement of the Lord, it is clear that He both recognizes this necessity and acts supernaturally to meet it. If the new birth is supernatural, so is the sustenance of the newborn. If we try to grasp either naturally, as did Nicodemus, we shall, as he, be defeated by the “How”. The basic mystery was the plight of the Pharisees in John 6 as it was in the Pharisee of John 3. But it is not the method or process that is of primary concern, but the fact. And yet the “How” is answered in the New Testament. Let us first, however, get quite clear on this that we have got to be fed in our new spiritual life for its maintenance as truly as the natural body has to have food. Then, it is as true in the spiritual as in the natural that normality is marked by growth unto maturity. And, finally, that full, abundant, provision is made for this by the Lord, even to twelve baskets ‘full over’. Is it necessary at this point to take time to show that it is not normal to be born again and finish there? The whole New Testament is against such an idea or state!

But when we have said that, what of this “How” by which the imperative is answered, and the “Except ye” satisfied?

The superficial answer is – of course – feeding, and feeding on Christ. If many Christians were asked what that means, they would probably answer that it is feeding on His Word. Thus it might resolve itself into reading a ‘portion’ of the Bible every day. That is very good, and important; but is that what ‘feeding’ really is? Is it not what Christ becomes to us through the Word?

Now this is an immense matter, because Christ is so immense, and by this ‘feeding’ an immense Body has to be brought to full-growth and stand complete in eternity. It is what Paul calls “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”. Here, we can only give an indication of what this feeding is, and it will point to much more.

Book Ministry Website

Book-Ministry eBay Store

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

September 4

4 SEP – Are You Holding On To Positive Ground?

“Certain men… taught, saying, ‘Except ye… ye cannot…’”;”There rose… the sect…, saying, ‘It is necessary…’” Acts 15:1, 5

“Except ye” can be a term that governs any aspect or emphasis of either truth or error. It is often used to give undue emphasis upon a particular aspect of truth. It may be an aspect which is essential, but if it is out of relation and proportion to all other essential aspects it will sooner or later ‘run to seed’ and defeat its own ends. So many “Excepts” cut off so much that is truly good and necessary, and close everything into their own complexion. What we have said so far is surely enough to indicate that just one expression “Except ye… ye cannot” can be the cause of deformity, limitation, confusion, and suspicion; to say nothing of exclusion and spiritual superiority in the body corporate. It therefore becomes necessary for us to get away from what works out as negative ground and seek to be strong on what is positive. In this matter we can snatch and steal the very term from the wrong usage to the right.

“Except a man be born again he cannot…” (John 3:3, 5) That is a categorical imperative. This imperative was not first said to the poor woman taken in adultery, or to the quisling tax-gatherer, Zacchaeus, or to the dying thief, etc; but it was said to the teacher in Israel; a meticulous observer of the law; a Pharisee, the straitest of religious sects; a man who attended all the religious services and joined conscientiously in all the traditional ritual of the most religious of nations! The context of this declared necessity shows that even such a man was incapable of knowing the essential spiritual principles of the Kingdom of Heaven; hence the force of the “Except” and the “Must”. At the very threshold and door of the Kingdom of God, any and every man must be as though he were not yet born, and to enter he must be as one newly born. This necessity was repeatedly emphasized by Christ to the Jews and their best representatives, and to His own disciples (see Matthew 18:3). This is very sure ground to begin with; but not only for belief; it is a truth to be “made more sure” by experience! Without that we shall never really be sure of anything. Given that, we shall be in a fairly certain position, like that of the healed blind man: “Whether (this or that) I know not. One thing I (do) know; whereas I was blind, now I see.” ‘You cannot shake me on that!’ ‘How?’ ‘Well, I cannot explain, but the fact, I know.’

Book Ministry Website

Book-Ministry eBay Store

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

September 3

3 SEP – Are You Rightly Related Spiritually?

If we go on with God, the Cross leads us immediately to the House of God. The Cross opens the way to the House of God, and the House of God depends for its full meaning upon whether the Cross has done its work.

A great many people think that the Church, the House of God – or whatever you may term it – is a doctrine, a part of a system of Christian truth. Have you thought that? Well, let me say that you are wrong. What is the House of God? We may first name a number of things which it is not.

The House of God is not a part of a system of Christian truth or teaching. It is not a congregation with religious services. It is not a Christian society with a membership. It is not a religious association for religious purposes. Yet these are the ideas that are in so many minds when we speak of the House of God. People think of it as a place where religious observances are carried out, or as a society set up for religious purposes. The House of God is the spiritual relatedness of believers. “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one Body …” (1 Corinthians 12:13). That is the House of God… a spiritual relatedness.

But it is more. The House of God is the recognized and active relatedness of believers. It is not a nebulous thing. It is not an abstract idea. The spiritual relatedness of believers is very wonderful, but there must be a recognition of it; and that relatedness must be made an active thing. That is the House of God.

Then the House of God represents a greater measure of Christ than is possible to any number of separate individuals. Separate individuals can never come to the Lord’s fullness. It will necessitate all the believers for the Lord’s fullness to be entered into; but to come to it, believers must needs be in a relatedness… and that, an active relatedness. That is very practical. Any life that is a free-lance – that is independent and detached – will be limited, even though there may be belief in the spiritual relatedness of all believers. This thing has to become practical – an actual working thing. Fellowship is essential to fullness.

What Is The Church? – Bible Study Video

Book Ministry Website

Book-Ministry eBay Store

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

September 2

2 SEP – Does Your Life Show that the Lord is Present in You?

It is sometimes a good thing to stand back from all that comes into our lives as believers, both personally and collectively, and ask some fundamental questions. ‘Why, really, are we here? Why am I a Christian? What did God mean when He brought Christ into my life? Above and beyond all the details of life and work the trials, sufferings, perplexities; the hopes, blessings, and activities, is there one thing that, in God’s thought, governs all?’

Yes, there is! It is that there may be written on the life initially, to become progressively clearer and more luminous: “Jehovah-Shammah” – “The Lord is there”. This is a statement of fact supported by the whole Bible. This is a test of everything and the standard of all values and judgment. This is the explanation of all discipline and suffering.

The same is true of the collective aspect. The ‘meetings’, ‘congregations’, ‘services’, ‘churches’, etc., are to God’s pleasure and satisfaction just and only in the measure in which it is positively true that the Lord is there, and is met there. Not artificial and formal ways and means of making an impression of solemnity and reverence; not mysticism and artistry; not soulish emotions, either sober or ecstatic; but the sin-challenging, life and light-giving, heart-satisfying and soul-saving presence of God. The verdict must be not this or that about any feature, but ‘We have been in the presence of the Lord: the Lord was there; we have met the Lord!’

May the Lord keep us alive in all things to this ultimate criterion. May we ever be exercised that when people meet us they shall meet the Lord, and that when they gather with us, the predominant and abiding impression may be “THE LORD IS THERE”.

Book Ministry Website

Book-Ministry eBay Store

Standard