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Called Unto the Fellowship of His Son: Sermon 4 - The Prospect of the Call

By T. Austin-Sparks

      Let us consider the prospect of the call into the fellowship of God's Son. This falls into two phases, the present prospect and the future prospect. I will just bring immediately into view the ultimate of this call and fellowship so that we can make our way toward it again as we trace the course of the present prospect into the future one.

      The Bible, the Word of God which is our charter in this great calling, teaches us quite definitely that the end of this call and fellowship is a reigning together with Christ. "If we suffer (with Him), we shall also reign with Him." God's thought, intention, and will in reigning together with Christ is that it will be fellowship not only in His kingdom as a sphere and a condition, but also fellowship in the sharing of His dominion, being one with Him in His eternal government. That is the full idea in the call and in the fellowship. Even though it is the will of God that all govern together with Him, in the Bible it is made perfectly clear that many will not arrive at that. Nevertheless, this is what we are called unto - to share with Him His Throne.

      It is possible to be citizens even as it is possible to be subjects, but it is also possible to be of the royal family which is very much more because that speaks of those who are associated immediately with the Throne. In the Word, it is revealed that for those who are called and will go on in the fellowship of His Son to its ultimate fulfillment, the Lord's intention is that these will be in association with the Throne. We bring that into view and will probably come back to it before we close, but now let us look at the present prospect.

      The Present Prospect

      The present prospect of this call and fellowship again divides into two phases. The first phase is the reconstitution for that position, responsibility, and association with Him in His ultimate fullness of government. For this, there is a preparation and a training, and the training is what I have called a reconstitution or a making again on a different basis altogether from what we are naturally. As you are naturally, you cannot live on the moon. You have to have a lot of apparatus, breathing apparatus and such, in order to exist there. In the stratosphere, you need another kind of lung, a different mechanism and organism, to live in that realm.

      So it is in this matter concerning us. You and I as we are at present would have a difficult time if we were immediately translated to heaven. We would feel out of place. So there must be a reconstituting in us. An entirely new constitution has to be inculcated, and this brings us into a condition of conflict between the two constitutions that are in us and between the two ragings around us.

      I ask you to be very patient with me because I am going to traverse again much of the ground which we have covered only through indication. I have only pointed things out, indicating but not staying to consider. Now we are going to tarry on some vital points.

      Do you agree that we have got to be made all over again?! Many times the question comes, "Why can we not just come in as we are and go on as we are and be in without all this fuss and trouble and business of being changed?" Why? Well, the answer is just this - it is only the Lord Jesus Who can occupy that heavenly kingdom and occupy that heavenly Throne as being of a different order of humanity. He is a contrasting order, nature, constitution, species. If we know anything about relationship with the Lord Jesus, we know that He is different from what we are, and He is so different that it is very difficult to be like Him. We are all the time trying to be like Him because we know that we are different. This is very simple, but it is basic to everything. When we are called into the fellowship of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are called into a relationship with an order to which we do not belong naturally and to which we have got to be conformed. That is the scriptural word, "conformed" to the image of God's Son. In another word, we must be 'reconstituted' all over again from the beginning, and this is a tremendous battle.

      We are therefore called into conflict and warfare. Paul said to Timothy, "No man who is called to be a soldier goes on in the way of this world and this life, that he may please Him Who has called him to be a soldier." We are called to be soldiers, to join this heavenly army. Now we can have all of our hymns, "Onward Christian Soldiers" and others, but when we come back down to practical politics, we find that being a soldier is not just walking about in a uniform. To be a soldier is to be in downright grim warfare day by day, and the warfare begins inside ourselves. Before we can do anything outside, this warfare has got to be finished inside of us. There must be a settling of the battle between the two natures in us, between the two constitutions, and that is war.

      We came to the Corinthian Letter, and we saw that by this very letter and its definite illusions here and there, the Holy Spirit looked upon these Corinthian believers as in the same position as that of Israel in the wilderness. Very definitely that is referred to in this letter, and it contains many warnings to the Corinthian believers.

