Isa 43:10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Nature Of The Trying Fire

1Co 3:13  Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is

What is the fire? We have, as we see, the claus "for the day shall declare it,” which no doubt applies to the day of the Lord’s appearing, but I think there is an application of the words “the fire itself shall prove” in that day, which is specific, which is along a certain line.

Passing over to another part of the Scriptures, let us ask what the nature of the devouring by the dragon is in Revelation 12:4. 

There we see the great red dragon standing waiting to devour the man-child the moment he is born.

What is the character of the devouring?

How will the dragon seek to devour?

I do not think it would be an adequate answer to say that this is a way of describing a great persecution from without, a physical persecution of the saints. 

That is not an adequate explanation; because the Blood of the Lamb is not the ground upon which you overcome physical persecution.

You go through physical persecution, you are not delivered out of it. 

You can appeal to the Blood of the Lamb as much as you like in the day of persecution from without, and the Blood of the Lamb does not avail to release you from it. 

There is a support through it. But here in this twelfth chapter of Revelation the man-child is seen escaping the jaws of the dragon, being delivered from him, and being caught up to the throne. 

It is an absolute deliverance from the dragon who stands waiting to devour.

Now what is the nature of the devourer? The nature of the devourer is explained by the nature of the victory. “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony...” 

It may be outwardly they suffer death, loving not their lives even unto death, but there is something inward which means that, even while they are delivered up unto death outwardly, they overcome spiritually.

Here is something in which these escape the dragon and are not swallowed up by him; and that will tell you, if you think for a moment, what the nature of the devourer is. 

It seems to me that the devourer is related to the faith of the overcomer. It is a matter of swallowing up their faith. 

Faith in what? Faith in all that upon which they stand for their eternal salvation.

The accuser is there, and if, with no more multiplication of words, we reduce it to this, you will see what we mean.

It is a question precisely of an inward spiritual, living relationship to Christ Himself.

In that day, when the enemy moves in that intensified form against an overcomer-company to swallow that company up, there will be the most severe and intense testing and trying out of an inward relationship to the Lord.

It will certainly come along one line, if not entirely along the one line, namely, of being tempted to believe that the whole foundation has given way.

In other words, the great effort of the adversary will be to bring to a place where the hope of salvation is gone, where the saints have had cut from under them their assurance in Christ. 

The devouring will be in relation to their faith, the awful blackness of being out of the pale and hope of salvation.

That is not mere hypothesis; that is an actuality.

There are many true children of God in that affliction now, and the enemy is pressing that, and will press that more and more toward the end.

You and I, beloved, by reason of being given certain conditions and circumstances: physical, circumstantial, mental, will be tested on that matter, tested right out as to what we have been using to build with. 

What does your building represent? Is it so much teaching, so much doctrine, so much theory, so many meetings, so many prayers, so much Bible reading, Bible study, so much activity in the Lord’s work? 

Is that the structure? Supposing it all goes, and you are no longer able to do anything: no longer able to pray, no longer able to study the Word, no longer able to go to the meetings, no longer able to work for the Lord outwardly, what do you have left?

Supposing all that structure is all that you have, and your whole Christian life is represented by that, and it all goes, what do you have left?

Do you have Christ inwardly? That will be the test..

The work is that which we are doing now in the building up of our Christian lives. What are we using? What are we working with? 

I believe that the only thing which will satisfy the Lord is that we should be able to stand with Him in any place, though it be in hell itself.

The Lord might test us by the fires in that way, as to whether we are able to stand not merely when we are in the good fellowship of Christian people, with all the helps around us, with all advantages at our disposal spiritually, but when we are alone, cut off, shut up, or in some place where it is ninety-nine percent the devil and hell.

What is it that will make it possible for us to stand in such an hour?

Nothing but an inward, clear, living knowledge of Christ Himself. 

Each man’s work shall be tried; the fires shall make manifest of what sort it is. 

The work relates to the building up of ourselves as Christians.

What is it that is represented by our Christian lives? Is it the place in which we meet? Is it the teaching we receive there? Is it anything like that?

You may be assured that that is going to be put in the fire, and then the question will be how much of Christ has through that become a living, inward reality, a part of your very being, so that you do not say: I know of certain teaching, and I belong to a certain fellowship! but, I HAVE CHRIST!

That is our work, and each man’s work shall be tried.

The enemy will stand ready to swallow up, and he will swallow up all that he can. 

He cannot swallow up Christ. 

If Christ is in us, in a closer relationship with us than any human relationship, so that Christ has become a very part of us, the enemy cannot devour that.

~T. Austin Sparks~

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