Beloved of God,
I am sure that, if you are alive to the present situation, you, with
us, are greatly burdened and distressed over it. This must be true
with regard to that which obtains in the world, but with many it is
equally or more so with regard to the Lord's people. The clearer the
perception of the mind of the Lord, the fuller the vision of His
purpose, the greater the spiritual sensitiveness, so much the more
acute is the suffering over the state of things now. While the world
is torn with disruption and warring factions, both in international
war and in national internal strife - political, industrial, social,
and other ways - the people of God are no less disrupted and
weakened by schism, divisions, suspicions, prejudices, personal and
party interests, jealousies, rivalries, and misunderstandings. Half
truths and untruths about one another - individually and
collectively - are everywhere destroying the hope of an adequate
fellowship unto the impact of a practical love upon the world.
The consciousness of spiritual weakness, resultant from paucity of
conversions and expansion has led many to pray for revival. So there
is, on the one hand, a great outreach for revival, and on the other,
big efforts to bring it about by large-scale movements and meetings.
But what is the position of the Word of God regarding this? Have we
anything in the Scriptures which corresponds to this state of
things? Surely there is more than enough. It was like this in the
time of Eli, when Samuel was brought in, and subsequently David came
to the throne. It was like this in the latter days of Israel and
Judah when the Prophets prophesied. And it is like this in the first
chapters of the Revelation when the Lord addresses the churches in
Asia. In any of these places is it Revival that is firstly sought
and organised for? That might be an ultimate issue, but in every
case the word to the Lord's people was firstly Repent!
Seven times that is demanded in those messages to the churches
(which number itself is significant).
While that repentance is called for in relation to various specific
things, put together they represent a position from which the whole
Church (with a few individuals as exceptions) had - and has - fallen
and departed. Those seven churches were brought into being by the
Lord through the instrumentality of His servant Paul. To that
servant He gave a specially full revelation of His eternal purpose,
and the vessel of its realisation - "the church, which is his body".
From Paul, and therefore his revelation, they turned away. "All they
in Asia be turned from me" (2 Tim. 1:15). But it was from the Lord
in His full thought that they turned. It is to them that the Head of
the Church, moving amidst the seven lampstands (churches) addresses
His challenge demanding repentance; and the repentance is for
leaving "the first works", or original position. That primal
revelation had two main aspects or emphases.
1. That the Cross of Christ meant the setting aside of man by nature
and the exclusion from the realm of God's things of all that is of the Adam creation, so that "all things are
of (out from) God".
2. The oneness of believers as an organic body, interrelated,
interdependent, by the power of a common life and the government of
a common Head in the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Number 2 depends upon and is impossible apart from number 1. Number
1 should lead spontaneously to number 2.
"Union" as brought about from the outside is not it, and
will most certainly fail. "Evangelical Union" is inadequate, for it
is only a matter of certain doctrines, the selecting of a few
The only hope for the release of the Divine life, the resultant
spiritual growth, the reproductiveness in the matter of new births,
the rebuff to the schismatic and paralysing work of the Devil, and
the recovery of a convincing testimony to the world (for the world
no longer believes in the Church) is in a recovery of the position
and truth of the great twofold revelation mentioned above.
It will be costly, revolutionary, and terrifically upheaving. All
kinds of lesser and contrary grounds and lines will have to be
reconsidered. A "Body" is a man, not an institution,
organisation, society, denomination, inter-denomination, or
"undenomination" (as something apart). It is "The One New Man", and
a man or body for effectiveness and full functioning demands an
organic co-relatedness of all parts in life. Even the Lord does not
seem to expect that all His people will do what is necessary in this
matter, but He addresses all, and then says that to those who
respond He offers the full outcome of'perfect conformity to His
mind; and the others - "He will remove their lampstand", or "spew
them out of His mouth". There is no promise of revival apart from
adjustment to the Lord's revealed mind.
Dear friends, we need to pray, but prayer must be with inquiry -
"Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" May He find us amongst
those who will "Follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth".
Yours in the quest for His fullest,