Lord, we are subjects of Thy pity, of Thy compassion this
morning. We do not even know what to ask of Thee... for we perhaps
do not really know our truest need. We think we know sometimes.
There are things which are very real to us as needs; but Lord,
it is true: Thou knowest all the truest need of our hearts, and
only Thou knowest. According to Thy knowledge, speak Lord, make
it personal, make it individual as well as collective that while
Eli did not hear the voice of the Lord, even in the tabernacle,
there was one who did. Pick us out for speaking this morning as
Thou didst call Samuel, "Samuel," may we be called by name, may
we know the Lord is speaking to us. Do not allow our minds and
thoughts to be diverted onto other people or we shall say that
is something for them; but do keep it directly, where afterward,
we can truly say, "The Lord has spoken to me." Now for all that
is needed, Lord, in us and for us for this, do that by the
wisdom and the power and the grace of Thy Holy Spirit, we ask it
in the Name of the Lord Jesus, amen.
By now I think you know that there is a book in the New Testament which is called the Letter to the Hebrews! Perhaps you think you know something about that, I'm going to read again. We are getting very near to the end of this time of gathering and ministry. I feel that it is very necessary for things to become very definite, concrete, and that we should at this time expect the Lord to be focusing things on very clearly defined issues, but once again let us read at the beginning of this letter, chapter one:
"God, GOD, having of old time spoken unto the fathers in the prophets by diverse portions and in diverse manners, hath at the end of these days spoken unto us in His Son, Whom He appointed Heir of all things, through Whom also He made the worlds; Who, being the effulgence of His glory, the very image of His substance, and upholding all things by the Word of His Power, when He had made purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high."
Chapter twelve (I trust that it has not lost its music) verse 18:
"Ye are NOT come unto a mount that might be touched"; verse
22, "But ye ARE come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the
living God, the heavenly Jerusalem."
When you go away from this convocation, I wonder what you are going to say about the ministry and the messages: "Brother Kaung, well, his subject was 'the overcomers'. Brother Fromke, well, I don't know if I can put it into a phrase; we know what he has been leading us to. The other man... well, his subject was 'Zion.'" Is that what you're going to say? The Lord be merciful to you... I could almost wish that we forgot that word "Zion" as such, if it represents a subject.
Look through Zion because, you see, what we have in the beginning
of this letter: "God hath spoken..." in Zion? No! Through Zion. God hath spoken
in His Son. If we have used the Old Testament name (which is
always a type and a symbol) if we have used it to help us by
gathering up all the historical associations of that name in the
Old; let us still remember, it belongs to the "not" as to a
name and as to a place and as to a thing, a mountain and so forth;
it belongs to the "not". What belongs to the "but"
is what lies behind that
name, its spiritual value, its spiritual meaning, its spiritual
essence and if we were asked, "What is that?" we have got to come
back and answer: "God has spoken in His Son". What is beyond, behind, through Zion
is His Son... He has
spoken in His Son, "Whom He appointed Heir of all things, through
Whom He made the worlds".
God has spoken! How has He at the end of those times, now spoken? The speaking of God from a certain point in history on to the end is "in His Son". Is it necessary to walk around that? Not about His Son, not the teaching, doctrine, of Christ, but the Person - in the Person! He hath spoken in a Person. Do try to get hold of that, it's in Christ, that God speaks! In Him. Now let us try to break that up for a few moments.
You see, Zion (if you are going to use the word, the name again) Zion is in representation the fulness of Christ. That is what this letter is about: fulness and finality in Christ. And Zion, as a name, represents that. The fulness of God's Son - that is Zion. And that fulness is God's speech for and in this dispensation. God's speech is the fulness that is in His Son.
Now you remember when you go back to the beginning of the Old
Testament and God has intervened in the history of this earth in
what is called "the creation," it all begins with that word: "God".
"In the beginning, God." In the beginning: God. And then
what? God spake, God said, "Let light be" and so on. God
spoke, God spoke, and out of His speaking everything came.
