Paul said, “ For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. ” Jesus made it clear that no one is good, not even Him, but only His Father in heaven. He also said that all the works He did and the words He spoke came out from His Father. The sooner we understand and believe this is also true of us, the better. This is when we give up our religious games and pray for His truth and grace to be manifest in our inward parts.
So many people have natural gifts in and of themselves, so they set out to do great things out from themselves, separate from the leading and working of God. Whether we use our natural talents for good or for evil, we are STILL in rebellion against God! We are still eating and feeding others (as Eve did to Adam) from the wrong tree, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Only the Tree of Life–the Ascended Christ–can add to the spiritual health of others. And where does that come from? I love these two quotes from T. Austin-Sparks:
“This ministry [from God] is only possible in the power and fruit of His [Christ’s] resurrection.”
“The ministry of the House of God is spontaneous, when there is union with Christ in risen life; the fruit is there at once.”
As Jesus put it, “If you abide IN me and I abide IN you, you will bring forth much fruit.” Our part is to abide IN Jesus Christ. His part is to bring forth His fruit in us.
There is another aspect of ministry that is most often overlooked, the number “two.” Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Without a minimum of two, there can be no unity among believers. We are to abide in the same unity as that of the Father and the Son, not only with them, but with one another. Jesus prayed,
“That they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (John 17:21, ESV2011)
This simple abiding together in the unity of the Father and the Son is where our witness to the world comes from, not our clever writings and speech or our one-man-band gospel shows. Jesus sent out the disciples in pairs. John and Peter were together the day of Pentecost, preached a simple sermon and thousands came to Christ. Paul and Silas were a pair as they ministered the gospel to the Gentiles and turned the Roman world upside down.
Have you ever wondered about the glory of God? Did you know that it is possible for ordinary saints of God to abide in His glory? I am talking about life changing glory where the presence of God is so strong that even your outward countenance is changed! Moses knew that glory and so did Stephen, the first martyr. Let’s look at what else Jesus prayed for us in that final hour.
That they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:21-26, ESV2011)
Moses saw the glory of God on the Mercy Seat in the tent of meeting. It so changed him that his face shone with God’s light! Stephen saw Jesus (God’s Mercy) standing at the right side of the Father and his face shone like that of an angel. He witnessed the unity of the Father and the Son and became part of that unity and glory. Saul (Paul) saw the glory of Christ on the road to Damascus and it changed him forever.
“That they may be one even as we are one…” Dear saints, I am here to tell you that I have known such unity with few believers in my lifetime, but I have experienced it, and there is nothing like it. When God puts you in His unity with another believer and you become members one of another as members of Christ’s wonderful body, glory soon starts to happen. His presence comes down and you can feel it! His presence is so powerful that just the slightest bit of His light upon something that is out of order in your life brings you to your knees and the tears of repentance start to flow. You can’t wait to make it right so that the lovely unity comes back to life in you once again. This is what the early church walked in, my beloved friends! They truly had all things in common. Not just material things, but all things in the Spirit as well. Their common-union “communion” in the Father and the Son made for days of His glory upon the earth.
Jesus prayed, “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” When you have seen Christ’s glory, you want the unity of the Father and the Son and nothing less. You cannot get enough fellowship with others you share the glory with. The love and unity of the Father and the Son that you share compels you to be where they are, and I don’t mean on Sundays only! You can’t get enough of the love and the glory as you abide together where Jesus is.
What a fellowship,
What a joy divine,
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms!
During WW1 there was a song that went, “How ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm after they’ve seen Paree’?” It’s the same thing IN Christ. Once you have experienced the unity of the Father and the Son with another saint of God, you are ruined for the mundane things of this world. Sitting in a pew for an hour a week and calling it “doing church” just will not do. No, dear saints, I am here to tell you that once God has done away with that old Adam in us and we have known the unity and love of the Father and the Last Adam, only the purifying glory of God’s presence will do. May you each find it together by His leading.