Going on Without the Camp

Crowded CampingNow Moses used to take the tent and to pitch it without the camp, afar off from the camp; and he called it, The tent of meeting. And it came to pass, that every one that sought Jehovah went out unto the tent of meeting, which was without the camp.
(Exo 33:7 ASV)

Have you ever gone out on a weekend camping trip to experience God’s undefiled creation only to end up at a camp sight that is soon crowded with other campers, their screaming kids, barking dogs, blaring boom boxes, roaring dirt bikes and ATV’s, etc., and you end up wondering what it means to “get away from it all”? Well, for may of us our first attempts at following Jesus Christ was not much different. In our pursuit of God’s created church there was soon so much noise and confusion among other Christians that we could no longer hear the voice of the One who had drawn us away from the world unto Himself.

The following is from T. Austin-Sparks and I couldn’t have said it better about what it means to go on without the camp…

Let us go out to Him, outside the camp, and bear the disgrace He bore. (Hebrews 13:13 NLT)

We can organize our movements, lay our plans, and draft our schemes. We can lay it all out according to the New Testament and it can be dead, ineffective…. You see the difference between a traditional system, whether it be Judaism or Christianity, and a living thing coming all the time in a living way out from the Christ Himself by the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit Himself doing it. Well, this is going to cost something. See what it meant for these people. At the end of this letter you come on this: “Wherefore, Christ also… suffered without the camp. Let us therefore go to Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.” The camp was Judaism, and He suffered without the camp because He repudiated Judaism and stood for the realization of all God’s thoughts as in Himself personally. He gathered up everything into His own person, “I am.” It is the Christ who is the full sum and embodiment of all God’s thoughts and ways, and that take s the place of Judaism, and He, therefore, repudiated Judaism and suffered without the camp. “Let us go to Him without the camp.”

What is the issue? If you are going to take this line you are going to repudiate organized Christianity, going to repudiate Christendom as a traditional system, going to repudiate that order of things which is made, and going, therefore, to suffer reproach and be outside of the camp suffering His reproach. In other words, we are immediately going to come up against that force of antagonism to stop what has come in through the death and resurrection and exaltation of the Lord Jesus, the heavenly thing. Is it not sad that these people met it through God’s historic people, the people who claimed to have the oracles, to be the elect, to be the favored of the Lord? It is always like that. “A man’s foes shall be those of his own household.” Do not narrow that down to the limits of a family where one is a Christian and all the rest are not. That is not the point at all. It is his own household, the Christian household. You will meet the antagonism to what has come in from heaven as a heavenly thing; you will meet the antagonism amongst those who are the traditional people of God in this dispensation. That is how it will be. That is going to be the cost of a walk in Life with the Lord and not with man, knowing the Lord for yourself.

By T. Austin-Sparks from: The Kingdom That Cannot be Shaken – Chapter 2 

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17 comments on “Going on Without the Camp

  1. oikoskrk says:

    I found Him and He found me totally outside of the camp of religion. And you know what? Life is totally fine with Jesus outside of any camp. And fellowship with others outside the camp is very fine indeed. Thanks for sharing Michael!

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    • Kirk, thanks for your input. I thing the real test of our faith is just this, “Is Jesus enough?” Or do we need a myriad of religious props to make us feel secure and loved? Real maturity in Christ is coming to that place where we find Him as our sufficiency in all things.

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      • Nancy says:

        Well, it’s nice to hear stuff like this. Thank you . . .

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      • Good question, Susanne. There was a time of many years that I spent “stewing in my juices” over a destructive church split I was wounded in by its leaders. During that time I ate, roast pastor, boiled pastor, stewed pastor, parboiled prophet, barbequed apostle, etc… mixed with bitter herbs. I had a wounded and hardened heart and finally God showed me that the REAL sin was not theirs, but mine in the way I reacted to what they did. He finally opened my eyes to see that if I had not been an idolater of men’s persons, they would never had any power to wound me. It was all part of the process of seeking Jesus alone as my sufficiency in all things. He is our Apostle of our faith, His Spirit is our Teacher, He is all these things in us and IN Him all things are ours, but bitterness and hardness of heart is the cork in the bottle that won’t let His fulness come in.

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  2. Ken Burgess says:

    Michael, I had just read this same message from Brother Sparks and was preparing to forward it to you when your email came. I find so many nuggets in this it is difficult to mine all of them in one reading. One of them being, ” We can organize our movements, lay our plans, and draft our schemes.” This one sentence just jumped off the page. It immediately brought to mind a couple of scriptures. Jeremiah 11:19 is speaking prophetically the words of Jesus. “But I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter. I did not know it was against me they devised schemes, saying, “Let us destroy the tree with its fruit, let us cut him off from the land of the living that his name be remembered no more.” And Paul’s admonition in Eph. 6:11 for us to, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” Anything apart from, God’s thoughts and ways is a scheme of the enemy. Flesh is corrupt and whatever originates from flesh/self is corrupt and therefore, “anti-Christ.” Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3:6, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

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    • Ken, you pointing out the Sparks quote, “We can organize our movements, lay our plans, and draft our schemes.” This reminds me of a passage from Isaiah, “Who is among you that fears the LORD, that obeys the voice of his servant, that walks in darkness, and has no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and rely upon his God. Behold, all you that kindle a fire, that encircle yourselves with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that you have kindled. This shall you have of my hand; you shall lie down in sorrow.” (Isa 50:10-11 KJ2000). How many trust in the Lord during those tough times when He is not shedding on us His light? I think a majority of Christendom would rather run out and either build a fire or find someone who IS building his own fires and camp around an artificial light that is not the Lord’s. I know He had to break me of this very thing.
      Thanks, Ken

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  3. bill says:

    this is one of those words that’s gotta become flesh IN us, the chosen of God. He’s after something far beyond words…………..may He have His way!!!