      When we go back to Israel in the wilderness, we see that although they had not yet arrived at the objective warfare of the land, they were in the place and period of preparation for that. Make very careful note of this: before you can go in and touch principalities and powers and before you can have any power of authority over the external forces of evil in this universe - the principalities, powers, world-rulers of this darkness, hosts of spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies - before you can touch that, all this matter of preparation has got to be completed.

      It took God forty years to get the children of Israel anywhere in this preparation, and, then, they actually got nowhere in it. In the end, they perished because they were not constituted for what lay beyond. These people had not allowed this constituting to be accomplished in them; therefore, they perished in the wilderness. The new generation, a reconstituted generation, went over to do the work in the land, the objective work, because during that time in the wilderness one constitution was dying; it was being put aside. One kind of person was being dealt with, brought to nothingness, and ruled out while in the wilderness, and this other kind was being formed from birth and growing so that it could go over and do the work in the land.

      Now do not be disheartened because it need not be forty years. Just get rid of the geography, just get rid of the temple and time factor, and remember that this work of reconstituting is not necessarily a time matter at all. Some Christians who have been on the road for years and years are nowhere near being able to cope with the evil forces of this universe: they are out of that objective battle. The Church is very largely out of this today. Christianity is not able to touch these world-rulers of darkness effectively. It is not really standing up to the evil powers. These forces are just having their way with Christianity.

      However, you come upon some here and there, perhaps a young Christian, who because of some secret principle, some wonderful reality, has leaped ahead into the things of God, and they really do represent a positive factor against evil and evil forces. In a very short time, they have grown and have almost compassed the whole distance of the wilderness. Why is that? Because this reconstituting is not a time matter: it depends only upon certain things.

      We have laid down the thing that is the principle of all spiritual maturity and growth: we laid down the basic thing as being a heart undivided. Remember that an undivided heart is one that is wholly and utterly for God, and it has no secondary considerations. Even though a circumcised heart costs everything, this heart will cry, "I must go on with God." This heart matter governs the whole period in the wilderness as we shall see.

      Let us mark the fact that this Word concerning God's people being in a wilderness was spoken to the Corinthians who were much nearer to our time by a few thousand years than Israel was. Seeing that the Word of God is still alive and has not all been used up in the apostolic age, it comes to us. This matter comes down to our own day, our own time, into our own lives. It is a matter of whether we are going to be in "Corinthian" conditions and position or whether we are going to gravitate from that of Corinthians into Colossians and Ephesians. It is a mighty gravitation and a tremendous transition from the one to the other. However, as much as you may read and enjoy and take pleasure in Ephesians and Colossians, you cannot get into those letters until you have come out of Corinthians. You have to first go through the Book of Corinthians chronologically and experimentally before you can go any further. You cannot go on to Ephesians and Colossians until you have gone through the wilderness position and have been reconstituted.

      Now, just a short word of warning. A lot of people have taken up this idea of warfare with Satan and warfare with the powers of evil, and they have set up what they call "warfare clinics." They call this type of thing the warfare. Their phraseology and their ideas about this are that if you use certain words for Satan and throw them hard enough at him, then he is going to run away. Do not make any mistake about that; you be very careful about that because Satan will bide his time and hit back. He will make an awful mess of that kind of thing. Remember that we have no power against Satan while we are on natural ground, while we are in the wilderness, while we are in the Corinthian position. That is why the Letters to the Corinthians, especially the first one, are a shocking revelation of the need for correction of the things that are wrong.

      So here then we have the present prospect of this call and this fellowship which involves us in a twofold warfare. There may be an overlapping because this warfare has a double aspect. We have seen that this first aspect concerns the inward conflict, triumph, and ascendancy. The inward aspect was what was going on with the Corinthians in their first state of spiritual life. The second aspect of the present prospect is the outward that brings power against the power of the enemy. So we see first the inward conflict and victory and then the outward which results in power against the enemy.

