Austin Sparks, Christian Ministry, Christianity, Daily Devotional

April 30

30 APR – The Perils of the Objective Apprehension

  1. The Peril of Shallowness. What Christ has done for us may be a matter of very great joy and rejoicing and satisfaction; but contentment in that realm and with that side alone may just prevent that deep work which is necessary, which comes by the complementary side of the truth of Christ’s work, the subjective.
  2. The Peril of Delayed Maturity. Closely related to this is the peril of making the Christian life static, settled, where it has reached the point of accepting all the objective truth by faith and staying there, and not going on beyond that in spiritual experience.
  3. The Peril of Contradiction. Their attitude says in effect, “I am saved, it does not matter what I do. I shall never be lost.” Their very certainty of salvation opens the door for inconsistencies and contradictions in their lives which never reach their conscience, simply because they say they have no more conscience of sin.
  4. The Peril of Truth Taking the Place of Life. Progress, of course, is recognized as necessary. No true believer would sit down and say, “Well, now there is no more progress to be made.” But for many who have so strongly taken up the position upon the objective work of the Lord Jesus in its perfection, the matter of progress is not a matter of life, it is rather a matter of truth; that is, to know more rather than to become more.
  5. The Peril of Missing The Prize. Salvation never was a prize. You can never win or earn salvation; it is a free gift. But to settle down with salvation in its fullness and its finality means for a great many a failure to recognize that there is a prize that of which the Apostle Paul spoke when he said: “I press on towards the goal unto the prize of the upward calling…” (Phil. 3:14). Paul was never in fear of losing his salvation. When he said: “Lest… after that I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected” (I Cor. 9:27), he was not thinking of losing his salvation, but he was aware that there was something that he could miss; he could fall short of something, that which he called “the prize”; and he related to its attainment a growth in his spiritual life: “Not that I… am already made perfect.”

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Austin Sparks, Christian Ministry, Christianity, Daily Devotional

April 29

29 APR – Perfect Salvation Comes with Believing

In the day in which we believe in the Lord Jesus on the ground of the perfection of the work of His Cross, we receive perfection of salvation, and enter into all that salvation to its very last degree. We shall never, though we were to live for centuries on this earth, we shall never in Christ be one little bit more perfect than we are in Him in the very moment that we believe. All that is made good to us in the day that we believe. There are no questions, no hazards, no risks, the thing is settled, it is ours; full and complete in Christ. The Blood of the Lord Jesus has dealt with the whole sin question, root and branch, once and for all, for us. The question of condemnation has been forever settled. You cannot have anything more utter than this NO condemnation! “There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.” It does not say: ‘There is no condemnation to those who have faithfully been going on with the Lord for years’. It says: “to them that are in Christ Jesus.” And when are you in Christ? You are in Christ the moment that you believe in relation to His work on the Cross for your salvation, and in that very moment you enter into the place of NO CONDEMNATION, and freedom from condemnation cannot be more complete than that.

The tremendously important thing is for us to have that settled in our own hearts. We are saved, we are forgiven, we are delivered from condemnation. In Christ we are perfect. He is our perfection, and that perfection of His is ours through faith. The people who have the purest, clearest, fullest heart-grasp of that are the happiest people, the people who know joy. The people who have not grasped that are disturbed people, they have not the fullness of joy, they are always afraid, anxious, worrying about their salvation, doubting; and the enemy plays many tricks with people who have not settled that once and for all.

Now that is the blessed truth of what is objective in salvation for the believer as in Christ. That salvation of ours in its perfection has been put beyond the reach of anything that can throw a doubt upon it, or raise a question about it beyond the touch of anything that can bring it into uncertainty.

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Austin Sparks, Christian Ministry, Christianity, Daily Devotional

April 28

28 APR – The Objective Side of Salvation

We know that He is there in heaven, and we know that a very great deal is said in the Word about His being there; but why is He there? In the first place: How did He get there? Now you will notice if you look into the Word that whenever the heavenly side of the ascension of the Lord Jesus is presented, that is, whenever the matter is looked at from above, it does not speak about His going up or His ascension, but it speaks about His being received up. In the first chapter of the Book of the Acts it is recorded that as the disciples were looking up into heaven after the Lord Jesus had been taken up from among them, two angels appeared and said to them: “men of Galilee, why stand ye looking into heaven? This Jesus, Who was received up…” (the Authorized Version says taken up). That is an angelic, or a heavenly, standpoint, and the word “received” represents something more than just the fact that He ascended to heaven. It carries with it this fact, that it would be impossible for the Lord Jesus to be received in heaven if He had not perfectly accomplished the work which He came from heaven to do. But it was because He had perfected the work which He came to do, and there was nothing more to be added to it, that heaven received Him, and it was a great reception!

