austin sparks, book ministry, christian ministry, daily devotional

June 26

26 JUN – Spiritual Maturity

There are two maxims which it will be well for us to have settled quite early. One is that we can only “go on” in the Holy Spirit. The other is that the Holy Spirit can only take us on as the foundations and “principles” are laid and settled. There are many of the Lord’s children who, after many years of being such, are under arrest, paralyzed, ineffective, and almost counted out because they are in a state of unsettlement about the “first principles.” With some it is a matter of “faith toward God”; with some it is the matter of baptism; with some it is “eternal judgment.” Let it be clearly recognized that on all such matters the Holy Spirit Himself will demand an absolute settlement and will not take us on to “full growth” until the “principles” are established. Why are there so many old-aged infants, elderly dependents, spiritual “Peter Pans” amongst the Lord’s people? Why is it that after years of work and service so many come to a place where they are beaten and helpless because of being “without understanding” in that sense in which the words are used? Col. 1:9; 1 Cor. 14:20; Matt. 15:16.

It may be – and certainly sometimes is – because at some time the Spirit’s requirement as to some basic principle was unheeded, argued aside, discussed, passed, or definitely refused. That is a sin against the Holy Spirit – while it may not be the sin – and that sin is bound to find us out sooner or later. What we have to say here as we proceed will make clear what we mean by this being found out. The letter to the Hebrews marks the transition from the fragments of the Prophets to the fullness in Christ, this fullness is spiritual and is consequent upon spiritual revelation which leaves all the “earthlies” behind and comes into the “heavenlies,” even in the matter of Divinely constituted institutions, which nevertheless were but as a “schoolmaster” to lead to Christ and maturity. We can still go on with the “things” and stand still as to the “meaning.” For instance, it is impossible to have a revelation of the true nature of the Church the Body of Christ and remain a denominationalist or sectarian without joining issue with the Holy Spirit. It is equally impossible to remain a Jew as such (in the matter of Judaism) and be a member of Christ. Once the Holy Spirit has spoken or enlightened, tremendous crises are reached on foundation principles, and these crises if not settled soon will come up later. The Holy Spirit never moves a fraction from His original premise.

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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.

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