      As we have seen, Israel was out of Egypt; that is, they had positionally left the world. They had taken ground with God objectively, outwardly. By the blood of the Lamb, the Passover, by the mighty work of God for them, they had come out to be God's people. They were out of the world positionally, but, as we said, the world was not out of them. Egypt was still strongly in them constitutionally. They were constantly thinking and harking back to Egypt for the onions and the garlic and so on. It was still a part of their constitution, and so God had to take them in hand to make real in them as a people corporately, collectively, what He had been doing with individuals.

      The Individual And The Prospect

      Now let us go back and start with Abel again. We have seen the pairs up to this point and how these "twos" in every case divided and parted company, chose different ways and represented the two different principles. Cain and Abel - we would like always to reverse the order to Abel and Cain. Nevertheless the principle is quite true, first the natural and then the spiritual. The earthly first, then that which is heavenly.

      Here we have the two principles, the natural and the spiritual, in these two men, and they part company. They become absolutely hostile. The earthly is against the heavenly, and the spiritual is against the natural. There is a hostility which is found in these two, and they go different ways and have two different destinies.

      Abel is the man of the Spirit, the man of heaven, and he is the man who places everything upon the work of Another for his salvation. He is the man who knows full well that his own works will never get him through with God. The whole great question of history all the way through is that of right standing with God. Abel is the man who knows quite well that in himself there is no right standing with God. He is utterly dependent upon Another, upon a Lamb, to get through to God.

      Then there is Cain, and he brings works, his own works. They were probably very beautiful. I should think that in the basket that Cain brought there was some very beautiful oranges and apples and pears and what not. It was the fruit of the land, the good fruit of the earth. The Apostle Paul could say that before his conversion he was bringing very good fruit. There was nothing wrong with the law as such. There was nothing wrong with the works of the law, and Paul was perfect so far as that was concerned; however, he brought the works of the law, his own works to God, and, like Cain, that never got him through. Cain was dependent upon his own fruit, what he could produce, what he could do, and you know where you are in the New Testament on that. You are in the Letter to the Galatians and the Letter to the Romans.

      So here we see a conflict arising. The point is that there is a battle between these two, and it is a battle in which Abel forfeits his life. He is slain, but was he? In the long verdict of history, who lives? Who survives? Who stands with God? What is the verdict in the end?! Read the little book of Jude that is near the end of the Bible. It says that "they have gone in the way of Cain." There is a stigma upon this man, a stigma upon this "earthboundness" of life. Upon Abel there is no stigma: he stands well with God in the end. "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain." Abel was justified. The Amplified Version is, "in right standing with God."

      So here is the conflict even unto death, and it is a conflict unto death between the earth man and the heavenly man, the natural and the spiritual. That conflict was what was going on in the wilderness: you can see it so clearly when you read this first letter to the Corinthians. There is a contrast and conflict there. "The natural man receiveth not." He cannot for there is no right standing in that natural man with God. "But he that is spiritual understandeth, judgeth all things...." The spiritual man has got an open heaven. Now we view the teaching of the conflict between these two natures, we view the doctrine of this objectively, and we say, "This is what is going on in us," for we know that there is no power against the evil one while there is any dispute within between the natural and the spiritual. We will presently come to this point again in another connection. So here in Cain and Abel we have seen the first dividing of these things.

      Next we come to Abraham and Lot, and we see this principle in another form. In the history of Abraham and Lot, there comes a point in their course when they divide company. They part company, and the one takes one direction, and the other another. With Lot, it is only first a gesture. The histories and the destinies of these men are not precipitated in a moment: they have a very, very simple beginning. Beware! Beware right there of Lot's gesture. Let us see how it began with Lot. Abraham told him to take a look and make his choice. All Lot did was to look around, and then he took a position in a certain village with his face toward the cities of the plain, his face toward Sodom - his face toward the world. That is all. It was only a gesture; but once that is insinuated into the life, we find the enemy behind that. That is the force of the prince of this world. The next thing is that he moves in that direction and pitches his tent toward Sodom, and he does not stop there because the enemy is behind all this, and he is pressing it further. Lot goes in through the gate, joins himself to the elders, and becomes one of their committee, their counsel, and shares their whole system of things. Now he has left his tent outside and has bought a house inside.