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  4. Mike Messer says:

    The very best fellowship I have had, has been outside the camp of organized religion. Jesus said, “The Spirit is like the wind, you don’t know where it comes from, and you don’t know where it is going.” Try fitting that into a form of traditional, organized religion. Most of what we see today of “church” is like a chicken with it’s head cut off. Running like crazy, but going nowhere…ineffectual. Great post Michael!!

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    • Mike, like my friend and brother in Christ, Bud Heringer, in Montana pointed out, the opposite of the wind of the Spirit is bricks. Institutions build with wood and bricks and David was rebuked for trying to build God a house of such things (see 2 Sam. 7:5-7). Even Solomon upon the completion of the temple said that the God of the universe could not live in such a man made place, but that it was only good for slaughtering animals and making sacrifices.
      Stephen nailed it when he said, “Yet the most High dwells not in temples made with hands; as says the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will you build me? says the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? Has not my hand made all these things? You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do you.” (Act 7:48-51 KJ2000). It is easy to see from Stephen’s anointed words that man made temples are for the stiff-necked and those with uncircumcised hearts who ALWAYS resist the Holy Spirit! No wonder we who moved with the Spirit were a target of persecution in these places!
      Thanks for your input, my brother.

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      • Mark W says:

        I remember driving by an old church building in my small town and it had an enormous limestone foundation and I said to my wife that’s them saying “we’re not going anywhere” to God. In the Exodus, the Father dwelt in a tent ready to be picked up and moved when the flame or cloud did. John 3:8 was the first verse the Father gave me about the Spirt and the wind.

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  5. g says:

    still amazes me how separate th 2 camps are…i remmy in th OT how th Lord led em by a glory cloud by day and by a fire by night…and how itshone on th enemy camp as darkness but was light to th children of israel; it was th same cloud and fire but to those apart from th Lord, it was darkness…its th same now…fa us, He is light and life and all we need, and to them who are still in darkness, they are far from Him…religion means to bind fast…and they are bound to their leaders andrituals and traditions, none of which th Lord accepts..

    they are not yet all outwho are His , but all who are His will be brought out like we were, by His mighty arm…He wont lose one…

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  6. Mia says:

    Hi Michael
    Oh yes, this is surely the way for each one of us who seeks to worship our Pappa in spirit and truth. But I have learned to let the reproaches of others still in the organized Christian camp go into the one ear straight out of the other! I just don’t allow those words to take inroads in my mind or heart. We never know how or when or even if our Lord is going to lead them out too. So
    I pray for them asking Pappa to open their eyes, because the evil one is the father of all religion and he has so many different brand of religious chains to bind up our Pappa’s loved ones. That is only possible through much grace of which there is always an endless supply. But there where we find grace, we will never ever find law or worldly religious ways. These two are not bedfellows!
    Blessings XX
    Mia

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  7. Susanne Schuberth (Germany) says:

    ““A man’s foes shall be those of his own household.” Do not narrow that down to the limits of a family where one is a Christian and all the rest are not. That is not the point at all. It is his own household, the Christian household.” (T. Austin-Sparks)

    So true, Michael.

    And it is not important that I am the only Christian in my family. Although no one has been saved yet, they are all on their way to the Way, that is, to Jesus Christ. Again and again, I “see” Him working in their hearts.

    “Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.” (Mk 10:29-30 – ESV)

    They will all be saved because God is faithful toward those who fear and love Him. It is because of His Holy Name that all the others will be saved, even if only one believer in a large family keeps His commandments.

    “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, and repays to their face those who hate him, by destroying them. He will not be slack with one who hates him. He will repay him to his face. You shall therefore be careful to do the commandment and the statutes and the rules that I command you today.” (Dt 7:9-11)

    Do we hear His voice today (as long as it is called “today,” – Heb 3:13)? Or do we harden our hearts due to the deceitfulness of sin?

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  8. Susanne Schuberth (Germany) says:

    Thank you for sharing your own experiences, Michael. 😉

    “There was a time of many years that I spent “stewing in my juices” over a destructive church split I was wounded in by its leaders.”

    Amen to that. That was my very experience too.

    “I had a wounded and hardened heart and finally God showed me that the REAL sin was not theirs, but mine in the way I reacted to what they did. He finally opened my eyes to see that if I had not been an idolater of men’s persons, they would never had any power to wound me.”

    Amen again. I was such an idolater as well, a follower of men instead of a follower of Christ. It had been a great part of taking up my cross and dying to self until I was able to understand those who hurt me and to forgive them completely. And just recently, as I was writing a particular comment on another blog, God opened the ears of my heart, so that I could “hear” that one of those who hurt me was so sorry for ever having wronged me. It was an astonishing spiritual experience, since though I forgave him before, then I could “feel” a sort of “reconciliation in His Spirit”.

    Life in the Spirit is so surprising and full of adventures, isn’t it? 🙂

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  9. fwhitlinger says:

    it was so difficult in the beginning as i thought there just had to be something wrong with me. it took me a long time to KNOW that i was okay with just HIM to guide. i would not exchange it for anything now. i am so glad that i took the steps and trusted in Him and His Word alone.

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    • Michael says:

      Yes,it was the same for me. After all these years of searching for answers it was right under my nose, “The LORD IS MY SHEPHERD…” The next blog article I will be posting in a few hours, dear sibling in Christ, will be about this very thing. I hope you comment on it… “Pilgrims in a Strange Land called Christendom.”

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  10. Chi Altken says:

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    Liked by 2 people

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