Austin-Sparks The Things of the Spirit

Austin-Sparks The Things of the Spirit is a short two chapter work divided into the Dispensation of the Spirit and the things of the Holy Spirit.

Austin-Sparks The Things of the Spirit is a short two chapter work divided into the Dispensation of the Spirit and the things of the Holy Spirit.

The Things of the Spirit

by T. Austin-Sparks
1John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

This is a two chapter work by Austin-Sparks (Deeper Life) on the Dispensation of the Spirit and the Things of the Spirit.

Part One: The Dispensation of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit’s Work in This Age
(a) The Relationship of the Holy Spirit to the Man in Heaven
(b) An Alteration in Man’s Being
(c) Calling Out a People into Life-Union with Christ
(d) The Commissioning and Empowering of the Church for World Ministry
The Alteration of Man’s Being
New Birth: A Lamp Re-lit
The Deep Things of God
A Renewed Faculty
Vital Union With God
‘Revelation’ and ‘Apprehension’
‘Soul’ and ‘Flesh’ Helpless in Spiritual Things
The Witness of the Spirit
* Note on the Meaning of ‘Revelation’

Part Two: “The things of the Spirit” (1 Cor. 2:14)
The Difference Between Information and Spiritual Knowledge
Spiritual Knowledge Firstly Life
Spiritual Knowledge the Way of Growth and Fulness
How Spiritual Knowledge Comes
(a) By the Vital Hearing of Faith
(b) By the Obedience of Faith
(c) By a Deepening Experience of Christ’s Death and Resurrection
(d) By Fellowship with Christ in His Sufferings

Excerpt from the Work

Part One
The Dispensation of the Holy Spirit

It is common knowledge that God has arranged the course of this world’s history in what we call ages or dispensations, which simply means that at certain different times a particular distinguishing, character is given to the period. There were the past dispensations, which had their own character and nature and regime. There will be future dispensations, called in the New Testament “the ages of the ages”; they, again, will have their own special characteristics. We ourselves, at the present time, are in one of these particular arrangements of God.
It is also common knowledge that the advent of the Holy Spirit, on that particular occasion which has come to be known as ‘The Day of Pentecost’, marked a change in the nature of the ages. That day saw a change of dispensations. That day brought in the dispensation in which we still live, which has its own particular and peculiar characteristics, different from all the others.

This, of course, is a commonly accepted truth, but the failure to recognise adequately the nature of the change which took place on that day has resulted in very much that is dishonouring to the Lord Jesus, and to Christianity. There is a great deal that does not honour the Lord Jesus in the present state of Christianity as we know it. There is that about the present condition which almost everyone deplores. For instance, there are very few people who do not deplore the divisions amongst Christians. These and many other things have brought about a state which really does not glorify our Lord, and makes room for much that would not exist if He had things according to His own mind. That is due in the main to an inadequate apprehension of the change which took place on the day of Pentecost – the advent of the Holy Spirit – and what it was intended to mean for this world and for the people of God.

The Holy Spirit’s Work in This Age

There are four great features of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in this age.

(a) The Relationship of the Holy Spirit to the Man in Heaven

Firstly, the Holy Spirit is related to the perfected Man in Heaven, who is His – the Holy Spirit’s – vision, objective and passion. In other words, the Holy Spirit has come as committed to that One at God’s right hand, the perfected Man, God’s Son, to work everything in relation to Him. He is the inclusive objective of the Holy Spirit’s work in this dispensation. The Holy Spirit’s passion is Jesus Christ in Heaven, as God’s Model for a new creation. That is the first thing.

(b) An Alteration in Man’s Being

The second great matter with which the Holy Spirit is connected in this age, and intimately linked with the first, is the alteration of man’s very being. He is concerned to make a fundamental difference in the very being of man, initially and progressively. This is a very great thing.

(c) Calling Out a People into Life-Union with Christ

The third thing is the calling out from the nations of a people into life-union with Christ, whereby His Church – the Church which is His Body – is formed. That is the commitment made by the Holy Spirit to the Lord Jesus Himself: to bring into being His Body for Him, to make that Body suitable to Him, and to take that Body back to Him. The energies of the Holy Spirit are Churchward, related to the forming of the Body of Christ by gathering and building up. That is simply the fulfilment of the Lord’s own words: “I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). Seeing that so soon after saying those words He went back to glory, it is evident that it was handed over to the Holy Spirit to fulfil the thing that He had said He would do.

(d) The Commissioning and Empowering of the Church for World Ministry

And fourthly, the Holy Spirit has as His work the commissioning and empowering of the Church for a world mission and ministry. I underline the Church. It is very important to underline that, because it takes us back to what we said at the beginning, that an inadequate apprehension of the meaning of the coming of the Holy Spirit has led to many weaknesses and defects. It is the Church that is the anointed vessel for a world commission and ministry. It is the Church that is called to do that. But that has been missed. If only the Church as a whole had stood into the anointing and the commission, we should have seen a continuance of what was at the beginning. But that has been largely lost; it has slipped away from recognition, though there are signs of a return to it now. But the truth is that the connection of the Holy Spirit in this dispensation is with the Church for its commissioning and empowering for a world mission and ministry.

Now, within those four things, as you will realise, many other things will be found. I am not going to take up those four now, but only a small fragment from the second.

The Alteration of Man’s Being

The alteration in man’s being is a work to which the Holy Spirit has committed Himself, and for which He has come.

The first aspect of that great change, by the work and power of the Holy Spirit, is the effecting of a vital union between man and God in Jesus Christ; aliveness to God in a very immediate, a very real, a very full, conscious way; something altogether new as to man’s consciousness of God, and God’s aliveness to man. That is the first phase and stage of this work of the Holy Spirit with regard to man’s very being.

New Birth: A Lamp Re-lit

This aliveness to God involves what the New Testament speaks of as ‘new birth’, being born anew. But what is that? It is the re-birth of a certain faculty by which man is able to have this aliveness to God. The Word of God has this phrase: “The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord” (Prov. 20:27). Now a lamp is a very definite and concrete object. A lamp is something in itself. It is not just something abstract. A lamp is a definite object.”The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord.” When Adam was disobedient, that lamp went out. The spirit of man was no longer the lamp of the Lord in that man. The light went out.

And so right through the Bible it is assumed and declared that man by nature is in darkness, man by nature is blind, man by nature is without understanding, man by nature has not the knowledge which is life. The Lord Jesus built His whole coming and ministry upon that fact.”I am come a light into the world” (John 12:46).” (I came) into this world, that they which see not may see” (John 9:39).”This is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true God, and him whom thou didst send, even Jesus Christ” (John 17:3). It is assumed and taken for granted that man is in the dark, blind, without knowledge, and without understanding.

The Deep Things of God

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