      See the course of this. It is a steady, slow course. I do not know how long it took. It began simply, but this course is just a gesture, then a drawing, an inclination, and a following that constitution to his end. It took an intervention from Heaven to take him out of that situation and to save his very life, but he remains in history as a man who was not very honorable. We do not think of Lot with a high esteem, do we? We leave him here: his life has shown us one course.

      Abraham chose another course. He speaks to us of another principle, and you can test your own life, your own heart, by this. Right into the very constitution of Abraham, there had been planted something, it was going to grow and grow; but down there in the very bedrock of his being, there had been planted a sense that this world is not everything, this life is not everything. There is something more, and there is no satisfaction whatsoever with things here. There is a sense of being a pilgrim and a stranger in the earth. There is no ability to settle down here because there is a magnetism inside, this magnetic needle of the Divine compass always gravitating toward a certain direction. Inside there is an instinct of the heavenly, of the Divine; and though he may stay in places for a little while, he cannot stay long. He must move on, ever on, because the principle of Divine discontent is rooted in his being.

      Discontent can be a very evil thing, but there is a Divine discontent. God can never be satisfied with anything less than His full, final, and ultimate; and the Holy Spirit is always inwardly urging toward that MORE. "I must have more. I must go on. I must move more into this realm THAT I MAY KNOW HIM. I have not yet attained. I am not already complete. This one thing I do, leaving behind those things that belong to the behind and pressing, pressing, pressing...." There is another constitution that has come in, and it has this inward urge always for the "more" that is of God.

      The true Spirit-governed people of God are those who while they are satisfied with the Lord in Himself and can never think of life without Him (in this sense, He has become their finality); nevertheless, they know He is so much bigger than they have known heretofore. The territory of Christ is so much greater. The Spirit is inwardly urging, "Go on." This is constitutional, and it is like this in Abraham who becomes known as the friend of God.

      Now we come to Isaac and Ishmael. Let us see what Isaac has to say to us again. If you had met Isaac, the well maker, water provider, life giver, out looking for old wells that the enemy had filled up, if you had met him on one of his daily walks out looking for wells that he could open again, and if you said, "Isaac, tell me something of your history," I think Isaac spiritually would have put it something like this. "My history? Well, my history began on an altar where I was in effect slain, came to death. In another instant, in a flash, a drop of the hand, my life would have been ended. But for God's intervention, I would not be here today. I am a living miracle, a living testimony to the power of His Resurrection. I am because of God, and He is the answer and the explanation. My very beginning and existence in this world has a miracle right at its roots: it was a supernatural event. I represent something that is wholly and utterly of God because Resurrection is alone the prerogative of God."

      That is Isaac, the man who knows that he owes his very existence to God. There would be no survival for him except for God. Because of the Lord, Isaac has known the miracle of new birth, that supernatural thing which accounts for him. Isaac is the man that is going to be the instrument of God, the vessel of God, in opening up wells of water for others. He is to be the man undoing the work of the enemy in robbing people of life. It was the constitution of Isaac that constituted his ministry of life giving. That tremendous battle with death had to be fought out, and death had to be conquered in his experience before he could minister life to others.

      Isaac was God's act from the very beginning. Ishmael was Abraham's attempt to do God's work, to realize God's purpose. I need say no more for you to know that you have come down to the earth. You have come to the natural man for Sarah argued, reasoned, on natural grounds entirely, and Abraham fell into this. It stands over his life as one of those mistakes that the most devoted servants of God sometimes make. So Ishmael goes down in history as a mistake, a mistake of natural recourse, while Isaac stands as the great testimony to what is wholly of God.

