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T. Austin Sparks - Messages.



                                         *** How to Begin with Christ ***

Answers for page "How to begin with Christ" you would have found there in the discussion.


                                            *** Going on with Christ - Basics. ***

Q. What are four important things to continue in as a Christian?

Answer: From Acts 2:42.

  1. "The Apostles Doctrine"  The Apostles Doctrine simply means The Word of God - be steadfast in the Word and you wont regret it! Job said "I esteem The Words of His mouth more than my necessary food." [Job 23:12.]  You can't get anything Tastier! 
  2. "Breaking of Bread."  This is speaking of "The Table of The Lord" in the local gathering, and commonly known as "Communion" or as Jesus said, "Remembrance"  "And He took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it , and gave unto them saying, this is my body which is given for you: This do in Remembrance of me" [Luke 22:19.] This mention in Acts 2:42 also is inclusive of the "Cup" which signifies Christ's Blood shed for the "remission of sins" [Romans 3:25.]This table of remembrance, and it must be stressed that it is "a remembrance" and not some magical conversion of the bread into the flesh of Christ or the grape juice (or wine) into the blood of Christ - such concepts are a gross misalignment of The Word of God.
  3. "Fellowship" They continued stedfastly in fellowship, and how valuable is this fellowship with other believers who Love The Lord. There is much encouragement in spiritual growth as we edify each other and and share The Word together, humbly learning from each other.
  4. "Prayers" is the last thing mentioned. We wont go into the many aspects and important and rich blessings through prayer here because there is more below. Prayer brings Heaven into the earthly scene, There is so much encouragement in The Word about seeking the Lord and "waiting" upon Him and such is this word in Jeremiah  "Call unto me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not" [Jeremiah 33:3.]Prayer is so vital in the need to experience "breakthrough" and blessing and the encouragement here is to continue "stedfastly." There is a very important collective aspect about "Prayers" that they "continued steadfastly in" and that is that The "House of God" is a place for worship as Peter says that we as believers are a "Holy Priesthood" built up in a "spiritual House to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." [1Peter 2:5.] and those "sacrifices" are "the sacrifice of Praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name" [Hebrews 13:15.] This Ministry to The Lord by a collective group Praising The Lord in a church gathering is (as said here in Acts 2:42.) a very beautiful and desireable blessing to "continue stedfastly" in.

Question. What are the armour Parts for the Christian in this fight of Faith. Each point would take considerable time to cover all that could be said about these beautiful truths and a lot of meaning can be gathered by the points given in the verses, but just here to mention just a few encouragements to be armed for the fight.

Remember that at the beginning of the passage in Ephesians 6, Paul mentions that we wrestle not against "flesh and blood" but against "principalities and powers, against spiritual wickedness in High places" [Ephesians 6:12.] - therefore there is a need to stop looking at people, and just keep looking to Jesus.

In another place Paul said  "we do not war after the flesh (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ." [2 Corinthians 10:4-5.] For a bit more on the armour go to article "The Battle is The Lord's". Here are then the pieces of armour and keep in mind that this armour is "spiritual" in other words not of our own manufacture but what we receive in the Spirit and "put on" by faith.

