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Based on Malachi 3:16-18 I believe the Lord will harken to us as we consider his word together.
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Then further, spontaneous ministry. I underline that word 'spontaneous' - not organized ministry but spontaneous ministry. When it is like that, you have only got to be and it happens. Do you understand that? You only have to be like that and it happens. You can no more shut that up than you can shut up the sun.
You notice that that is what the Lord was after at the beginning of His ministry. He first of all got hold of a set of men, individuals, and He put them through it. It was not all so simple as the reading of the story. You may read the Gospels covering the story of three years' companionship between those disciples and the Lord, and you may read the record of those last days on the earth, and then the Cross. Well, it is a tremendous story in itself; but we have not recorded, because it was not possible to record, all that went on inside those men. Even during those three years, I venture to say that they were again and again at the end of their tether: they did not know where they were, what this meant, what it was leading to. They were all the time trying to bring things within the compass of their own ideas, their own mentality; to interpret in the light of prophecy, and so on; to bring it down and have it according to the text-book. He was beating them all the time, He was a continuous enigma. They could not fathom this Man. He never did things according to the text-book, not even according to Moses. He is upsetting the whole thing. What is He doing? What does He mean?
And then the Cross. You cannot read the depths of their soul-anguish and perplexity in those days. You can only understand it out of your own experience of when the Lord begins to do things like that - getting you out of your depth and contradicting all your expectations, seeming to go entirely the opposite way from what you felt you had a right to expect of Him. He does not do what you expect. Sometimes you are altogether with your back to the wall because of the Lord's dealings with you. He got hold of men who went through that with a very deep experience.
Then through those men He got churches, He got companies of believers, and the business started. There is a peculiar kind of discipline and training which belongs to corporate life, when you cease to be just a separate unit, even as a Christian, and you have to live a related life, come into relationship with other believers and live this corporate life, a heavenly life on earth. The New Testament shows that that is anything but an easy thing. You may think, viewing it objectively, that it is a very lovely thing to be in an assembly; but it is not always lovely. That assembly may be going through it. There is something happening, there is a handling of God there, which is sometimes so deep and terrible that you do not know what the Lord means by it; you are all registering this. It is a deep way, a suffering way. We suffer together as an assembly; this is corporate suffering, corporate travail. So these churches were brought into being, and they went through it. They were instructed, too; but, whatever happened to them in the way of instruction and teaching, there was always the parallel and the corresponding discipline of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit had His hand upon them and was dealing with them in a drastic way. Things were happening.
You say, 'Well, instance that'. Look at all the happenings in Corinth. What was it Paul said to them? "For this cause many among you are weak and sickly, and not a few sleep [have died]" (I Cor. 11:30). There is a secret spiritual history there. The Holy Ghost has got hold of the situation. They might have looked at it in a natural way. 'Somebody is ill - send for the doctor.' But wait a minute. May there not be some spiritual factor bound up with it? May not the Holy Spirit have something to do with this? Paul says, Yes! It does not mean that everybody who is sick is a spiritual delinquent, but the principle is there. The Church is being dealt with by the Holy Ghost in relation to God's fuller purpose.
The point is quite clear, then, that God gets hold first of individuals and then of companies, and He deals with them in this way: so that, not because they have been given a message or a truth, but because of what God has done in them, they have a spontaneous ministry. It just happens, that is all; somehow or other, it happens, without our being able to explain it - except thus: that the Holy Spirit has taken account of something and He is using it; He is seeing that what He has done there is expanded, is reaching out. It just happens. Paul said about the church in Thessalonica, "From you hath sounded forth the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place..." (I Thess. 1:8). Do you think that that necessarily meant that they sent out evangelists? They may have done, but it does not say so. Look at the context. You will see that Paul is saying, 'All over the place in other churches they are talking about you; I need not speak of you - it is known'. It is spontaneous ministry out of what God does. God takes in hand to get these intrinsic values, and He is not going to waste them. 6mmb
Hi brother Paul. I am in a very busy conference from Friday through Monday. The general subject is: "Loving the Lord and Loving One Another for the Organic Building Up of the Church as the Body of Christ."
We had one entire message based on Ephesians 6:24
Ephesians 6:24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruptibility.
Love is mentioned in Ephesians 19 times and the phrase "in love" 6 times. Even so it was Ephesus that took the lead to "leave her first love." in Revelation 2.
Yes love, and the deepening of love is our primary discernment and experience in Christ IMO. If we fall short with men whom we can see, how are we faring with the invisible GOD?
If we fall short with men whom we can see, how are we faring with the invisible GOD?
Right. We fall short because we are short of God. We need to gain more of God that God may gain more of us.
Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already obtained or am already perfected, but I pursue, if even I may lay hold of that for which I also have been laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
Wish I had a nickle for every time that verse spoke to me, in short: amen brother.