austin sparks, book ministry, christian ministry, daily devotional

April 12

12 APR – The Church as a Watchman

It is not too strong a thing to say that, in human life, everything hangs on a sense of purpose. Lose that, and we lose all motive and incentive in living and working.

Someone else has said: ‘The outstanding feature of our time is confusion, a depressing consciousness of futility and helplessness, and secret despair.’ This, and much more is all too true, and, for this reason, there is a primary demand to return to that realm where ‘Purpose’ is a dominant feature. It is not wrong to say that the revealed truth that the world is not going to be an easier and better place to live and work in as we approach the end of the age, constitutes the main battle for faith where God’s people are concerned, and it would be a very easy thing to let hands hang down, and for the knees to become feeble.

… The idea of Purpose stands over the whole Bible revelation. This all-governing idea explains all God’s activities and interests in creation and men. In the Scriptures it is clear that God’s Son, now known as Jesus Christ, our Lord, is the inclusive and ultimate sphere of all that Divine Purpose, that His Coming into this world, His life, death, resurrection, and exaltation are all immediately and exclusively related to the realization of the Purpose; that the Holy Spirit has come as the age-long custodian of God’s Purpose concerning His Son.

Further, it is revealed that the Church is the eternally elect vessel and instrument in which, and through which that Purpose is to be in the first place realized, and then administered in larger realms in “the ages to come” –  that it is the Church, as the Body of Christ, which is “called according to his purpose”, and “chosen in him before the foundation of the world” – and that individuals can and will only come into the realization of that Purpose in an organically related way in the Body corporate.

Again, this “on high calling” explains the particular and peculiar spiritual history – the discipline, suffering, and trial of those who are so called. Any truly spiritual ministry unto this Purpose, and any representation of it in companies of committed people of God do experience and suffer every wile, stratagem, and malicious effort of the evil powers to break them up, wear them out, pull them down onto earthly ground, force them to compromise, and so on. They are the object of every kind of misrepresentation, treachery, cruelty, ostracism, and discrediting.

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