The Ground of His Presence and Power (continued)
We have said the great tendency is to put "Men" up and make them a superior kind. They are great, they are wonderful, they are superior, they are above the ordinary kind of men in the work of God. And oh, oh, what is said about them, the columns about the wonderful things that this man has done and achieved and is and all the rest of it. God looks on this poor thing with pity, pity if not contempt. In man form, not angel form, not some superior order of creation, just man form. We seek our embellishments to make an impression, we add things to convey to people that we are something different than others, to gain access and acceptance and so on. But none of that in the mentality, the mindedness of the Lord Jesus. If we have not got spiritual influence, God save us from artificially trying to make it, to have it by artificial means. Oh no, none of it is men that God wants, not officials, not dignitaries, men. But men of His own making. That is enough of that. In Slave Function, the form of a bondslave, a bondslave, "I am among you," said He, "as He that serveth. He that serveth. I came not to be ministered unto." What a challenge, what a challenge to so much in you and in me. What a challenge to so much that there is in Christianity. "I came not to be ministered unto, but to minister." A bondslave, not a dictator, not an autocrat, not a master, a Servant, and so it says here, a Servant, and surely He was that. But this is the ground of the Presence and the Power, that is the point. It is always like that.
And then the Obedience, "He became obedient," Obedient. I suppose before the Incarnation He could command, angels would run swiftly at His behest. The slightest gesture or indication and they would move to serve Him, but here Obedient, the one who is having to be told, ordered, coming under, direction, "obedient unto death." That little word "unto" has a double meaning: It means "right up to death, right away to death," that is, "right to the final, the final step, the final phase, the final fragment of obedience, no more to be done, right unto death." But oh, it implies the depth, the depth to which He went, "unto death, yea, the death of the Cross." How utter was this Bondslave Function, how utter was this self-emptying. The Cross here is set as the utterness of God's will, the fullness and finality of the will of God right through to the last degree and down to the deepest depth, "Let this mind be in you." Ah, from that point that the turn is taken. "Wherefore God hath highly exalted Him and given Him the Name which is above every name." The "Wherefore," oh what a lot hangs upon that word.
Well, these things constitute as we set out to say, the ground of the Presence and the Power of God. "The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man ... Go in this thy might". The strength of weakness, the strengths of emptiness, what is the strength of all this that is no honor to man at all? The strength is "The Lord is with thee," that is all. What more do you want? What more could we have? If the Lord is with ... well, "if God be for us, who could be against?" I mean that is strength is it not, that is power, that is assurance, that is certainty. It is all right, it is all right if the Lord is with us, no matter how weak and empty we are, how little there is that we have to draw upon. It does not matter if we have no name or reputation or title or merit or anything else to display and proclaim, if the Lord is with us, that is enough.
Strangely enough, it is not enough for many, many today. They must have the plaques of publicity, advertisement, and all that sort of thing. They do not consider that it is enough to have the Lord with them; the Lord seems to them in their mentality to depend upon their newspaper advertisements and proclamations about their own wonderful person and works as it all. It is enough, it is enough if the Lord is with us. That will be all the power that is necessary.
You want to know the Lord's presence? You want to know the power of God resting upon you? Well, it is the strength of weakness, the strength of weakness. The wind, the water and the lightening all finding their way where there is weakness, where there is weakness. The Lord give us this grace, this mind which was also in Christ Jesus, for we need Him and we need His power.
(continued with # 22 - (A Peculiar Vessel for a Peculiar Purpose)