You come over to your New Testament and although it is not so arranged chronologically (quite, for a good heavenly reason, the Holy Spirit's wisdom) the Gospel of John really does stand at the beginning because the other three begin on this earth in history, Bethlehem; or in the case of Mark, the beginning of the ministry of Jesus. But John overleaps all time and goes right back to the dateless beginning, and he opens with this: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... and the Word became flesh." Here in this new beginning of a new creation, of a new order, the "but" era: God speaks.
We have heard something this week about "the Logos" or logos. I am not trying to add
(certainly not to improve), but I am going to say a little more
about that. The word there you know, "In the beginning was the
Logos, the Logos was with God, the Logos was God... and the
Logos became flesh, tabernacled among us." In the beginning
Logos. John has taken
that word, of course, from the Greek, which in the Greek world had
its own particular meaning.
First of all, in the Greek mind, the word "logos" meant "a thought," a thought, something in the mind: that is where it begins, "the thought" or, if you like to make it general, "thoughts". Logos is first of all: thought, or a thought. Then, keeping to the Greek, it is "the expression of the thought," the thought put into expression. It may be words, but what is in the mind is expressed, given expression. That is the content of "logos". It might go beyond that in the Greek, but in the Bible it certainly does.
It is true Logos, the Word, was Divine thought, something in the mind of God first before ever there was expression or utterance; something that was the mind of God. You say, "In the beginning, in the beginning was the mind, the thought, of God." What a large world that door opens up, doesn't it? You've got the whole of our New Testament there, the mind and thought of God behind everything else. But then, that mind and thought of God was expressed, given expression: "God said". Out of His thought, out of His mind - God said. As Paul puts it in 2 Corinthians: "God, Who commanded light to shine in darkness, hath shined into our hearts." God said, by expression. By expression. What happened? Ah, that's the point. That's "the Word".
You see (follow me closely, I am going to perhaps be exacting on you for concentration for a little while), when God expresses His mind, it is not something just in language, in verbiage, in diction. Whenever God spoke, and whenever God speaks, something happens. God's speaking, according to the Bible, is always an act. "He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast." The Word of the Lord is an act. In this letter, you come to chapter four: "The Word of God is quick, powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, joints and marrow," and so on. God's Word is an act. It is a Fiat, something happens.
God's thought put into expression resolves itself into something
that wasn't before. You can never
be the same after God has spoken, even if you were to refuse it,
resist it; that's been a crisis. So Jesus will say, "The words
that I speak unto you, they shall judge you. They shall
judge you in the last day. If you don't believe on Me, the words
that I speak, you will have to meet those in the last day" because this is something not just said, but something put into the
universe which is a crisis. The Word of God is a crisis. The Word
of God is an act.
But that does not exhaust the word "Logos" as used by John and as "the Word of God" in the Bible. There is a third aspect, a third aspect to "the Word". It is the thought, the mind or the mindedness of God. It's the expression of God by which something happens. It's the act of God, but then the third aspect of Logos is its Person. It takes up its residence in a Person, it becomes personal; in other words: it becomes Incarnate. The mind of God, the expression of God is incarnate. It is in a Person.
Any encounter with Jesus Christ is a crisis. Any encounter with Jesus Christ
is meeting God. God was in Christ. It is an encounter with
God! It's not just what Jesus says, although that, of course, is
an expression of the mind of God in words, but, you see, it is a
personal encounter that has to be; not an encounter with what is
written in the first place, not an encounter with words - though
they be Divinely inspired words - it is an encounter with a
Person. So, "The Word became flesh," incarnate.
Shall we go over it again: The incarnation of the Divine thought in a practical issue in history, in an act, in a Fiat. Ask Saul of Tarsus whether his encounter with Jesus on the Damascus Road was a Fiat. The whole dispensation answers that very loudly. It was an act of the incarnate and glorified Word of God. This is the Logos: "God hath spoken in His Son" Who is, then, the embodiment of His Mind, Who is the expression of that Mind, Who is the incarnation of that Mind. And this whole letter, so called "Letter to the Hebrews," or to Hebrews, is just an analysing of that or a summing up of that: God speaking, God speaking in... the Bible? In His Son! God speaking in His Son; and all which follows that, from chapter one at its beginning right through to the end, is just the, shall we call it: the exposition of God speaking in His Son. You must read the Letter in the light of that. God is speaking!