  1.  "Loins girt about with truth" [Ephesians 6:14.] There can never be spiritual progress, restoration or victory if we do not allow "Truth in the inward Parts" and keep an honest heart before the Lord and it doesn't really matter how noble we may think we are, We need to be real with The Lord at all times. If the soldier doesn't gather up his garments with the belt around his loins then he is vulnerable to being tangled in his own clothing and suffer sad defeat.
  2.      "Breastplate of Righteousness" The Christian is one that has found out that he is "Wrong" and needs to be made "Right" and has come to Jesus to have something "Right" in him and thus to be acceptable in the sight of Heaven. This fact is most important so that when there would be brought to bare from the enemy accusation of wrong (even if it is true ), fault or blame,  there can be peace, that I am forgiven and made wonderfully "Right" with God and have the "Righteousness of Christ because I have Him. If you have Christ, then you have "The Breastplate of Righteousness" and only need to rest in the protection that Christ is Your Righteousness and with confidence face every accusation of the enemy.
  3.  "Feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace" A Christian is one that should be experiencing a great abiding Peace  "Great peace have they which love thy Law and nothing shall offend them" [Psalm 119:165.] What should possess us Heart and mind is the great Heavenly announcement at Christ's Birth - "Peace on Earth and good will toward men". [Luke 2:14.] Wherever we are walking, it should be "peace" that is motivating our steps. Jesus said   "My Peace I leave with you, my Peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled..." [John 14:27.] This Glorious Gospel of Christ works in the believer a wonderful Peace that is wrought by The Spirit of God. Praise the Lord we can announce Loud and Clear to the whole World "Christ Came to give (as Brother Bakht Singh would say) Heavenly, multiplying Peace!
  4.  "Above all, Taking the Shield of Faith." Faith brings to us the all important working of grace. "By grace are ye saved through Faith" [Ephesians 2:8.] There are darts that the enemy uses against us that are termed in this passage as "Fiery" and the meaning is that he (the enemy) shoots at us "dart" ammunition that is intended to set 'on fire", burn us down completley and reduce everything (that we have received and been blessed with in The Lord) to ashes. Watch out! "Above all", let me say again, This verse says.. "Above All taking The Shield of faith" and some of the "darts" from the enemy could be saying things like... * You are a failure! * How could you expect The Lord to keep forgiving your sin and foolishness. * Don't ask The Lord to help you with this problem, He can't be bothered with you anymore, and so the "Fiery darts" can keep coming,  But up comes the Shield of Faith to "quench all the fiery darts" and of course this "Faith" is in The Word of God, which is "The Sword of The Spirit" and that is in the other hand to step forward in offensive action in the Name of The Lord! **Above all Taking  The Shield of Faith.**
  5.  "And take the Helmet of Salvation." The helmet is obviousley to protect the head. The Christian  needs to constantly be saved from the wrong "think tank" of the world and  be renewed in the spirit of his mind as we read in Romans 12:2 and we are told there that by this renewl we are "Transformed." How great is our advance in The "Fight of faith" as we are mindful not of the "earthly" but of Heavenly things and so the Helmet of Salvation is this mind of Christ and 'mind set" to comprehend more and more what are The Lord's thoughts concerning all things. How a person thinks is what he is transformed into, as the Word says..  "As a man thinketh in his heart so is he." [Proverbs 23:7.] David said "How Precious are Thy thoughts unto me O God! how great is the sum of them!" [Psalm 139:17.]How much we need our head to be saved from thinking vanity and nonsence! How eager we should be to put on the "Helmet of Salvation" because thinking according to the Word of God can save us from many wrong directions and sorrows.
  6.  "The Sword of The Spirit, which is The Word of God." Concerning the Bible, it has been said "This  book will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from this book" The sword is to gain ground in the "fight of Faith" and there can be no advancement in spiritual growth without The Word of God as Peter said.. "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word that you might grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that The Lord is Gracious." [1Peter 2:2-3.] As you go on with Christ there will be encountered many battles that can be wonderfully fought and won by offensive action with The Sword of The Spirit, which is The Word of God. Jesus used The Word against the Devil in His wilderness temptation and constantly replied to the Devil's deceptions..."It  is Written"; and herein lies the answer of "sword handling" for us. It is extremly important that it is not our handling of The Word of God in our own strength because it is called "The Sword of The Spirit" and so in the battle we are "Looking unto Jesus" [Hebrews 12:2.] and being inspired by The Word as David said..."Quicken me according to Thy Word." We simply take by faith the promise of The Word  and find more and more The Lord brings us through onto Victory ground.The Lord said to Solomon that He would "Perform His Word;" [1Kings 6:12.] So we take "The Sword" and trust in The Lord for His Power to weild it.
  7.  "Praying always with all Prayer" Paul wrote to the church at Philippi requesting prayer.. "For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer and the supply of The Spirit of Jesus Christ." [Philippians 1:19.] As with Paul so it is with us, that there are many dangers ahead and we can experience The Salvation of the Lord from many situations through praying and also the prayers of others as indicated by Pauls request. Job took a Prayerful approach and eventually received great blessing... "I would seek unto God and unto God would I commit my cause which doeth great things and unsearchable, marvellous things without number." [Job 5:8-9.] Paul said.. "Pray without Ceasing." Seeing these encouragements in the matter of prayer are in The Word of God, and the Word is "the Sword of The Spirit" then prayer in The Spirit is essential in "The Fight of Faith" as we seek to stand in "The evil day."

A lot of points mentioned here in answer to the questions of "Going on with Christ - basics" may be a fair bit to handle if you are only a little way along the road with The Lord; But thats ok, just be encouraged in what is clear and the other may be a good refrence further along the spiritual journey.

Jesus Loves You.

 The Lord bless you richly in all His Goodness for you.