Practical Living the Word Not Systematizing
December 21, 2015
This is the continuation of a series of Podcasts started in Episode #471.
(Martha) My husband and I are reading Sparks’ book, “The Face of Christ.” And that is an amazing thing, and we are talking about what is it when you see the face of Christ? Actually you see the revelation of Him. It’s when you go through and experience and suddenly you see who He is. You have seen Him intimately, right in His face, right in your face who He is, and that’s what it means. So he says that’s what the Jews did with the Torah. They made 600 laws that weren’t even there, and they systemized. And we’ve done the same in Christianity. We’ve done the same thing. He says that one rabbi drew up 1,500 odd laws on the one law, the Sabbath. You can understand why they, that they bind heavy burdens, grievous to be born and put upon men’s shoulders. It’s an impossible yoke. But when the Lord Jesus came and in Himself gave some interpretation of the law, some light upon the law which didn’t fall into their system, there was no room for Him. There was no room for God in His own law. And then he talks about the teaching of the apostles, “That the teaching of the apostle was not hammered out in the study or the lecture room. The teaching of the apostles was hammered out in the practical occupation with situations and conditions. They are in the work, and in the work they are coming up against situations of tremendous difficulty. They are brought face to face with the biggest, practical problems of human relationship with God, with human need. They were in the thick of things, in the fire, and right there the doctrine was hammered out. The truth was not an academic thing. It was a practical thing.” And that’s what’s going to constitute the Bride, because the virgin is prudent, wise and vs. the foolish. The foolish don’t take the Holy Spirit in the Word or the Holy Spirit in knowing Jesus, but the wise do. The wise are wise because they’re practical. The brilliant thing about John… I’ve always said it. He’s one of the most practical minded people I’ve ever known. Because he’s so practical minded that he’s in living that can solve so many problems and see right through to the core of a thing. And that’s… There aren’t many people that are truly that practical. We don’t think practicality is brilliance. We don’t think it’s… When you are practical, you’re a genius, because life requires that you be practical, and you’ve got a problem, and you go at it, and you find it like a mystery that you’ve got to come to the core of it. There’s a man that works with us here in the mountains, and he’s so dear, and he does many things, rescues me many times. And I tell him he needs to have a TV show called, “How to Fix Anything,” and he fixed Carole’s little garden cart with… It wouldn’t work, and he just fixed it with WD40. He can go to the simple problem, and then the solution is simple. He’s that practical, and I appreciate him greatly. He talks about the book of Romans, that that’s the one book that has been systemized to the nth degree, and yet it’s not at all meant that way; especially Romans 7. “I cannot do the good I want to do.” Help. And Romans 8, the practical solution is the Spirit. And that’s, to me, that is one of the most practical books there is. It’s experiential, and they like to make it that Paul was not saved when he despaired of his inability. And I want to say, “No, you haven’t lived practically by the Word of God, or you’d know that was not an unsaved man. That was a saved man that loves the law of God in his heart and wants to do it and can’t, and discovers that it’s Christ alone who can do what Christ calls us to.” So, that’s my joy. And then this is wonderful that Sparks says about Paul in Romans. “He is at a hand to hand grips with a living and terrible situation, and this is being drawn out of him, and that is why it has so much life in it. Every one of Paul’s letters were written to meet a specific situation, an actual position that something had arisen in life, and he was meeting that.” And that’s what your blogs are about, so I’m cheering you on folks. Write those blogs. “And what we need,” Sparks again, “What we need is to be flung into the situation that makes that bit of life and truth a matter of rescuing us from despair or destruction, and then the thing is more than doctrine. It’s Life.” If you get His life in your crisis, you can impart that life to others. It’s what Paul means when he says, “Comfort others with the comfort with which you have been comforted.” And that’s true of truth as well as comfort as well as anything that we live with Christ through. And we don’t solve it by reason or logic. That’s no different than the Jews and then any other religion; solve it by reason. What is the flesh? “Sense and reason without the Holy Spirit.” So, I just want to champion all of you who are sharing your life and your heart and your guts; forgive me, your vulnerability and how you are discovering Him. And people who look down on you in that, do not understand the brilliance and wisdom that you’re pouring out into the world. So, I’m asking God, “Increase the audience of getalongwithgod.com and what you’re writing,” because it’s, it is the utter wisdom of God and the knowledge of God. Well, bear with me, folks, I want to read one more thing from Sparks. “The true way is the living way, the way of life. God never gives His heavenly revelation as something upon which our brains are to take hold for purpose of dissecting and analyzing. God gives heavenly revelation to save us in an hour of desperate need. And that is why He allow us to be led into situations which make is necessary a new revelation. God is the practical way not the academic way, the living way not the way of a system.” And this one, final word from Sparks, “Everything we touch in the Word of God is a matter of grace, and you cannot stereotype the grace of God.” Taking Christianity to the tree of knowledge and being dead, making death, producing death, eating death, to assume that we can even know the meaning of resurrection or grace or indwelling is the most presumptuous pride, because it’s too big. He is too big. God is too big. He will have to be unfolded for eternity and revealed forever and ever.
(J) When you were reading this earlier this week, you told me about that, and kind of what I heard was that Paul was horrified that the letter that he intended to be experiential and practical was being systemized into a formula, and I was like, “Wow,” because, you know, we study the life out of things. We literally will study the life out of it. We think that we’ve mastered it, because we have the principles layered in an outline form, and that we can, you know, regurgitate what we’ve mentally accented to. But it has to be the practical, has to be the experiential.
(Martha) It occurred to me as you were saying that that the reason it has to be experiential is that it’s about obedience. And when you get in a situation, if your focus is obedience, if your direction is obedience, then you’ve got to find out what He wants of you in this situation. And so, it’s really… The underlying thing of wisdom is James. “My brothers, count it all joy when you enter in to trial.” Ask for wisdom. But if you’re double minded, don’t expect to get anything. Double minded means I want God, and I want me too. I want the world, and I want heaven. Double minded is most of Christianity. But if your one issue has become obedience to Him, then you will know, just automatically, that you’ve go to find out what is His mind and what is His will in this situation. If I didn’t make it clear enough, I think sometimes I’ve encountered and people have said to me, “But Martha, you already know that or didn’t you know that?,” if I go through a new experience of an old revelation. And, you see, there’s never… If you think in terms of systems, doctrines, principles, then you think there’s a place where you come that you know it. And there is no such place, because it is not a doctrine. It’s a Person. And so, there’s no end to the discovery of the Person. There’s an end to the discovery of doctrine, and that’s what, and I think it probably puzzles some people who read you, you all, that, “surely you know this.” Well, yeah, you do. Most of the time, you’ve already been around that one for 40 years. But it’s the fact that God is knowable and unfathomable. And that paradox, most people who live in the mind don’t want.