The Immense Significance of Jesus Christ: Crucified, Risen, and Exalted (continued)
Ministry By the Spirit - On the Ground of the Cross
Now surely all that does give us a much larger conception of the Cross. And I am not going to be able to cover all the ground in these three things, so I will mix up the next two, the ministry and the Church mark you, issuing from the Cross, inherent in the Cross. No Church without the Cross. No ministry without the Cross. So hence, the Cross is ground upon which the Holy Spirit encamps for ministry. Therefore, you can understand why it is that there has been such an assault made upon the Cross, to get it out of the preaching, to put other complexions upon it that are not true of it.
If you in the power of the Holy Spirit live the life of the Cross, and minister Christ crucified, the Holy Spirit comes on that! He comes on that! You want to know where the Holy Spirit encamps, where He takes up His position for cooperation? - He takes it up always on the Cross, and you will never come through to a genuine, true knowledge of the fullness of the Holy Spirit unless the Cross is the foundation. The Cross is the only safety, the only safety, in the midst of many things that are false and counter things. And what I want to know about everything is what place the Cross has there, not as a teaching, a theory, a doctrine, and something in the Bible, but where is the Cross in the life there? That is the Holy Spirit's camping ground, Christ crucified, as preached in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Paul says, "Here is the wisdom of God" (the wisest thing from heaven) and "the power of God" (the most powerful thing from heaven): "Christ Crucified." I repeat, the message of the Cross is not just a doctrine, a teaching; it is the message of human life. Before we can teach the Cross, we must know it and experience it. It must have done something in us, and a drastic thing in us. The preacher, the minister, the ministry, must be a crucified minister or vessel. And it must be quite clear that it is not a doctrine of the Cross that is being given, but that the person who is giving it is a crucified person. That searches a lot, does it not?
Oh, let us be careful about our talk on the Cross. Oh, be careful how you speak about the Cross. Many people come to me and say: "I came to the teaching of the Cross so long ago. I came to the message of the Cross." Brethren, you see it has become some "thing." How much better if you could say: "The Cross, by the Holy Spirit, did something in me that made it far more than a doctrine, a theory, something to talk about." There is an old saying, an old adage, "You talk so loud that I can't hear what you say": yes, there is something in that adage, but I want to "see" what you are saying.
Here it is, ministry has got to be a ministry by the Spirit on the ground of the Cross. What will the Holy Spirit allow in ministry? What will He allow in ministry, and what will He disallow in ministry? You learn a lot about that as you go on.
(continued with # 44)