Again, this represents the great necessity for everyone who is coming into the things of God essentially. What is the essence of what is from God? That he should come into it from above. You can com to things on the horizontal - through a certain amount of college or other preparation for it - and you can enter into something here on earth which is called "the ministry." You can enter into Bible teaching on the horizontal. You may know the Bible, and you may be able to cite it; you are in all the doctrines of the Scripture. You come into it this way because you have "taken it up." You can come into the church that way. You call it "joining the church," and when you come in that way, you are not in it at all. You are in a false position entirely. The only way to come into the things which are especially of God is that you have come in in the Spirit and by the Spirit and by way of revelation.
Then "the ministry" is no longer a matter of churches and pulpits and congregations, etc. The ministry is not governed by anything outward. It is that God has given you a revelation, and you have a fire burning in your bones; you have a message from God for the hour in which you live. The heavens are ruling. You may come into the Word of God by cleverly apprehending it mentally, but the Holy Spirit has something back of the Scripture. It is not a wonderful presentation of the Bible to people. When that is over, they say, "That was a clever address"; but is there a mighty change? The dynamic impact of God upon their innermost being - what about that? What does it do with reference to their conformity to the image of God's Son?
You come into a ministry from above, not horizontally. No servant of God fulfills the full measure of the Divine purpose except as he comes into it from above. And that represents something in the nature of a terrific upheaval in one's life when he comes in that way. This is why imitation is so fruitless. The imitation of Christ is cold - there is no dynamic in it. It is very beautiful and mystical, but it does not change the very substrata of your being and conform you to the image of His Son. You cannot put things into scriptural mold and have a life. Everything that is of God has got to be wrought out by the Holy Spirit.
There is a great need today that there should be the rule of the heavens. But the Holy Spirit has got to do it, and we have got to come to recognize the fact that what we see in organized Christianity is not it. The spiritual people of God are more and more feeling separated from the old system of Christianity and churches and ecclesiastical systems. People are recognizing a deep dissatisfaction with what has held the ground so long, and there is a cry for spiritual reality. Many sermons are clever and full of mental ability, but they are starvation to the spirit. There is all the activity, but it is not spiritual life; and I believe the Lord is going to show us the nature of the thing that is in the heavens. The thing that man has brought down on to the earth and taken up and perpetuated is only at best a poor imitation of things in the heavens, but in a very large realm it is a caricature of heavenly things.
Man has taken hold of heavenly things and brought them down to earth and made them earthly things. That is where things all went wrong at the beginning. At the first, things were of the Spirit. The people gathered in their homes or anywhere. It was not the place. It was not the ministry. It was the Lord, and they were circled around Him. But then the day came when they said, "We must have public buildings"; then the architecture became a factor, and so things developed ... and they became something on the earth for men to take note of. They wanted men to be attracted, and that was the first step in one of the greatest perils that have overtaken the Church. Things were done for prestige, for recognition, for the attracting of the world ... with the result that you get the mixed multitudes in the Church. If you can attach some big names to it, you can attract the people; and one of the devil's greatest measures has been the popularizing of the Church. Lost is the preeminent thing - that the Church and Christ are a mystery to the natural man ... and that it is no use to expect the natural man to appreciate it. The Church according to the mind of God is essentially a spiritual thing. What really governs everything is God's conception of things, not ours; and if we are going on with the Lord, there is going to be a whole system of change ... and we are going more and more to view things from the heavenly standpoint. You have got to get into the heavenly system to get heavenly results.