      The Lord Jesus is the Isaac of the ages. He was begotten from above, born of God. His birth was an intervention of the supernatural, and then He is the opener of wells of Life for all the thirsty. He is the Great Isaac, but I am afraid that in the same tent with Isaac there is an Ishmael. So often in the Church there is this other thing. Now you must interpret and see how true this is as we move on toward the climax of all this.

      We have spoken about Jacob and Esau. Now from the natural standpoint, I do not think that Esau was such a bad fellow. One can like a lot of things about Esau. As you look at his history, there are some fine things about him naturally. Have you ever noticed that there may be in a family, perhaps two brothers, and one of them is naturally a fine fellow. He is strong, honest, straight. Naturally he is greatly respected. In the same family, there is another brother who is not quite like that. He is weak. There are many things about him that you could criticize. Before the world, he is not accepted like the other one; and, yet, the other one, the fine fellow, has no interest in God and God's things. He has no interest in that at all. He just goes on and lives his life, a good, strong, straight sort of life; but in his life there is no place for God. If you talk to him about God, he does not want to hear about "that." He just wants to live his own life.

      The other one, in a natural sense, is not so fine and admirable; yet, somehow in him there is this instinct for God and the things of God. You can watch these two histories. One goes on in his natural course. He may be successful in work, in business, and stand well with the world. Then he dies, and there is nothing - nothing left for Eternity, nothing for Heaven. That is that. Now there is this other one. We may despise him naturally, but there is that out of his life which abides forever, which God has.

      It is like that so often. You can see these two types either in families or in the world generally. Esau was a fine fellow in this way. Look at the way he treated Jacob at the end! I think that Esau was magnanimous, seeing that he had been tricked out of the birthright and had suffered so much at the hand of this brother of his. Esau had lost so much and yet wanted to give Jacob a lot, to help him on his way, and forget all the past. There is something fine about Esau; and yet, what is the verdict of history concerning him? - And why? The verdict stands as it does because there was planted in Jacob this instinct for heavenly things, for the things of God. With all his faults, with all his wrongs, with all of his deceptions, and all that he was, he eventually came out to the position where God says, "I am the God of Jacob," and He said that because Jacob was God's man.

      This battle is going on in us. It is going on in you: it is going on in me. There is a little bit of Jacob in us all. There is a bit of Esau in us all. The conflict goes on, and the divide has got to be made before God will get a people.

      The Corporate Body And The Prospect

      Now we leave the individuals and come to Israel, and all these things seen in Abel and the rest, all these spiritual principles, are taken up in the nation Israel collectively. In the wilderness, this battle of the two things is going on. The great issue is "which way are you going?" Are you going your own way? Are you going to be dictated to by your own natural interest? Look at Israel in the wilderness, and see all these things. There is the pull of the natural and the pull of God. "Which way are you going, Israel?" This is the issue of Carmel, and the Prophet Elijah cries, "If God be God, serve Him. If Baal, serve him. Why limp you like a lame man between the two things? Why do you not come down with both feet on one side or the other?"

      That is the issue in the wilderness. That is the issue in Corinth. Are you going to be utter? Is God going to have all? What is in the balances of such a question?! It is whether you are going to reign, whether you are going to have power over all the power of evil and darkness, whether the devil is going to regard you as someone to be reckoned with and pay you a lot of attention for that reason or whether he is going to ignore you and leave you alone in his content. This is the issue that is being fought out in the wilderness and at Corinth, and I believe in the Church today, in Christianity today, it is just this same thing. Oh, the world is so much on the inside, crippling and paralyzing.

