THE WORLD SITUATION
WHAT THE CHURCH CAN DO
THE ANSWER TO THE WORLD'S NEED BY THE REV.T.M.BAMBER
We are asking ourselves what is really a tremendous question. What can the Church do in the face of the present world situation? Mr. Mills has spoken of that which we need to remember, and which is so easily forgotten that the world situation for
Every Generation Has Been the Worst.
He has reminded us too of the fact that the essential elements of human nature are the same today, and that the answer of divine grace is also precisely the same today as ever. That being the truth, and impossible to disprove, it means that if we ask what can the Church do in the present World situation, we shall have to find the answer in God Himself.
A few years ago God graciously made clear to me, what I suppose I ought to have known long before, that the Lord Jesus Christ is God's answer to the whole world situation. In the early days of my Christian life I understood that the Lord Jesus Christ was the answer to the world's sin, the answer to the chaos that might be in the heart of any individual sinner. But it took me some time to realise that Jesus Christ is the answer to the total need of the world. Now when you get to that starting-point the reply to the question as to "what the Church can do in the present world situation" becomes perfectly clear and plain. The answer being in Jesus Christ Himself means, in the first place, that it is an answer, which is personal.
God Answered the World's Need
He answered it in a Person. That being so, the question really is WHAT CAN YOU DO? Dare you take hold of that simple fact first? If God has an answer in any generation to a world situation, it is an answer that comes through an individual as such. It may seem impossible to contemplate the possibility that the answer to the present world situation is personal (in which you are included), but you have missed the whole point of the divine revelation from the beginning unless you can say to Him, "O God, I do recognise that Thy answer to the world situation is in a person." If you can say that then the way is plain and clear. God's answer to the world situation in every generation will be a man or woman; certainly, without a shadow of doubt, it will be personal.
But what sort of a person? It is a fundamental principle, which is perfectly clear in our Lord Himself, that God works through His own nature. Why is it that the Man Christ Jesus is the Son of God? Because human nature is at once incapable and so corruptible that it cannot take the divine commission.
The fact of the Incarnation is if you believe it, as you must, not simply an argument about the Virgin Birth, true as that is. The principle of the Incarnation means this that God does not work through human fallen nature. He works through His own Divine nature. Therefore, whilst He may providentially overrule the nature that is fallen in sin lest it fall away into utter eternal disintegration, yet
The Positive Act of God
is to work through His own nature. So our Blessed Lord had the divine nature: He was the Son of God. God's answer to the world situation was, first of all, a Man, and in that Man the Divine nature. Consequently the answer of the Church to the world situation must be the answer of the Divine nature. That is to say, not the Church, which is the aggregation by themselves of ordinances or sacraments, but that Church, that company of those who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. Who have been made by grace " partakers of the divine nature," and having received that nature, can be in the world that Jesus was. It is no exaggeration, of course because so tremendous are the potentialities of that divine nature which has been imparted to the Christian that our Lord was able to say "Greater works than these shall ye do because I go to the Father." Therefore the divine nature that you have received, if you are a true born-again believer, which has been imparted to you by the personal act of our Sovereign Lord in Heaven, is the nature upon which God is counting for an effective answer to the world situation in this very hour.
When our Lord came to His baptism at the waters of the Jordan He offered Himself publicly for God's perfect will. He therefore resigned all claims of any kind. He resigned every claim to private ease. He went down into the Jordan for one purpose, not to confess His sin, but to be numbered with the transgressors, and to offer His will without reserve to God. So great and marvellous was that moment in its meaning to Heaven, that even as He stood in the waters of Jordan, the heavens were rent asunder, and a voice spoke out of Heaven saying, "My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased." What can the Church do in this present world situation?
The Answer is a Man, a Woman!
The answer is found in the one who has received the divine nature as a directly-imparted life from Jesus Christ, and who has solemnly, and with the utmost sincerity, offered that life for the complete and absolute doing of the will of God. How far have you come with me, dear friend, in these reflections? Have you seen that God's answer today is a man, a woman, who sees His meaning for every man and woman without exception, who has received the divine nature? And every one who has so received that nature must solemnly, and with the utmost sincerity, offer it for the fulfilling of the will of God without reserve. Have you done that? Do you realise and I say it with a due sense of solemnity that this is the stand you have got to take in this world situation? That is what God is asking of you. He is asking for nothing less than the realisation that, as one who has received the divine nature, you shall offer up your entire being to the will of God; and if you do not get to that point, then your life will be less effective. You must come to your Jordan. There must be the unequivocal dedication to the will of God, not as something in the nature of an onerous burden from which you would fain be delivered, but with the spiritual insight that the will of God is something that is spiritual and eternal, and always highest and best. Therefore I counsel you, in the Lord's name, to get into that attitude and to take that action at once.
The next step which may be for your spiritual understanding is Calvary. What is Calvary? "Calvary is, of course, the place where, by the grace of God, my sins were washed away." Well, you won't misunderstand me if I say that while that is an essential understanding of Calvary, it is primary. Profound, indeed, is the truth that our sins are dealt with at Calvary, but it is the basic truth that leads us into other truths. I will not say greater truths, but other truths no less essential for the purpose of God.
What Is Calvary?
