Our Cleansing the Outcome of Selfless Love
The rest of His explanation, His comment, His message founded upon what He had done, does bring us all up short for He said, "What I do Thou knowest not now, but Thou shalt understand afterward." And what did they know afterward? They came to know that the world itself was a filthy place, deep-dyed in sin's degradation, with all the muck and refuse of hell spread over it - worse than the streets of Jerusalem - and men had to be saved from that degradation, cleansed from all that filthiness; and it was going to be done, not by a haughty Matthew nor a self-important Peter, but by the Lamb of God becoming "obedient unto death, yea, the death of the Cross" (Phil. 2:8). It was going to be done by stripping, by humbling, by emptying, by the spirit of uttermost service - service of this kind, Christ's service to us. Oh, what humiliation, what emptying, lies behind our cleansing! What it has cost! That is what he calls love - not the finding of a place for ourselves in the Kingdom, being something important, giving ourselves airs. Moffatt translates that fragment in 1 Corinthians 13 - "Love ... doth not behave itself unseemly," - as "Love giveth itself no airs." We look at the Lord Jesus, and there we see love. To think for a moment of what any given thing is going to mean to our pride, to our influence, to our position, to our prestige, never comes in with love. Love, this love, never leaves room for such a thing as standing up for our rights, for saying they are not being recognized, that we are not being given our place. Oh no, there is none of that here. If the Lord Jesus had taken that position, He certainly would never have enacted this object lesson of love, and would never have gone to the Cross at all; and we should never have been cleansed and saved from this world. It is a sad picture, from one standpoint.
The Call to Fellowship with Him in Servanthood
I do not know how you feel about it. I confess to you that, as I have been thinking about this, I have wondered whether I ought to pass it on to anyone else. I know by long experience that it is possible to turn the edge of something the Lord says to one's own heart by giving it out as a message. Have you found that, those of you that minister? The Lord brings something strongly to you and you give it as a message, and it has gone from you. I take this to my heart. And as I see that my salvation and yours, in the infinite love of God, was through the spirit of lowest service, servanthood, I have to say, Is there any other kind of service? Can we hope to see anything done by any other kind of movement of the Spirit? Oh, this is more an appeal than a profound message! It all centers in this - "Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the uttermost" - such men as they were, and as we are. I do not see them objectively, I see them subjectively. I can see a Peter, a Matthew, a Judas, in my own heart. Thank God. He loves unto the uttermost, and is love unto the uttermost is of this king, that He does not stand on His rights and dignity and position and demand that I come down in an abject slavery to acknowledge His Lordship. He comes to serve you and me. He is Lord, but for the time being a serving Lord. As He is seen in the glory, mark you, He is still girded. He is Lord, but still the great heavenly Servant serving us, washing away our sin, delivering us from this present evil world. All He does is in the spirit of the servant. Oh, how the spirit of service and servanthood is despised today! Everywhere you hear it. No one wants to be a servant today. That word "servant" is hated. The spirit of service has almost gone from the earth. The spirit of Christ is a rare thing, but, when it is found, it is a heaven-blessed thing, a mighty power. Oh, do not despise the servant position! Be not ambitious for place, for recognition, for name, for reputation. Be not ambitious to have your rights recognized. God fill us with this spirit, that we are not all the time waiting for others to do something for us, but looking to see what we can do for them in Christ's name - being busy in the right sense to find out how much we can do for the Lord's people because they are the Lord' people, and for the unsaved because He died to save them, and for the unclean because He died to cleanse them. The Lord fill us with this spirit!
(continued with # 7 - "The Challenge of Love")