Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Narrow Gate:

This short teaching defines what Christ is saying to me these days.  It summarizes what Paul was saying about his life, and what the apostles taught in those early days after Christ’s resurrection.  This is the secret to why the good news took off and grabbed so many across the known world, raging like a grassfire across the landscape. 

If we truly want to experience the power of Christ, the glory of His church, the fellowship of joy with the Father and the Son, then we will listen and make this our goal.  I have brought this teaching to you because it says what needs to be said as if our brother Austin-Sparks was here with us, and it says all that needs to be said for this coming year’s focus!

A. Brother
T. Austin-Sparks

“For to me to live is Christ.”
Philippians 1:21

That is the good news of the all-captivating Christ.

When Christ really captivates, everything happens and anything can happen. That is how it was with Paul and with these people. Christ had just captivated them.

They had no other thought in life than Christ. They may have had their businesses, their trades, their professions, their different walks of life and occupations in the world, but they had one all-dominating thought, concern and interest - Christ.

Christ rested, for them, upon everything. There is no other word for it. He just captivated them.

And I see, dear friends, that that - simple as it may sound - explains everything. It explains Paul... it explains these believers, it explains their mutual love. It solved all their problems, cleared up all their difficulties.

Oh, this is what we need! If only you and I were like this, if we really after all were captivated by Christ! I cannot convey that to you, but as I have looked at that truth - looked at it, read it, thought about it - I have felt something moved in me, something inexplicable.

After all, nine-tenths of all our troubles can be traced to the fact that we have other personal interests influencing us, governing us and controlling us - other aspects of life than Christ. If only it could be true that Christ had captured and captivated and mastered us, and become - yes, I will use the word - an obsession, a glorious obsession!

When it is like that, we are filled with joy. There are no regrets at having to 'give up' things. We are filled with joy, filled with victory. There is no spirit of defeatism at all. It is the joy of a great triumph. It is the triumph of Christ over the life.

Yes, it has been, and because it has been, it can be again. But this needs something more than just a kind of mental appraisement. We can so easily miss the point. We may admire the words, the ideas; we may fall to it as a beautiful presentation; but, oh, we need the captivating to wipe out our selves - our reputations, everything that is associated with us and our own glory - that the One who captivates may be the only One in view, the only One with a reputation, and we at His feet.

This is the gospel, the good news - that when Christ really captivates, the kind of thing that is in this letter happens, it really happens.

Shall we ask the Lord for that life captivation of His beloved Son?

By T. Austin-Sparks from: The Gospel According to Paul - Chapter 5


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