A Primary Object of Present Divine Need (continued)
Now beloved, you cannot (I doubt whether you can) measure and catch the importance of that principle as to spiritual ministry, but we are all going to be made more and more aware of how vital a principle that is. I have known men who have taken up this teaching and have become authorities on the teaching of the Victory of Calvary over the powers of darkness, the kingdom of satan, over the devil and the whole matter of our authority in Christ; yes gone in for it and always talking about it, and I have known those men to be smashed, broken, and thrown completely out of the thing so that the place where their words were spoken will not have it any more. It was not born out, the devil is triumphant, and it is quite clear there that the devil has triumphed, and the men themselves are out of it in defeat, and what is being said is: "That principle does not work, look!" And look deeper, I have known that in the Churches where those men were responsible heads under God there were concerts and worldly amusements, bazaars, and such like, and the, rather than make the great sacrifice, because of human considerations, and a price to be paid, would not take a stand fully and finally in regard to those things. What happened? Those things were gangways of the devil across which he came and smashed them and their testimony and brought shame and reproach upon the Word of God.
We use living examples not for one moment to judge others. It is the enforcement of the principle. If this vessel is going to carry through to the end and stand in victory, and the testimony is going to be established, and it is going to be proved that in His Cross the Lord Jesus won a cosmic victory which He will put into a vessel as its testimony, that vessel must be so wholly and utterly cut off in every direction from that system against which Calvary stands or else that vessel will be smashed, will be broken, will be defeated. There has got to be a closure of a history, and Saul of Tarsus represents the first stage of the vessel - one history closed.
That is where you come to in Ephesians 2. When you come out of chapter one, and the eternities of the counsels of God and the foreordinations and the will of God from eternity, and you come into time, you find the state to be: "dead in trespasses and sins." That is Ephesians 2:1. And that is a history, a spiritual state, a spiritual history, and that history has got to be left behind you. He quickened you; dead, but made alive. That is the beginning of the positive side of the testimony of the vessel, but there has to be a closing of one history.
There is so much more than one ought to say in that connection, but we take the fact, the principle itself and see that it does mean that inwardly and outwardly we have to have no voluntary relationship wit that whole system which is enclosed withing the principalities and powers and world rulers of this darkness and spiritual hosts of wickedness; that we have no voluntary relationship with it at any point. We must be crucified to the world, and crucified as men to the flesh, and thus must any ground of satanic activity be taken away from him so that he has nothing which is his essential occasion for bringing about an arrest in the testimony. That is essentially the meaning of our being in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus. "They are not of the world" (John 17:15-17).
May the Lord bring this home to us and apply it in the way in which it needs to be applied to us individually and respectively, and give us grace that we will not allow any kind of association with that which gives the enemy the occasion for destroying the testimony and putting the vessel out of action. May our life continually be wholly hid with Christ in God. Amen
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