These words were written in 1948. I once spent a weekend with dear, precious people outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma that knew and were intimately acquainted with the author of these words. Close to the time of his passing, T. Austin Sparks committed his teachings to these people and asked if they would continue to distribute them across the world without cost or ever selling them.
He also informed the small, tightly knit group that he did not expect to see any fruit from his ministry for three generations. He expressed that “Christianity” as a whole had rejected a Christ-centered message and gone another route; the way of organization rather than as a living organism. As I read the words below again recently, it only heightened the sense that I’ve had for the last couple of months. It is time now for the Church to arise and come together.
Having spent a few days last week with precious brothers and sisters from across the U.S. and experiencing such deep love, relationship and Life in the Spirit, my concept of what Church is and how it is to function has been drastically broadened. I’m just extremely thankful that by His Spirit, Father is truly beginning to further reveal the Headship of Christ in his Body and taking individuals and forming them into One!
May you be blessed as you read the words below written 65 years ago!
Keep your Peace!
by T. Austin-Sparks
In order that life may fulfil its function, reveal its power, reach its full measure, and pass on its potentialities, it must assume form. Life in itself has never been seen. Only through the form which it takes can it express itself. It must have a body. It is only through the body and corporate relations that the great laws of life and the spiritual kingdom can come to fullest expression and efficiency.
Life involves relations. Isolation spells death.
The relation into which the new-born child of God is introduced is twofold – first to its risen Lord, as Head of the Body which is the Church, and secondly to all its members, consisting of those who in every age and country have heard His voice, and come out at His call. They have not merely been ‘called out,’ they have been ‘called in.’ It is a call with a double object. First it is private, personal, specific, as between the individual and his Lord. Stripping himself clear of all relations, entanglements, and environments, he must come first of all into the consciousness of his own nakedness, face to face with God alone, bringing nothing with him of his own personality.
We are as truly born naked in the spiritual as in the natural realm. In the private presence of God relations are set up which are primary and fundamental. Spirit meets with spirit. From that personal relatedness the child of God is introduced to a new order, a great spiritual fellowship, a relatedness of all who have been “born of the Spirit.” This relatedness is as absolutely essential as is that of the organs of the physical body. For growth, function, safety, balance, and fulness, this co-ordination, interdependence and co-operation in spirit and practice is indispensable. It involves an utter repudiation of independence, separateness, and self-centredness.
This is inherent in new birth and being “in one Spirit baptized into one body,” and the sooner it is recognised the greater the saving of the precious time in spiritual maturity. We are related to an order which is higher than anything on this earth or of the natural creation. The higher the organism, the longer the process of co-ordination. It takes a very much longer time for an elephant to be formed than other animals. But the presence of life can and will consummate the order if it is not violated.
“Till we all attain unto… the stature of the fulness of Christ.”
First published in “A Witness and A Testimony” magazine, July-August 1948, Vol 26-4