The Cross and the Name of the Lord (continued)
But He triumphed and He triumphed through death. There is God's miracle: the thing that was intended and calculated by that evil kingdom to be His destruction was its own destruction. The one who planned all that thinking that it would be his supreme triumph found it to be his supreme triumph in a way that was not meant. The undoing of that kingdom and its prince. That, dear friends, is the Cross.
Now you see the Book of Acts which brings in the Church, the Book of the Acts and all that is there and the Church stood on that ground. It took up the values, that value of the Cross. By the Holy Spirit it was caused to stand upon that tremendous victory which Christ had wrought. By the very Holy Spirit the Church at the beginning was brought into a marvelous union - fellowship with God. Oh, how strong it was, not let hell raise against the Church as it raged against Him and hurry it to death, to martyrdom. It cannot get in between them and their Lord. They have come into the good of His tremendous victory over that kingdom and its prince. The Church stood on that ground. And seeing that was the content of the Name, we can understand now the potency of the Name in and through the Church and on the Church in those days. That standing on that ground when they employed the Name, they employed the mighty victory that was gathered into that Name, what Christ had done in His Cross, and things happened.
But satan has not given up. There is still the need for the Church to stand on its rightful ground of the Cross and the Name - the Name and the Cross. And to be as vigilant as was its Lord and to be all the time girded, because the world, the world as a spirit, the world as a nature, the world as a spiritual system is all the time seeking some point at which it can insinuate itself to get between the Church and the Lord. To make it necessary for the Lord to stand back, unable to go on with His people because that other thing has got some place in some way. That is the work that is going on.
Yes, how subtle it all is. You go back with this thought over your Old Testament again and you see that not always was it by open assault that the enemy brought in the people of the world against the people of God to overpower them and to subject them to their deities. Not always along the line of open suffering and affliction. But oh, how often the Old Testament it was a very subtle, quite insinuation of something just working like that, almost secretly. People were hardly alive to what was happening. But then they woke up one day to find that the Lord was no longer with them, woke up to find they were in defeat, they had lost their Lord and lost their power and lost their position. And when the prophets, who were the seers, the men who saw, the men who knew the reason, seeing what the people did not see, the prophets came to interpret their condition and their situation. They put their finger always and ever upon some secret thing that was of that other kingdom which had got in.
This is a tremendous business dear friends, for the people of God. It is like that. Why the loss of power? Why the loss of the Lord's appearance? Why the loss of the situation such as obtained at the beginning in the days of the Book of Acts? Why are things so different? Why all the weakness and the defeat and the poverty and hunger among the Lord's People? Why? Because there is "that" with which the Lord will not, cannot ally Himself; it has got in between Him and His people. You may call it the "world" if you like. We speak about the world in the church, and worldliness of Christians. Well, well, what do you man by that? It is not always the grasping. Sadly enough among many Christians, multitudes of Christians, there are the Blatant Worldliness, and in Christian assemblies and companies what are called churches, it is Gross Worldliness. But that is not all. So many methods employed, ways of going about things, so much of the energy and heat brought in is just of that other kingdom. It is not the Holy Spirit! Where does it come from?
~. T. Austin-Sparks~
(continued with # 32)