austin sparks, book ministry, christian ministry, daily devotional

January 22

22 JAN – The Greatness of the Church

Not many in the House of God realize that the church is more than an institution, an organization, a place to gather on Sundays, a social structure for marriages, baptism and funerals. Tradition of the church as we know it has watered down the church to something that is earthly and mundane, lacking in true spiritual content and substance. The majority of Christians go to church in response to their understanding of church doctrines, rituals.

Now the greatness of the Church is here, that God has ordained and appointed that the Church now, in this dispensation, should be as the living Person of the Lord: where He can be found, where He can be met, where He can be touched, where He makes self-manifestation. Rome has the ‘truth’ regarding this, but has dragged it down on to a temporal, worldly level; but nevertheless the fact remains, He is found there, in the Church, and only in the Church. “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them’’ (Matt. 18:20). God can be met, found, touched there; there is the vehicle of His manifestation. So the Church is called to be here in this dispensation, and in the ages to come, the very Body through which God in Christ manifests Himself, makes Himself known. Is that the Church that we know, that is commonly called the Church? (Oh, no! But that is God’s thought, and how different!).

The true Church is nothing less, in the intention of God, than Christ Himself present and going on with His work, now without those earthly limitations of His life before His death and resurrection. The Christ risen, ascended and exalted in all the fullness which God has put in, is now in the true Church, and that Church exists. I say, you cannot identify it; you can only see where two or three are gathered. You cannot say of this or that or some other thing called ‘the Church’ that that is the Church. No, the true Church is still this mysterious thing. It is Christ in active expression. How great is the Church if it is Christ! I say, we can only state the facts. There they are. What we have to do next is to pray to the Lord: O Lord, reveal the true Church and save me from the caricature!

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