      Now let us come over to the issue at the end of the wilderness at Kadesh-barnea. What has happened is that the old generation has been put aside, ruled out as unfit to go and tackle the situation over on the other side of Jordan: they were without competence to meet these other forces in the universe. All that has been set aside, and a new generation has been raised up. This new generation has come to the Jordan as it was overflowing all of its banks, and they have been taken through. "All the People were clean passed over Jordan." CLEAN PASSED over - no stragglers, no compromisers - they are over!

      Then what happens? They come to Gilgal, and the whole of that generation is circumcised. This whole generation growing up from childhood during that time in the wilderness had never been circumcised. The sign, the mark of the Cross (because that is what the meaning of circumcision is) had never been put upon them. Look at Colossians 2:12, and you will see that we are "buried with Him in baptism," and the apostle calls that the circumcision of Christ. He says that baptism is the symbol of the circumcision of Christ. It is the Cross making a circle around the life and putting away one kind of life and bringing in another.

      This whole generation is now marked with the Cross which says, "That is that. That history, that dividedness of heart is finished. That is over there now, buried in the wilderness. Now it is all for God." That is the meaning of the Cross. It is the meaning of that baptism. "One has died for all; therefore, all have died... they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves but unto Him" (RV; KJV). It is all the Lord now. They are over, and the mark of the Cross is put into the bodies of everyone of that generation. That is the position. All this duplicity, doubleness, is finished with, and they are over, "clean passed over."

      Now that they are over in this new position, what happens? There are two things that follow. First there appears a Man with His sword drawn. Joshua goes to Him and says, "Art Thou for us or art Thou for our enemies?" and He does not answer him. The Lord Jesus never did give an answer straight like that. Notice how often the Lord Jesus being asked a question said something that never looked like the answer to the question: He would go around the question and come in at the back of it. Then He would "get home" what He did have to say. So here this Captain of the host of the Lord did not give the answer and say, "I am for you," or "I am for your enemies." He said, " Captain of the host of the Lord am I now come." What is He saying, and what is He doing?! It is the establishment of the absolute Lordship of the Holy Spirit on this new ground in this new position. Now it is to be "'not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,' saith the Lord of hosts." He is Captain of the Lord's host, and all the battles ahead are to be through the absolute Lordship of the Holy Spirit in the life on the ground of the Cross.

      Oh how much truth concerning the Cross, the circumcision of the Cross as we know it, is found right there. The Holy Spirit is taking full possession and full charge. That is the new position. That is the first thing. We must notice that everything now is by the energy of the Holy Spirit and no energy of the flesh, and that is so thoroughly established in the second thing, Jericho. Now they come to Jericho.

      Jericho is high and walled up to heaven. It is strong, closed, a tremendous proposition. Jericho is at the gateway of the land and symbolizes all the seven nations of the principalities and the powers in the heavenlies. These are all concentrated right at the very beginning, Jericho. Now, what are you going to do with that situation? Right there at the beginning you are really in effect meeting all the forces of evil that you ever will meet. They are all concentrated symbolically in Jericho; and the Lord in His Own way, knowing His Own principles, makes this very clear in the symbolism of everything.

      God says to the host, "Now then, walk around the city, just walk and do not talk. Do not whisper. Make no sound, just be quiet and walk around. You do it once today, and you do the same thing tomorrow. Silently hold your tongues and walk around. The only sound that is to be heard is that gentle murmur like sound of the ram's horns of the priests. Do that seven days, and then on the seventh day, do it seven times."

      Seven is the number in the Scriptures that symbolizes what is spiritually complete - the completeness of what is spiritual. This is so spiritual that the occupants of Jericho could laugh and smile and say, "What a feeble lot." "So SPIRITUAL" that is the language of the natural man, as he taunts, "He is so spiritual." The Lord in effect would say, "All right, they may despise you, but walk around seven times on the seventh day and encompass the whole range of spirituality, the spiritual forces of the spiritual nature of this warfare that you are entering into." For our warfare is spiritual, not carnal. It is a spiritual warfare.

