The Underlying Truth of the Prodigal Son (continued)
One other thing in general has to be mentioned. There is the language of the spirit, and he will have to realize increasingly that "speech in the enticing words of man's wisdom," or what man calls "excellency of speech" (1 Corinthians 2:1) will avail nothing in spiritual service. If all the religious speech and preaching and talking about the Gospel which goes on in one week was the utterance of the Holy Spirit what tremendous impact of God upon the world would be registered. But it is obviously not so and this impact is not felt. It is impossible to speak in and by the Holy Spirit without something happening which is related to Eternity. But this capacity belongs only to the "born of the Spirit" ones, whose spirit has been joined to the Lord, and even they have to learn how to cease from their own words and "speak as they are moved by the Spirit." It is a part of the education of the inner man to have his outer man slain in the matter of speech, and to be brought to the state to which Jeremiah was brought "I am but a child, I cannot speak." Not only as sinners have we to be crucified with Christ, but as preachers, or speakers, or talkers. The circumcision of Christ, which Paul says is the cutting off of the whole body of the flesh, has to be applied to our lips, and our spirit has to be so much in dominion that on all matters where God cannot be glorified we "cannot speak." A natural facility of speech is no strength in itself to spiritual ministry, it may be a positive menace. It is a stage of real spiritual development when there is a genuine fear of speaking unless it is in "words which the Holy Spirit teacheth." On the other hand a natural inability to speak need be no handicap. To be present "in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling" (1 Corinthians 1:3) may be a mood which becomes an apostolic, nay rather, a Holy Spirit ministry. The utterance of God is a very different thing in every way from that of men. How much is said in the Scriptures about "conversation," "the tongue," "words," etc., and ever with the emphasis that these are to be in charge of the spirit and not merely expressions of the soul in any of its departments.
If it is true that only the quickened spirit can receive Divine revelation, it is equally true that such revelation requires a Divine gift of utterance in order to realize its spiritual end.
Many there are who preach or teach the truth as out from a mental apprehension with the natural ability, but the vital potentialities of that truth are not being manifest either in their own lives or in the lives of those who hear. The spiritual results are hardly worth the effort and expenditure. The virtue of speech resulting in abiding fruit to the glory of God, whether that speech be preaching, teaching, conversation, prayer, is not in its lucidity, eloquence, subtlety, cleverness, wit, thoughtfulness, passion, earnestness, forcefulness, pathos, etc., but only in that it is an utterance of the Holy Spirit.
"Thy speech betrayeth thee" may be applied in many ways, for whether one lives in the flesh or in the spirit, in the natural man or in the spiritual may will always be made manifest by how we speak and the spiritual effect of the fruit of our lips.
O, for crucified lips among God's people, and O for lips among God's prophets touched with the blood-soaked fire-charged coal from that one great altar of Calvary!
Having at some length dealt with the difference, nature, and characteristics of the inner and the outer man, we must now come to some specific emphasis. The first of these is all inclusive, and relates to:
(continued with # 12 - (The Ascendency of the Spiritual Man Over the Natural Man)