Psalm 24 gives us some idea of what that reception was: “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors: and the King of glory will come in. Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” You see, it implies the work that He has done by His Cross, in overthrowing all His and our enemies, meeting all the demand of human need in the matter of salvation, perfecting our salvation. And so He is received up, and is at the right hand of God; and the right hand is always in Scripture the place of strength and honour. He is at the right hand of God because the work which He came to do was finished. That is, our salvation has been perfected by and in the Lord Jesus. There is nothing whatever for Him to add to it. That is the most elementary thing to say, and yet it is so foundational. So many of the Lord’s people have not yet entered into the joyful appreciation of that, that the Lord Jesus really has given the last stroke and the last touch to our salvation; that when heaven received Him, heaven set its seal to the perfected work of His Cross; and that He is there in possession of a salvation which has not still to be accomplished but which is final, full, complete, utter.

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Austin Sparks, Christian Ministry, Christianity, Daily Devotional

April 27

27 APR – Christ in Heaven and Christ Within

We feel the importance of saying a word with regard to Christ in heaven and Christ within the believer, that is, what is objective and what is subjective. It is tremendously important that we should keep a proper balance of truth. A very great deal of our trouble is because of there being an unbalanced emphasis upon some aspect of truth. It is good to know the truth, and it is good to rejoice in it, but it is just possible that even truth may get us into trouble. There are many perils lying in the direction of truth, even spiritual truth, and there are not a few of the Lord’s people who have fallen into those perils. It is not that they suffer from want of light, but they are suffering very much because they have not got their light properly adjusted and balanced.

Preponderance on any one side will always lead to spiritual injury, and very often to disaster. The history of many instrumentalities which have been raised up and used by the Lord is eventually the sad story of a loss of power and effectiveness because of striking an unbalanced emphasis, of putting some side of truth in a place out of proportion to that which is complementary to it.

It is not just a matter of being all-round, that is, of having everything and being in everything; but in the constitution of a body we find that one law is balanced by another. All the laws, of course, are necessary, and it is important to give due place to every function in our bodies; but there run parallel laws and functions, one balances the other. There is that which is complementary to something else. These two things are, as it were, twins, running together, and to over-emphasize or over-develop one means to throw the whole order out, and to bring about quite serious limitation and weakness, and to make things far less effective than they should be.

So it is in spiritual matters. There are always balancing truths. There is one thing, but there is something which goes with it, and which keeps it in its right measure, and causes it to fulfill its purpose and to serve its end most effectively. There is this order in the Divine creation. One thing is necessary to another to make that other fulfill its purpose to the full. That is where balance has to be observed and maintained.

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Austin Sparks, Christian Ministry, Christianity, Daily Devotional

April 26

26 APR – Christ Loved the Church

When Adam and Eve followed Satan’s counsel, their union with the Lord was broken; it brought an end to the communion; it marred the likeness and made impossible its full expression; independence came in for theirs was an independent act: Satan had tempted them to act on their own, without any relationship to God at all and that all meant that faith in God was destroyed. It was something that happened in the nature. It was not just an act, but something that entered into their very nature; and so that is how we find the race.

The Lord lays His hand upon those who are to form the bride of Christ. He brings them to the place where they have to make this decision and take this position ‘I die to all that which happened long, long ago; I die to broken union, to interrupted communion, to spoiled likeness, to all independence and unbelief. I repudiate it, I put it all away; I say that belongs to a creation which I hate, and I want that to be done with, dead and buried. In Christ union is restored, communion begins again, the likeness, conformity to the Son, is taken up by the Holy Spirit; I am from this time utterly and wholly dependent upon the Lord, not to live unto myself but henceforth “unto him who for their sakes died and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:15), and henceforth my faith is in Him.’

“Christ loved the church,” and He gave Himself, for one thing, to purchase her; for the other thing, to effect that death of herself, on her behalf. We cannot kill ourselves, but the Lord Jesus has done it for us. He has died to all that other condition for us, and has risen to all this thought of God for us. So that in His death we died to all that happened in Eden, and in His resurrection we rise to all that God ever intended that bride to be. “Christ… loved the church, and gave himself up for it… that he might present the church to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing.”

That brings us to this further stage, that we are together as the Church, as the bride, on resurrection ground, and ours is no longer an independent life, even as Christians.

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Austin Sparks, Christian Ministry, Christianity, Daily Devotional

April 25

25 APR – Features of the True Church

The Father appointed all things for His Son. Those ‘all things’ were to be the joint inheritance of His Son and His Son’s bride, the Church. That comes out very clearly in the New Testament (Eph. 5:25-27). That bride was in the race of mankind, created as we are told in the book of Genesis. That bride would have to be of a certain order, a certain character, a certain kind, to be suitable to that Son. She would have to be a very special bride, she would have to be made for Him most suitable.