      So on the seventh day after the seventh time around Jericho, they shouted. You know what happened, but what we need to ask is this, what does all this really mean? In the full knowledge of God, what does this mean? The children of Israel probably did not know or understand the true spiritual meaning of this act. When you read it, it is like a natural story, but there was much behind it. Do you know that when the Lord Jesus went to the Cross He compassed the whole, entire, utter range of the cosmic forces of evil! It was a "sevenfold" victory: it was the completeness of victory over every power of evil - a cosmic victory. It is not just a historic act on the earth. He was not just dealing with things down here. The Lord Jesus stripped off principalities and powers and made a show of them openly triumphing over them. Calvary was a mighty victory not only world over, but also in the cosmic realm.

      The Lord is saying at Jericho, "Put all these things under your feet in faith because of the completeness of My victory." This must be fundamental. This must be at the beginning. You must in faith appropriate this for now and for all that is to follow. You are starting from a victory, not working toward one. This is the position of faith; and unless you have got there, you had better not go on from Jericho.

      Now we can see that the great universal victory of the Lord Jesus is implicit in Jericho, and it is implicit in all spiritual warfare. Therefore, note this: if the enemy can find anything whatsoever that is his ground, that belongs to his kingdom, in a child of God, the victory is suspended. There you come to Ai, Ai and Achan.

      Achan coveted a Babylonish garment, silver, and a wedge of gold, and he hid it in his tent. Hid it from whom? Hid it from Joshua? That is what he thought. Hid it from the other people, the priest? That is what he thought. Hid it from men? That is what he thought. He did not hide it from God! God saw into that tent. He saw it beneath the covering, and He held up everything. In essence God said, "You will go nowhere from here." You see, here the enemy has got a foothold. Here there is something that belongs to his kingdom, a bit of this world that is his kingdom, and it is secretly there. It is a secret thing in the constitution, a thing that we are not prepared to bring to the Light, and, on account of this, the victory in our life is suspended. Seeing that this was a corporate thing, the whole nation of Israel was paralyzed by one man's act. We do not know how much we affect and influence the whole body of Christ by our own personal lives.

      If Satan can just get a foot in, something that is his right, that belongs to him, then he can suspend this tremendous progress of fellowship with the Lord and this victory over himself and his kingdom. This he can do. Many a life is held up because of something hidden, secret, that a person is not prepared to have out in the open; and Satan has got his foot in there behind many a life. Well, that must go, and Achan must go with it because he is the old constitution. All that belongs to him must go, and then on we go in the victory.

      All this is perhaps well-known spiritual Bible teaching, but the point is that we are called into the fellowship of His Son, the uncompromising One, the One utter for God. We are called into that fellowship in order that we progressively may learn to overcome and at last stand with those who have overcome, joining with Him in His Throne. "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My Throne..." That is the final issue of the call and the fellowship.

      Well, remember, the main issue is the divide that has got to take place between the soul and the spirit. There is this inward separation, this circumcision of the heart, that must take place in us in order to bring us into the power of His Kingdom and into power over all the power of the evil one.

      Let us pray. Lord, we hand back to Thee the Word and ourselves with it. We know that the enemy makes it difficult for such a Word to be uttered and received and understood, but we pray that the Spirit of God may enlighten us and strengthen us both to apprehend and to obey that we may not be disobedient to the heavenly vision. Go on with Thy work in us. Deep work is needed, continuous work, but may we grow in grace, may we advance in victory. In the Name of the Lord Jesus, Amen.

In keeping with T. Austin-Sparks' wishes that what was freely received should be freely given, his writings are not copyrighted. Therefore, we ask if you choose to share them with others, please respect his wishes and offer them freely - free of changes, free of charge and free of copyright.

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See Also:
   Sermon 1 - The Person of the Call and the Fellowship
   Sermon 2 - The People and the Purpose of the Call
   Sermon 3 - The Process of the Call
   Sermon 4 - The Prospect of the Call
   Sermon 5 - The Peril of the Call


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