I have been reading a little book written by T. Austin Sparks entitled SCHOOL OF CHRIST. It is an out of print book but I believe it a copy can be attained through World Challenge web site. I can only read perhaps one page at a time without choking on the concepts of Christ given in this little 95 page book about the depths of a life truly lived for Christ and Him alone.
One passage to the situation today regards an incident Rev. Sparks experienced while speaking at a conference. The prior speaker had charts, diagrams and booklets regarding prophecies about the last days. Attendees were busily writing down everything the speaker was saying. "Would Germany and Russia form an alliance that would be the foundation for the New World Order..." Where does the new Roman Empire start and what states would consist of the ten horns mentioned in the book of the Revelation, and so forth.
When T. Austin Sparks spoke the next evening, his sermon was on a deeper revelation of who Christ is. How can He be more preeminent in our lives? How can we bring pleasure to Him? How do we develop a deeper relationship with the Father?
The attendees could not wait for the service to end! They did not write a single sentence. Notebooks were closed. Most could not wait for the meeting to end, and some left early!
What a boring subject! Knowing Christ?
What if we knew who the anti-christ was? What would it profit if we knew his address, even? What if we knew the day the ancient Roman Empire would arise and if we knew all of the details of how it will be formed and how it would rule?
If we do not know Christ, what have we attained?
Some want to be, and some even claim to be "prophets". Have they considered that all of the prophets called of God in the Bible, except maybe the Apostle John, died horrible deaths at the hand of their persecutors? If I were a prophet, I would have a large life insurance policy and keep the payments current!
In a nutshell, I would like to quote T. Austin Sparks. These several paragraphs opened my eyes:
" There are numerous things, subjects, themes, teachings. There is the "kingdom of God", there is "sanctification", there is "eternal life". there is the "victorious life", the overcomer or "the overcoming life", there is the "second coming of Christ". These are just a few themes, truths, as they are called, which have been taken up and developed out of the Scriptures and become things with which people have become very much occupied, and they are very interesting things...."
"Certain people hive off around sanctification teaching, and they are the "sanctificationists", and it becomes an "ism". Others hive of and are bounded by the hedge of Second Advent ism, the Lord's coming, prophecy, and all of that. So you get groups like that. I want to say that this would be utterly impossible if the Person of the Lord Jesus was dominant."
" What is the Kingdom of God? It IS JESUS CHRIST. If you get right inside the Gospels you will find out that the Kingdom of God is Jesus Christ. If you are living in Christ, you are in the kingdom and you know, as the Holy Spirit teaches you Christ, what the kingdom is in every detail. "
" The Holy Spirit is not teaching us things; not Church doctrine, not sanctification, not advent ism, not any thing, or any number of things, but teaching us Christ. 2 Thess.1:10 says, "He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be marvelled at in all them that believe."
"How do we know when the coming of the LORD is neigh? Not best of all by prophetical signs, but by what is going on within the hearts of the LORD'S people. But maybe you are not interested in that. You would far sooner know what is going to happen between Germany and Russia, whether these two eventually are going to become a great confederacy! How far does it get us? Where has all the talking about the revived Roman Empire got us?"
" If only we keep close to Him who is the sum of all truth, and move with Him and learn Him, we shall know the course of things. We shall know what is imminent. We shall have in our heart whisperings of preparation. I am not saying that there is nothing in prophecy; don't misunderstand me. But I do know that there are multitudes of people who are simply engrossed in prophecy as a thing whose spiritual life counts for nothing, who really have no deep inward walk with the Lord. We have seen it so often..."
For the past several years I have gone back to this little book entitled SCHOOL OF CHRIST, and I am reminded again and again about what this life is all about; it is all about HIM! Every trial, every victory, every word, every event encompasses His working in my life.
Hebrews 2 sums up the all encompassing purpose of Christ in our lives ~
"But we do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels,
namely Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone."
"For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the Author of their salvation through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father. For this reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying...
"I will proclaim Thy Name to My brethren in the midst of the congregation, I will sing Thy praise and again, I will put My trust in Him, and again, Behold I and the children whom God has given Me. Since the children are flesh and blood He Himself partook of the same...."
In the end, it is all about HIM!
I want to learn of Him, know Him, worship Him, love Him, adore Him, bring Him pleasure so that on that great day when I stand in His presence to give an account, He will say, well done, My good and faithful servant, enter in!