πας ο μισων τον αδελφον αυτου ανθρωποκτονος εστιν και οιδατε οτι πας ανθρωποκτονος ουκ εχει ζωην αιωνιον εν εαυτω μενουσαν εν – τουτω εγνωκαμεν την αγαπην οτι εκεινος υπερ υμων την ψυχην αυτου εθηκεν και ημεις οφειλομεν υπερ των αδελφων τας ψυχας θειναι 1 John 3:15-16
When we conclude what we are saying we always seem to want a conclusion that is childish – which is to say we want pictures of words and even then we want simple pictures. And if we will not give childish pictures, others naturally feel cheated. In fact, it is always so – even to the extent that I began this ministry with these words:
“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.”
All of our ministries must be in the love of God. If I ran a sweet shop how could I not see that the child does not really need my direction on how to like my sweets – once they have tasted them? I do not need to paint pictures in words, neither wrap them in golden coats – nor even set them out further than the glass jars that contain them. The child can see for themselves how pleasing they are. If I am a kind shopkeeper, I may share just sufficient to help the child to choose for themselves. Once eaten no child needs to be told anything. They will rush back into my shop and excitedly demand the thing they have eaten and know to be good. Such is our attitude to the blood of Christ. And despite that this is childish, it is pleasing to God, because it was for this reason that Christ died. Otherwise, we could not be saved at all. One day I then tell the child that they must now ask for meat. Am I then to be held abusively because I must speak the full council of God, even to the child that has eaten my sweets and whom I love?
Perhaps I will give the child something of my own produce which is unlike a sweet at all, yet neither is it meat. Ordinarily, every child finds a natural direction in life, and although my sweets will be a remembrance, I do not expect to see men coming into my shop and behaving like children unless they are ill. So I keep the sweets that are also medicine and store them on the higher shelves. The children, their sweets are always right on the counter. They need to see childish things – men who are ill need to know that I have remedies for their illnesses, but all others need to eat meat. How is it that we are always coming into the sweet shop for sweets when we ought to be eating meat by now? How is it that we cannot see that if we persist in childishness in the day we live in, in the end the Father will hand us over to judgement by the hand of the prophets who have warned us of our condition?
I have often wondered why the Father carried me away in the Spirit and gave me a sight of the Mount of Olives and Christ kneeling in an agony of prayer. At the time it seemed almost too much to bear. I was newly saved – I had just eaten of the sweets – and suddenly here before me was meat. God is merciful. The way that He took me from the immediate burden of that vision was to stir me to realise that were it not for the Holy Spirit it would not have been possible to see that which was witnessed by angels at the time, and not men at all. The disciples were asleep with the effect of their burden in knowing what Christ had told them. They had come from the supper table, Judas was now entered into a full and irredeemable betrayal of Christ, and Satan had entered into him. Then suddenly my entire outward vision was transformed, and I found myself looking into the face of an angel. He looked at me and pulled a silly face in agreement, that were it not for the Holy Spirit, I could not have seen what I had seen. I burst into laughter and was thus delivered from the burden. As a child in remembrance, I can easily remember the sweets. Now I must eat the meat as well. We must all of us take this same attitude because of the hour in which we labour.
“Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
If we cannot see in these words of Scripture, that it is after Christ was strengthened by angels, that Christ continued in an agony of prayer, after which His sweat was as great drops of blood falling to the ground, then we may see nothing more than what became visible to all men when He was publicly crucified. If that is all we can see – then we are yet children. If we do look into the garden we may imagine that the garden speaks of the shedding of His blood – And even though it is like His blood, it is not the visible and easily comprehended blood that He shed on the cross. Neither is it the calm man who asked the Father to forgive those that crucified Him – neither is it the man who having finished His work asked for a drink and then gave His spirit unto the Father. This is what I was given to see as a babe in Christ and now I am able to understand its meaning. If we took the same place of the Father in heaven, in our attitude, then we would labour more faithfully.
If we did that, then when the bell rang on our shops, and the children entered for our sweets, we would immediately realise that many of them are blind. We would realise that only the child who makes a pretence thinks otherwise. Yet even then we would show mercy. We would take our jars, remove their lids and speaking well of the contents we would bring them under their noses and they, smelling the sweet aroma and hearing the wonderful words, would as children eat and be content. Only then will the blind see. If we boast of the colour of our sweets, speak well of the jars, wrap our sweets in golden coats and play endless sounds to stir the child to give us their money, then we are become like thieves.
If we then boast in their salvation and cannot see that they still enter into the sweet shop – that though they can see yet they cannot labour as men who have sight, and endlessly stumble into the pain of their lives, then we may look to the hope of our reward in hope, and miss that it will be well short of what the Father intended us to receive. If we imagine that seeing as many children come to us and we have a testimony and do not and will not see their endless condition, then we are worthless, though we may have been called to great things.
“Revival is a term that many saints hold to in order to look for an answer to their own lives, as well as the lives of other saints. The emphasis is sometimes broader and includes a revival of society generally. The question we must ask ourselves is how that way of looking at recovery is either helpful or else entirely accurate if we believe that revival is a panacea for the saints and for society. When we examine the lives of the saints after restoration – also how society is changed after improvement – what will we see? We must be honest, and we must look. It is essential that when we do this, we also realise that the revivals that we can examine do not speak of the condition of today. They talk about the day in which they happened. And whilst they carry into the decades after revival, they are still out with the day we live in. So whatever we do learn by looking at a revival in the past, we must always hold to the condition of the day we live in to express our own hope.” “Revival In The Church.”
The reality we all face is that the general condition of the churches is not of our making. We may well have stumbled ourselves and thereby given others a basis to accuse us and in doing so, to harm themselves. We may also have suffered many injuries both in life and in the church. So when we first stood in the sweet shop, we may have been overwhelmed, not by innocent children so much, as overgrown babes. Of whom many are already bitter, angry and wounded. In short, they are carnal.
We may well see that we can go outside our shops and cry out to other children and then, seeing their delight when we gave them that which they could lay hold of innocently, we may also have rejoiced and thanked God for their salvation. But we will never be able to drive the other children who are still babes in Christ and overgrown babes, out of the shop and into the street. If we do, either by our attitude in turning away from them or else as others have done when they have rejected them with a cold heart, then we become necessarily accusers.
We must find a way to labour according to the real condition of the place we dwell. If we do not do that, then we are saying that God had rejected others, when He did not reject ourselves even though we cannot see clearly what harm we ourselves have done by our carnality. To that end NBLC (The Marshes) and vision 1984 speak of an opportunity wherein God will do new work, though not on a new foundation. In that work there will be a revival, there will also be a need to enter into the garden on the Mount of Olives and see that which as babes we would not wish to see. Then, when revival comes, we will be ready and equipped as workmen in all those ministries into which we have been called, and the end will be a great harvest unto God. Amen.