A Peculiar Vessel for A Peculiar Purpose (continued)
Now you see, it is one simple, very direct thing, but look how much did hang upon this. Oh, that three hundred, what a tremendous thing God did by them, how he committed Himself to them. What a wonderful thing, three hundred men against a multitude like locusts spread all over the whole land, and whole lot of of them thrown into confusion and defeated, and the people of God delivered. Three hundred men, but what a three hundred! What kind of men they were! And it seems to me that the proof that they were this kind was that they were prepared as three hundred to go on with the business. I mean just think what it requires for three hundred men to look at a great multitude like that and say, "we are not going home, we are going on with this business we have started and we are going through with it." That was the kind they were, you see, it proves that they were of that disposition, did it not? That just being three hundred up against tens of thousands they did not shrink but they said, "We are going on with this."
The Lord needs men and women like that, and only people of that kind and that disposition and that heart can serve Him in this great business of recovering His glory in the Church.
The Cross and the Name of the Lord
We are now returning to the point from which we began earlier when we said that all that we were going to consider would be gathered into the Cross and the Name of the Lord. We then did very briefly and lightly indicate that these two things are found together right through the Word of God. We instanced several of the occasions where they are found together. It only needs to be said again here that is so and that is open to proof if you will look at it. In the Old Testament of course, the Cross represented by the Altar, and there is a matter of the union of the Altar and the name of the Lord, the name of the Lord connected with the Altar. In the New Testament, as we expect to find it, the Altar changed for the Cross, but the Name is still kept with it.
I just return your thought to a couple of passages which indicate this very definitely and clearly. One we have already considered fairly fully; we are going to greatly abbreviate or shorten it for our purpose at this time. In the letter to the Philippians, chapter two, at the end of verse eight, we just have the words: The Cross, and then verse nine goes on, "Wherefore, the Name," all the rest that is there is gathered into that. Turn back to the Letter to the Ephesians, you have the same thing indicated, chapter one, verse twenty: "He raised Him from the dead and made Him to sit above every name that is named. He raised Him ... Above every name that is named." Of course you will take account of the context of both of those passages and you will find that it is all about what God has done through the Cross of the Lord Jesus as the basis for glorifying His own Name, or bringing His own glory into full manifestation.
With that then as our basic position, the union between the Cross and the Name - the Name of the Cross, let us go on. The Book of Acts which is a very large and full book as you know, stands entirely on the ground of the Cross. That book is just the issue of the Cross, the spontaneous issue of the Cross. It would never have been written and all that was there would never have happened but for the Cross, it rests upon the Cross. And in that Book of the Acts, the term or phrase "the Name," is mentioned no fewer than 33 times, which carries its own significance; The Name, which is preeminent and predominant throughout that whole wonderful book call the Book of the Acts rests upon the Cross. And in the New Testament as a whole everything is "in the Name," the Name of the Lord Jesus. People are exhorted "to believe into the Name." In answer to their inquiry as to what they should do, they are bidden "to be baptized in the Name." Their gathering together as the Lord's people was "gathering in the Name." All their prayer was in "the Name." They were praying in "the Name." And the work that they were doing, healing the sick and so on, was all "in the Name." It was that that caused the trouble. The rulers came upon them and forbade them to speak or teach anymore in this "Name." All that, and it is a most inspiring and helpful and instructive study just to look at that in the New Testament. All that rests upon the Cross and is inseparably connected therewith.
The Name of the Lord Jesus came before Christianity. Christianity took its character in the first place from the Name. It was the Name that gave to Christianity its nature. I fear that it may have been reversed since it seems although perhaps not deliberately and intentionally or consciously, but it does seem that Christianity has come before the Name and gets in the way of the Name, so that what we have to understand and what has to be recovered. If there is going to be anything like the power and effectiveness and fruitfulness that there was at the beginning is what the Name signifies and implies. Because it is not just a title, a designation, some phrase, some tag put on in the Name of Jesus. It becomes so commonplace to do that, so matter of practice and course to use the phrase "in the Name of Jesus," but nothing seems to happen with all that, so little results, and so little is present, even when that kind of speaking terminology is used as the commonplace thing. No, it is not just a title, it is not just a designation, just not the name of someone, although that Someone may be the Lord Jesus Himself, it is something very much more than that.
(continued with # 29)