So when you come to chapter twelve, this section from verse twenty-two onward, what have you? You have the gathering up, the gathering up of that speaking of God in His Son and concentrating it. And if you break up the section, you will see it's a concentration of what is true about the Person of the Lord Jesus and you must look at Zion like that, it begins there, "We are come to..." will we say, "Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God..."? No! That is symbolic language. We are come to the Son of God in all His meaning! All that follows that, which I'm not going to even touch upon, I know you would like me to talk to you about the "spirits of just men made perfect"; what does that mean? And the "great company of angels in festal array" you'd like to know something about that. Perhaps, you'd like to know a little more about the church of the first-born ones whose names are enrolled in heaven. I'm not going to touch on any of that. I'm keeping here this morning: God speaking in His Son, the thought, the thought of God expressed, the thought of God Incarnate, Personified, so that "Zion" as a typical word or name, is the embodiment of all that.
God speaks - or in the Old Testament God spoke - in Zion. He spoke out of Zion. You go through the Psalms and you go through Isaiah's prophecies, especially the last chapters of those prophecies, we'll refer to them again, perhaps presently. You go through them and see how God is speaking out of Zion. It even comes to this: "The Lord... shall roar out of Zion". God speaks out of Zion, in other words: out of His Son - "hath spoken in His Son".
Now, having stated that, that's the position. And you see I'm trying at the end of this ministry to become focused, become centred, get the real heart of all this. Now, what is the heart of all this? According to the statement at the beginning, God, at the end of those times, in these times, in this time, has spoken... how? How? Sonwise - in His Son. The absence in the original of the definite article "His" Son, it doesn't make any difference, because the very next statement is: "Whom He appointed Heir of all things." So this Son is His Son. We note that and pass on.
The governing law of God's speaking is sonship. Is sonship...
that is the thing which governs God in all His speaking. Are you
And as has already been said: sonship is not a beginning thing,
it is a final thing. It is an ultimate thing. Romans eight again:
"waiting... for our adoption," the manifestation of the
sons. The end which governs all God's speaking in Christ is sonship. If you would like to
change the word, it is "adoption". It is put at the end.
Sonship - adoption; an end, an object, toward which God is moving
by the speaking in His Son.
By birth we are children, by adoption we are sons; remembering the difference in conception. Someone holding a little baby yesterday, not of the family or even of the same race, said, "You see, I have adopted her!" Oh, no, that won't do here. That won't do here. That is not the Scriptural conception of adoption. As you've been told, and ought to know by now, the Scriptural meaning of adoption is someone already in the family by birth who has grown to maturity and then the day of maturity, coming of age, the celebration, the festivity, the coming of age day, when the father takes his own child, now mature, puts the toga on him, invests him with the symbols and insignia of authority to be as the father in this world. Everyone meeting that adopted son has to reckon with the father. He is, in effect, the father. He has been adopted or, the word really in Hebrews is "placed". Placed in this position of responsibility because of maturity. Now we will have to come back to that from another standpoint as we go on.
What I am saying is that is the end to which God is working. His beginning is begetting. His beginning is birth from above, bringing in a family, but, mark you, it's not easy to marshall all this into a good order that you can get a hold of, but I think you'll figure it out as we go along. Even in the born child there is the spirit of adoption. The adoption has not come yet, but there is the spirit of adoption. That is what Paul says, in Galatians: "because we have the spirit of adoption we cry, Abba, Father."