Then we have the story of Adam and Eve, and we know what happened through their surrender to Satan. Something spiritual happened in them, a change took place in their very nature. God had made them, firstly, for union with Himself; then for communion with Himself; and then for likeness to Himself; and in dependence upon Himself; leading to the last thing, absolute and implicit faith in Him. Those are the five things which characterize the Church according to God’s mind:

(1) Union with God, vital union, the union of one life;

(2) Communion with God, intercourse, fellowship, oneness of mind;

(3) Likeness to God, in His own image and after His likeness, taking character from Him, He giving His character and His nature to the Church; then

(4) Dependence upon Him so complete that there is no life apart from Him. (It is one of the great tests of marriage union and I should say, taking it from a man’s standpoint, a most difficult one for a wife to be absolutely dependent upon a man for every penny. There is a revolt against that in our times, but God meant it to be like that with His Church, just absolute dependence, having nothing apart from Him, drawing everything from Him.)

(5) Perfect faith in Him.

Those five things must characterize the bride of Christ.

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Austin Sparks, Christian Ministry, Christianity, Daily Devotional

April 24

24 APR – Bringing Christ Into Our Lives

Remember that everything in relation to the Christian is experimental. Everything in relation to the Lord Jesus is essentially experimental. It is not only doctrinal. This is not a matter of creed. It is not that we accept certain statements of doctrine or creed, and by that fact alone are brought into relationship to the Lord Jesus. We are not made Christians by the acceptance of doctrinal statements or orthodox creeds, or things about the Lord Jesus. The Church is not constituted on that ground at all, though the Church stands for certain things. Experience has to be wrought in the life and you have to become a part of it and it has to become a part of you. It is not sufficient to believe that Christ died on the Cross. That has got to come down here into our lives and become an experience, a mighty, operating force and factor in our beings.

The Church is that in which the truth has been wrought, in which it has been made experimental. Creeds cannot hold you together when hell rises to split you. No, the most ultra-fundamental creed has not succeeded in holding people together. The unity of the Spirit is a thing inwrought. Unless that is so there is nothing that can stand against the divisive, schismatic spirits that are abroad. Everything must be experimental, not merely doctrinal, not creedal. Now that is where you get to God’s reality. It is one thing to sing hymns about Christ being all, and in all, to look at it as an objective thing and agree with it; but it is another thing to be brought experimentally to the place where the truth actually works. We have to come to it through experience. May the Lord give us grace for that.

The final appeal I make is that we all should seek anew the enthronement of the Lord Jesus as supreme Lord in our hearts, in every part of our life, in all our relationships; that if there is anything we have been holding back, we should let go; if we have had any reserves, we should break now; if we have been less than wholly committed to Him, from now this should be no more, but He should be all, and in all, from this time. That should be our understanding, our undertaking with the Lord. Will you do it? Ask the Lord to break even every tender tie that is in the way of His being all, and in all. Are we prepared for that? The Lord give us grace.

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Austin Sparks, Christian Ministry, Christianity, Daily Devotional

April 27

27 APR – Christ in Heaven and Christ Within

We feel the importance of saying a word with regard to Christ in heaven and Christ within the believer, that is, what is objective and what is subjective. It is tremendously important that we should keep a proper balance of truth. A very great deal of our trouble is because of there being an unbalanced emphasis upon some aspect of truth. It is good to know the truth, and it is good to rejoice in it, but it is just possible that even truth may get us into trouble. There are many perils lying in the direction of truth, even spiritual truth, and there are not a few of the Lord’s people who have fallen into those perils. It is not that they suffer from want of light, but they are suffering very much because they have not got their light properly adjusted and balanced.

Preponderance on any one side will always lead to spiritual injury, and very often to disaster. The history of many instrumentalities which have been raised up and used by the Lord is eventually the sad story of a loss of power and effectiveness because of striking an unbalanced emphasis, of putting some side of truth in a place out of proportion to that which is complementary to it.

It is not just a matter of being all-round, that is, of having everything and being in everything; but in the constitution of a body we find that one law is balanced by another. All the laws, of course, are necessary, and it is important to give due place to every function in our bodies; but there run parallel laws and functions, one balances the other. There is that which is complementary to something else. These two things are, as it were, twins, running together, and to over-emphasize or over-develop one means to throw the whole order out, and to bring about quite serious limitation and weakness, and to make things far less effective than they should be.

So it is in spiritual matters. There are always balancing truths. There is one thing, but there is something which goes with it, and which keeps it in its right measure, and causes it to fulfill its purpose and to serve its end most effectively. There is this order in the Divine creation. One thing is necessary to another to make that other fulfill its purpose to the full. That is where balance has to be observed and maintained.

Book Ministry Website

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