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T. Austin Sparks - Messages.

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      Wonderful: Pre-Dispensation Grace


 "If ye have heard of the dispensation of The Grace of God, which is given me to you-ward" [Ephesians 3:2.]

                            Christ came by Grace and then Grace came by Christ. 

What a wonderful revelation are the opening words of Matthew's Gospel with the veiled Mighty Grace of God revealed in the genealogy of, Jesus Christ.  [Matthew 1:1-6.]

                                 Grace in the Lineage of Christ: Tamar/Pharez.

Judah's son Pharez was born of Tamar who was Judah's daughter in law and she posed as a prostitute to seduce Judah to have a child of him because Judah withheld a promised son. Tamar's heart was set on having her inheritance in Israel, and when her success in becoming pregnant was discovered, Judah commanded that she be brought to justice for her sin and be burnt to death; Surprise, surprise, He who was pointing the finger of condemnation, was the most guilty! It was Tamar, who had faith in what was right, and grace was available to her, in spite of her needy desperation.

Judah confesses his wrong, revokes his earlier command of execution and acknowledges her righteous position with the words,  "she hath been more righteous than I" [Genesis 38:26.]  Here in this series of events is The Grace of God in a wonderful way. Tamar longed for what was right and exercised patience in waiting but took matters into he own hands resulting in sinful actions. Where there is faith in what is right, grace abounds, first with forgiveness, and then salvation, as sayeth the scripture, "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation"  [Romans 10:10.] The Grace of God was there bringing Tamar and Pharez (the son of consequence) into the Lineage of Christ: (which incidentally became part of the Law given to Moses  [Deuteronomy 25:5-6.] It is interesting to note that when God is outlining the measuring of Israel's inheritance in the vision given to Ezekiel, He mentions the city of Tamar as a city of reference in the borders of Israel.  [Ezekiel 47:19.]

 All God's work for and in and through man is never, and never can be any other way, but by GRACE.

                                             Grace in the Lineage of Christ: Ruth.

The other amazing Grace coupled there with this one in Matthew's Gospel is that of Ruth. This woman became by the Grace of God, the mother of King David's grandfather.

Ruth was a Moabitess who became the wife of one of Naomi's sons who was an Israelite; Naomi left Judah with her husband Elimelech to sojourn in Moab. Of all places to sojourn, they chose Moab; and of course, from there it all went wrong, with her husband and both her sons dying.  

At this sad low ebb, Naomi declared to the two daughter's in-law that there would be no good result for them to continue with her. Her advice to them both was, to return to their own people as Naomi was returning to Judah. Ruth, with a heart full of love for her mother in law and her God, responded with an absolute.  "And Ruth said, intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for wither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: The Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me." [Ruth1:16-17.]   These are the most heart stirring words you could ever hear from a woman who has lost everything, but has come to love The God of her mother in law with such a longing and desire for God's blessing in her life. Ruth is one of the greatest women of The Bible; Ruth as a Moabitess was by Law never allowed into the congregation of the Lord! [Deuteronomy 23:3. Nehemiah 13:1.]

BUT THE WONDERFUL GRACE OF GOD THROUGH FAITH, Blessed where The Law condemned and Ruth became one of the mightily blessed women of God in Israel!

 ("Oh that men would Praise the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men" Psalm 107:8.)

There is a great need to take seriously to heart and wonder at the same time, at the wonderful loving kindness of such a gracious God; and buffer our soul with denial of the slightest tendency to undertake any work for The Lord, in our own strength and presumption as Moses did. He ended up running for a big training lesson, in the "backside of the desert" for 40 years. [Exodus 3:1.]

                                              Grace in the lineage of Christ: Solomon.

In this genealogy list, there is of course the great example of the grace of God, with Solomon. This son of David, was blessed with Wisdom and Glory so great, that the Lord has declared that there has never been and never shall be after him, a king of such Power and Glory, except Jesus of course who said  "A greater than Solomon is here" [Matthew 12:42.]

According to Law both Bathsheba and David should have been stoned to death; but, Praise the Lord for His abounding grace; not only was David and Bathsheba forgiven, but the son of this marriage which was not "God's will" and was founded on "adultery" was blessed beyond measure unthinkable by the direct will and purpose of God! So great was God's zeal to illustrate his Grace, He gave Solomon "classified" Wisdom that is the "Word of God" which though heaven and earth may pass away yet these words of Solomon shall never pass away, because "The Word of The Lord endureth forever"  [1 Peter 1:25.]

At the very beginning of the New Testament we have presented in a remarkable way, in the genealogy of Christ  the preparations of the great grace of God, paving the way to be brought onto Earth's main stage  "ABUNDANCE OF GRACE AND THE GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS" THAT SINNERS MIGHT "REIGN IN LIFE BY ONE, JESUS CHRIST." [Romans 5:17.]

John the Baptist was, raised up to announce the coming of The Lord. He declared   with all authority, "...  Repent ye for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand ... Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight." [Matthew 3:2-3.] The word "Kingdom" means, Royalty and reigning Glory. Jesus is the royalty of Heaven come down to Earth. Jesus pointed out an interesting difference between him and John the Baptist, with the words that, John came neither "drinking wine nor eating bread" and they said he had a devil, and he came "eating and drinking" and they accused Jesus of being a  "gluttonous man and a wine bibber and a friend of publicans and sinners"[Luke 7:31-34.] How wonderful is the truth illustrated here, it is clear that Jesus is taking an opposite position to that of John. John stood for righteousness "against" men and demanded they change and alter their behaviour to prove it; Jesus stood "with" sinners as their friend, with "the baptism of The Holy Ghost" to work that change TOTALLY BY GRACE in them! This difference is demonstrated in the words of the apostle John;  "The Law was given by Moses BUT Grace and Truth came by Jesus Christ" [John 1:17].

What grace. What amazing grace that The Lord of Heaven should so befriend such helpless sinners as the descendents of Adam, baptizing them with The Holy Ghost, making them "whelmed" with this Lord of Heaven, the Son of God! Truly, what great GRACE HAS COME BY JESUS CHRIST!

Praise the Lord also for his grace that worked in all our "strange" circumstances; everything working together, bringing us to Christ.

Jesus Loves You. God Bless.