I think once here I told you what that really means. What does "Abba" mean? Why put the two things together, is it just two words of different languages? "Abba" is one language, "Father" in another? Isn't this a matter of supererogation? Oh no! "Abba" is the quality, not the relationship, it is the quality of a child, a little child. And when a little child turns to its Father and says, "dear Father" - you have got "Abba". It is a heart relationship, Abba - dear Father. There is something very close, very intimate. It is a mark of spiritual infancy. Of course, that is the first thing we lisp, isn't it? When we're really born from above, we don't say when we go to pray: "Almighty Most Terrible and Fearful God...." Our first lisp is now, "Father". That is the beginning of the Christian life. We have the Spirit of adoption, although we have not come to the adoption yet. That's coming if the Spirit of adoption develops us for adoption. That's the whole course of the spiritual life, you see.
Well, that's all here, and I'm saying that the final object
toward which God the Holy Spirit is working is what is called
adoption, sonship. It is governing everything, it is governing
everything. It is the end which is brought to bear upon the whole
course. What is God doing? Well, Hebrews will tell you, won't it?
All the discipline, all the discipline of the child of God, of the
children of God, is governed by this one object: sonship. So you
have: "My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, for
whom the Lord loveth
(His children) He chasteneth, He disciplines. He scourges every
son to be set by Him, to be placed."
Discipline of the Christian Life
"And what child, or what potential son, is he who has no
discipline, whom the Father chasteneth not?" The writer uses a
very strong word, as you know, about such. They are not true sons,
they are illegitimate children who have come into a false
position, if they be without discipline.
There is a tremendous revolt against discipline in this world, throwing off of authority and all control, all government, all discipline; a revolt against it everywhere, especially in youth. The Word says that is how it is going to be at the end: "disobedient to parents" and so on. This doesn't all go well, does it, for God's final purpose of a family, not of infants, but of grown sons, for eternal responsibility. Now we're back with brother Kaung! Eternal responsibility... governmental position in the Kingdom in the ages to come; there is so much about that in the New Testament. That is Ephesians, that is! Discipline... for that! The dealings of God with us in this way, this way.
Oh, look again, if you want this illustrated, look again at the history of Zion. What a disciplined thing Zion was, wasn't it? God was having no nonsense with Zion. God was tolerating nothing less than His full thought in Zion. When Zion deprived Him of what He had brought Zion into being for, He then set Zion aside; showed that He had no longer interest in that as a thing. He disciplined Zion. Read again your Psalms. Read again the prophets. They are all concerned, as we shall show, with Zion. What discipline! What discipline! Through the years, and finally the seventy years of exile in captivity, what discipline of the people of Zion!
Shall we just look for a moment at Isaiah... I did say a little while ago, you look at the last chapters of Isaiah, you'll find they are all concerned with Zion, these final chapters. Let us look at, shall we, chapter sixty-one, for we are very near the end aren't we of Isaiah when we come to sixty-one. What is it? Or you can go to sixty, if you like, "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." But go to sixty-one: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me... the Lord hath anointed Me...." You know, again it is the two-fold interpretation: Zion is here pointing on to the other One Who used these very words and applied them to Himself.
Now sixty-two, (cut out the numbers sixty-one and sixty-two, chapter divisions are artificial): "For Zion's sake will I not hold My peace, for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until her..." yes, alright, "righteousness..." remember your Amplified? Until her right standing with God, until her right standing with God "go forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burneth... nations shall see thy right standing with God, and all the kings thy glory." "I will not hold my peace until that happens," this is the cry of the prophet, and you can go on in these last chapters of Isaiah, if you like, perhaps we shouldn't spend too much time with that, but there it is; and what I am going to come to in that very connection is this: that Zion, Zion, was the burden, the concern, the heartbreak, of the prophets.
Prophetic ministry always focuses upon Zion. Have you got that? It's not only the Old Testament prophets; that's pointing to something else. The work of true prophetic ministry relates to this Divine thought that is enshrined in this word "Zion" as we have it in the Letter to the Hebrews. To have this amongst the nations, this expression of the fulness of Christ in sonship in a corporate body... that is the end toward which God is working and carrying out all His work of discipline. I do want to apply this in a practical way.
