2 Cor 1:12
...our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity , not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.

2 Cor 2:17
...we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity , but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

Phil 1:10-11
...that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

Phil 1:15-16
...some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:
the one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely...

1 Peter 2:2-3
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

As It Was in the Beginning

T. Austin-Sparks

From "A Witness and a Testimony" magazines, Sept-Oct 1963 to May-June 1964

Opening comments by Whereissincerity.ca

What was it that the early disciples and the primitive Church had that is so lacking today among the "saints"? How was it with them in the beginning of the Gospel dispensation? In the beginning they had power with God and with men. They influenced multitudes to turn to Jesus to the point of persecution and death.

Though this was their beginning, we find that many of the epistles written after the book of Acts were already written to correct errors and divisions among those that had known the Lord. Why is this and why has it always been the experience of the Church? Friend... in this little book, we are encouraged to look for vital truth, living truth to help us all get back to true Christianity. May we all read with that purpose in sincerity.

Chapter 1 - "As It Was in the Beginning..." - Clarifying that the need for "Christianity" is to get back to the beginning of divine principles and inward experience rather than looking for doctrinal or outward adherence first.

Chapter 2 - "As It Was in the Beginning..." (continued) -
Further clarification given that Christianity was not a new religion, a new standard or system, but rather an unveiling of God's eternal purpose and mind being brought into fuller revelation.

Chapter 3 - The Church and the World -
In reference to the world, this present kosmos, and how the early Church responded to the continuing hostility that the fallen world showed to the true spirit of Christ at work in those that obey Him, the "Church" has got to go back and find where she has and is losing her power.

"...The "church" may have to travel a long way back to recover its power and influence, but there is no alternative and the world will prove its undoing, disillusionment, and shame..."

Chapter 4 - Churches and Workers -
Clarifying the heart of the ministry of the Church and the ministry of the workers of the Church.

"...Carry on the form if you will, but a "church", as such, is no more sacred in the eyes of the Lord than was the tabernacle in Shiloh, or the temple in Jerusalem, once the glory had departed..."

"...They ARE elders in character, SPIRITUAL qualifications and gift before they have the title of Elder. The title never makes a man an Elder. If he is not that already, no title will ever make him that! As in the churches, so in their responsible men, it is the presence and measure of Christ which determines everything..."

Chapter 5 - Christ and His Church Incognito -
The world does not know Christ, can not know Christ, and is so fundamentally different than a real Christian.

"...This is a simple and plain statement of fact; the fact that both the Son of God and the church of God could be here in this world in closest touch with its people, with all the wonder and miracle of the divine purpose, and the world be in a state of complete inability, or disability to identify them - "know them not".

"...The challenge to many hearts is as to whether they are prepared to be un-understood, un-acknowledged, un-sung and un-applauded in this world and live only for eternal values..."

Chapter 6 - The Meaning and Reality of Things -
A challenge to consider what has been lost as far as understanding the reality of real spiritual life against the common place experience of most "Christians" in our day. Our creeds, mental theologies and doctrines mean very little, except in judgement against us, if we are not living what we know.

"...One thing is very clear: the apostles and their fellow-workers sought to make the believers take their Christianity very seriously and left them in no doubt as to serious consequences following - sooner or later - if they did not do so..."

Chapter 7 - The Great Transition -
Where has the "Church" made the transition from power to poverty? Lack of really wanting Christ as a Saviour from sin? Lord of my life? Maybe a deep inwrought work of the cross from which issues a mighty personal love for the Lord Jesus. Sounds simple, but meditate on it.

"...What was Pentecost? We have lamentably failed to rightly and adequately answer that question. The cumulative and external effects have been made to obscure the deeper elements. We have interpreted Pentecost in terms of activity, signs, waves of emotion, excitability, tongues, healings, etc.


Chapter 8 - The Great Transition (continued) -
"...Undoubtedly the Spirit of God is pressing many Christians up into reality. This is true, even amidst much activity to popularize Christianity and to eliminate the hard way of the Cross. It may be necessary for some hard blows to be struck at traditional fixity, but this would only make the end of the age correspond to the beginning, both in the Spirit's method and His object. Systems will have to collapse in order that the Person shall be all in all.

When we have said this we have touched one point at which things radically differ in organized Christianity from what they were at the beginning. The organized so often takes away the opportunity of proving God and letting HIM get ALL the glory..."

Chapter 9 - The Cross -
What is meant by the cross here is that, "...On ALL matters of life, conduct, service, movement, spirit, speech, judgment, etc., it is as though the Holy Spirit is saying: "That was crucified with Christ"; "That does not live before God"; "That belongs to a source which was 'buried with Christ'." Or, on the contrary, "That has My verdict of life and peace because it is 'risen with Christ'; it has God's 'Yes'..." Do we care to understand this vital principle?

Chapter 10 - Release by Illumination -
The day of Pentecost, the martyrdom of Stephen, the vision of Peter to receive the gentiles, are examples of the intent of this final chapter. That God's people, if they are really His, would so seek to know Christ and His purposes that the Word of God would be illuminated by the Holy Spirit to deeper and deeper spiritual experience and understanding. As the divine illumination increases, the Spirit in us is able to find release and come closer to the surface of our very real and practical lives.


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