You see, we (rightly so perhaps, perhaps rightly so) are
concerned with the work,
what we call the "Lord's work", concerned with evangelism, getting
souls saved. Nothing wrong with that! That is alright, don't
think I am undervaluing that. The work of preaching and teaching,
and having meetings and conferences and all that we can compass by
this word or phrase, "the work
of the Lord" we are concerned about that. Very much concerned
about it. Perhaps you ministers are very much concerned about your
ministry, that is, the
next address that you're going to give, and you're filling up your
notebooks now. You've got a congregation in view. The work of
ministry, of evangelism, or whatever else may come within that
term, "the work of the Lord". Perhaps you are very much, more than
anything else, concerned with that: "We must be in the work, we
must be given to the work."
And my brother is going to forgive me, because as I say, I am trying to focus this thing right down. We have been having something in these evenings that I consider to be the very essence of the Lord's interests. It's the same thing that I am talking about only in other language: "the overcomer," the essence of the Divine thought and intention in Zion. Brother Kaung has been laid on his back for many weeks, and we should not have got that if he hadn't been. And some of us know that the Lord sometimes sees that it is far more economical to take us out of "the work" than to keep us in it; to lay us aside from all our busyness for Him to get the essence of things. He is after the essential, the intrinsic!
Men are after
the big. Pragmatism governs so
much of Christian work. I venture you don't know what I mean by
that word, it means: if a thing is successful, then it is right.
That's shallow thinking. The devil has got a lot of success; is he
right?! Many things are apparently very successful, growing,
increasing, and everybody says, "My, that is the thing!" Is it?
That's pragmatism. If a thing is successful and popular
and everybody is flocking to it, it must be right. Alright,
Jesus of Nazareth: oh, they flocked, they followed, He told why,
told why. He said, "...because you did eat of the loaves and
fishes... because you saw the signs and wonders... and a wicked and
adulterous generation seeketh after signs," and they flock
for that. But, but short life... short-lived. Presently they are all
forsaking. They are being sifted out. He is being left alone. All
the marks of success are being withdrawn from this world's
standpoint, and at last, is this a successful movement with Him
hanging on the Cross? Is that
pragmatic? We know today, we know today! No, no, not that. Not
because people are flocking here or there, crowding, rushing; not
because a thing seems to be gaining much ground and becoming big,
not necessarily. Wait for that. Wait through the tribulation and
then you will get "a great multitude, which no man can number."
But that's not pragmatic in this earthly sense. You see what I
The discipline, the discipline of being sifted down from the husks to the kernel, from the chaff to the wheat. And "wheat corn is bruised," says the prophet Isaiah. Wheat corn is bruised, it is bruised. He is after the true, genuine bread, and the constitution of that is something that has been ground to powder, has been bruised. Does this explain something to you of your own history? It is very true, it's the Word, you see. Therefore there is this section in Hebrews about sonship, "the chastening of the Lord".
The Chastening of the Lord
chastening for every one of us may mean something different. What
would be chastening to you would not be to me, but what would be
chastening to me wouldn't be to you. You can get away with lots of
things, but the Lord knows where to find you out, and where you
can't get away. I might be able to force myself through some
things on sheer natural soul force. I don't know whether that is
true now, but I might be. Perhaps in the past it has been true,
but the Lord knows just how to chasten me, and that is chastening
for me and perhaps for no one else, that thing. Oh, don't just
bring that word "chastening" into a narrow definition; it's
the thing that "gets us" individually: finds us out, the thing
which to me is real discipline.
There's some nice, very patient, forbearing, longsuffering temperaments, you know, and they can be spoken to and treated ill and they don't ruffle a bit, they just go on. But with someone else, the Lord brings a rather awkward person into their home and my word, that person is disciplined! Do you see what I mean? Chastening, discipline, is what it means to us individually. But whatever that is, and you may say, "Well, why does the Lord do this with me? Look, He doesn't do that with all these other people, they are getting away with it, until I went into the house of the Lord, saw things from His standpoint. The Lord is dealing with me and letting off all these other people in that way, but He has got me." Now, do I revolt and say, "It isn't fair! The Lord is not fair, He doesn't do this with other people...." Oh, no, this won't do. He is focusing upon this end, this sonship matter, for adoption for eternal responsibility. Well, get hold of that, and we will go on.
Here we are with the "but". "We have come to Zion."
we have come to Zion in this sense: there is by right, if it is a
true citizenship in heaven, "this one was born there"; if
it is a true child of
God, there is something about such a true child of God that,
although they may not define it, they may not know even the
Scriptures about it, within them they have this sense of destiny;
that there's some purpose
governing our salvation, there is some meaning beyond their
present comprehension for which we have been called. There is something in us, in our very
constitution, that says, "called according to His purpose."
Sense of Destiny
This is essential to Zion. This is what the New Testament is all
about, and this is what this Letter to the Hebrews is all about.
This is true sonship.
We don't like these ideas, we don't like this language, but you see, with the Jews, the true Jews, there was this element in them of selectiveness. You don't like that language, do you? Brother Kaung got very near it last night, but he didn't use the language. Selective... something separate, something different, something other, something not general, but particular. The inwrought consciousness of being called and chosen for something, which we call destiny. And only that will keep us going through the discipline, only that will keep us going through the suffering, the adversity, the perplexity.
Have you not been, as I have more than once and more than twice, at the point where you would have despaired? Been left to yourself, you would have given up, and gone out, and taken another way, and even washed your hands of Christianity. Have you never been pressed? Well, if you haven't, alright, thank the Lord; but there is such pressure, you know! And even this man, with all his wonderful experience and knowledge of the Lord, came to a point where he said: "I was pressed out of measure... I despaired of life." "Paul? You despaired? And you were always telling people not to despair! You were writing about the God of hope, and you tell me you despaired? And you told people to be in the ascendant, on top, and you say: 'I was pressed beyond my measure.'" Yes, alright, perhaps you don't know all that, perhaps you know a little of it, but the children of Zion are kept by something. They are held by something. It is this indefinable something which we call "destiny".
There is a hold on us that won't let us go. There is a grip upon us that even when
we say we are going, we can't go. Even when we come to the depths
of despondency, we don't go out after all. We don't, that's all.
We decided to, but we don't. No, it's not something to analyse and
put into a system of teaching, doctrine, but it is some deep
reality that is holding us. We are children of destiny, "the
called according to His Purpose." Oh, I would like you, if
you want a little Bible study, to go through and underline that
word "according," according as, according to. A marvelous
word that is, with Paul. It is all according to something. Zion
was elect, chosen, separated, made distinct, because of destiny...
its great purpose: and there was that in its very constitution, in
the very blood. In the very blood a sense that, "There is
something beyond, unto which we have been called."
Now I am coming back to the prophets, you see. The prophets were supremely concerned with Zion, just because of Zion's destiny. Oh, how burdened they were about Zion, and of course, in their case, their burden and their concern for Zion was the recovery of Zion. Zion had lost out. Zion had ceased to be what it was called to be; what God intended, it had lost. Now the prophets are all concerned with the recovery of Zion and Zion's testimony. That's prophetic ministry. That could open up another hour or two, couldn't it?
Oh, prophetic ministry. "What do you mean? Foretelling? Foretelling events?" Alright, if you like to have that, you can. But the real essence of prophetic ministry is the recovery of the fulness of Jesus Christ which has been lost. It is a recovery and a reinstating of the testimony of Jesus in the Church. Well, that's our evenings, isn't it? That is true prophetic ministry, and don't bring prophetic ministry down to this and that and something else. The gift of prophecy; what is the gift of prophecy? What is the gift of prophecy? Only foretelling? It may be that, or it may never be that at all and still be the gift of prophecy. The gift, the function, the anointing of prophecy is the recovery of the full testimony of Jesus, the recovery of all that Zion means as the fulness of Christ, and any ministry that does not have that as its objective, clear and strong and definite, is not prophetic ministry. The prophets were thus burdened. Read Isaiah 43 again in the light of that; which we haven't time to do.
Well, now we come to near the end of this morning. Again then,
Zion is the embodiment of the spiritual values of Jesus
Christ. Underline that word.
Test everything, test everything by the spiritual values.
Not from the standpoint of pragmatism at all, but from the
standpoint of its spiritual (which means its eternal) value. The ministry
of any brother, my own, or anyone else's, is not going to be judged
by the number of conventions or meetings at which I speak and the
amount of Bible teaching that I give or he gives. It is never
going to be judged by that. Understand that. You may have your
diaries full of engagements, preaching engagements; you may be on
the way of a very, very busy Bible teacher.
You say in America, "teach the Bible, teach the Bible!" You may be
very busy and you may have no time for anything else; and yet,
with all the sum total, it's not going to be judged, dear friends,
by how much you have done in that way. It is going to be judged by
its eternal, spiritual value; what the essential spiritual value
is when this life is gone, when I am gone, when you are gone, when
all the teachers are gone, and we arrive in heaven and discover
what was taken up then, in our lifetime, and is there. "The
things which are seen are temporal" in the preachers and
the teachers and the conferences. "The things which are seen are
temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." And that's the standpoint
of Zion: the essential spiritual value of everything.
Are you, dear preachers, teachers, really burdened in heart that every bit of your ministry shall have a spiritual, eternal value? Not the address, not the address! A great teacher, a principal of a theological college, but a real man of God to his students, put it this way: "Do not be concerned with the winning of your sermon, but be concerned with the winning of the people." Meaning, of course, their spiritual life. No, it isn't whether my address is successful, accepted, or not. It is what is the spiritual, lasting value from eternity's and heaven's standpoint of anything. Surely our ambition ought to be that when it is all over here, when it's all over, when there are no more conferences down here, no more ministries and addresses down here, and we all gather above, our ambition is to find there people who say: "Look here, I wouldn't be here but for what the Lord did in me through your ministry." That's it, isn't it? Oh, focus upon that, for Zion is, let me repeat, the embodiment of spiritual values. Not a place, not a sect, not anything temporal. That's not Zion, now it is the concentrated and intrinsic spiritual values of Jesus Christ. That is Zion.
On what note shall I finish this morning? Well, with all that in view, of course, the right note of course, would be:-
God's Jealousy for Zion
Prophets shared the jealousy of God over Zion. The Lord said: "I
am jealous for Zion, for Jerusalem, I am returned with great
wrath and great jealousy." Where is God's heart set? Not on
any temporal expression of the old Zion. That is the "not".
But... God's jealousy, God's concern, God's wrath, relates to the true, intrinsic, spiritual
values of His Son Jesus Christ. He is focused upon that. He
will look after those spiritual values. He'll look after the
spiritual values, that ought to comfort us in the ministry,
especially. See, people may repudiate, may discredit, and may go
away and leave us. Alright, that discipline is pretty hard, but
wait awhile, perhaps in their own lifetime they will come back or
they will confess: "Look here, I got something from you which has
been my real salvation. I didn't recognise it at the time, but I
know now that what you were saying, what you were doing, was the
thing which has become my... my deliverance, my salvation, in the
time of trouble."
Well, it is like that. God will look after the spiritual values if you are concerned more with spiritual values than building up something big down here. That is where His jealousy is. Sooner or later His wrath will be shown from Zion, in that sense. The enemies will have to bow, they will have to surrender as in the eternity, "every knee shall bow, and tongue confess..." all the enemies of Christ are going to be very much humbled. God is going to roar out of Zion. Well, let us be quite sure that it is Zion in this sense: "Ye are come to that, to Zion." We leave it there for now. The Lord interpret. We pray...
We do pray, Lord, that this very hour may be used by Thee to produce those essential eternal values... not just be an hour with ministry, more or less appreciated, but that there may be something wrought, something planted, something put inside us constitutionally, that shall appear in heaven and in glory as the Divine fiat, the Word, the Word of God, which did something. So help us. Seal this time then, in that way; forgiving all mistakes and errors and faults in the human, and take charge of Thine own interests, for Thy Name's sake, amen.