Calvary is the revelation that God's greatest achievements are done in the sphere of suffering. A blind and helpless Church always talks about "our dear brother being laid aside." You do not know: he may be; but in that place of pain and suffering he may he brought right into the business and brought into oneness with his Lord as never before.
Our Lord fed five thousand people with five loaves and two fishes. A marvellous achievement! All of us would like to have commensurate power that we might thereby he able to impress the Church upon the world. But great as was our Lord's feeding of the five thousand, it was not to be compared with the work that He did when He suffered and died on Calvary. I regard it as being one of the profoundest things to be grasped by every child of God, that God works through the divine nature, and that the highest potentialities of the divine nature are secured in its suffering. We say, "Thank God that Jesus suffered!" But in saying that you have missed the point. You can thank God that Jesus suffered, and that was God's answer to the world situation. But that must be your answer too!
Not only so, but it is unjust suffering. If you claim in God's presence that you have been saved by suffering that was laid upon Jesus: remember it has been laid upon you too. Unjust suffering is redemptive. Look back. What sort of history have you got? Have you got an unforgiving spirit? That means that though you may be a very good Christian, you have surrendered your privilege of rising to the highest expression of the manifestation of the divine purpose for you. For remember always, that out of the baptism at the Jordan comes the suffering of the Cross. Are we thinking about revival in terms of wonderful gatherings? But it is not in wonderful gatherings - it is in an experience of isolation- when you enter in and take patiently suffering that ought never to have been laid upon you- thus resting patiently and meekly in the Will of God,-therein is to be found the greatest potentiality God has in the universe. What is the answer of the Church to the present world situation? It comes right down to the depths of your being. It means the release from all those prejudices, and from that spirit of unforgiveness. It must be so. The thing which is clogging the Church of God, and keeping it paralysed and weak is the fact that God's people will come to the Table of the Lord, rejoice that Jesus Christ suffered for them, but yet are absolutely determined, in no circumstances whatsoever
To Suffer on Behalf of Others.
Are you going to clear this up? Don't think I am not conscious of what it means when you are made to suffer. I know what it means when unkind words are spoken. It goes right down deep into the soul. Don't suppose that everyone brings to your minister bouquets. Don't suppose that all the letters he receives are delightful and kind. Unjust suffering! This has got to be felt and borne aright by God's people. It means the instantaneous release of all the divine potentialities. When our Lord died on the Cross He said, "It is finished."
What can the Church do in the present world situation? The answer must be Life from the dead. God's purpose is never going to be fulfilled in human life. His purpose is being fulfilled in resurrection life out of the grave. "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God." To tell men that the Kingdom of God is coming out of all this welter of bloodshed is to tell them that which contradicts entirely the truth of Scripture. It is when you have consented to all that Calvary means in every aspect of your experience, when you have taken that divine life down into Calvary, that it becomes energised with all the power of resurrection. "That ye may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings." That is what the Church needs.
What can the Church do in the present world situation?
Well the Church must give to the world Pentecost. "He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross." Unjust suffering! Nailed there by wicked hands, illtreated by those whom He had come to save! But God raised Him from the dead, (the First-born of that new creation which consists of those in resurrection life) the Eternal Man into Whose image every child of God is ultimately to he transformed. He ascended into Heaven, and from the throne of God He poured out the Holv Ghost upon His waiting people. That is the answer of God to the world situation - a Church revived by the process through which Jesus Christ passed, identification with Christ at the Cross means inspiration from Christ on the throne. A life directed Godwards, in which the Holy Ghost energises the divine life that Jesus has given me. A life of prayer where we pull down the stronghold of Satan, because "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Paul wrote that in his Epistle to the Ephesians, and no one can dispute that. What is the Church of God doing today? It is wrestling with flesh and blood, and it is getting the worst of it. The child of God, to whom has been imparted this divine life, wrestles against principalities and evil powers, and he watches the issue of this spiritual warfare to
Bring Down the Strongholds of Satan,
and to speak in the power of a testimony that brings conviction. There is so much orthodoxy being preached today which has no power. The only place where power can originate in orthodoxy is at the throne of grace.
What can the Church do? What can the Church not do? What is your answer? What are you going to do about it? Are you a child of God? Have you received the divine nature? Are you going to offer up your will to God now? As when my blessed Lord went down into the baptismal waters, are you going to say, Lord, I am coming to the place where I shall joyfully accept unjust suffering. Have you got there? If so, there will be a tremendous release of new power through your life and witness. Is it someone who is unsaved, someone who has never yet received the divine nature who is reading my words? Are you wondering what you can do for your nation? There are some things you can do for the nation, but unless you become Christ's you will never be able to do for the nation what the child of God can do.
You will never be able to do for the world what Jesus did, but you can NOW
enter into the blessing of what Jesus did. You can speak to Him this moment.
You can say: "Lord Jesus, I am in this world situation. I am in this chaos
and sin. I pray here and now by the virtue of Thy blood that was shed on the
Cross, that my sins might be forgiven, that Thou wilt. impart from Heaven Thine
own nature to me." Have you ever received the Lord Jesus into your heart?
If not, will you receive him? Speak to Him now. Until we receive His Spirit
we can never answer the need of the world. There is my own personal need first
to be dealt with. Turn to Him "with no reserve and no delay" and seek
His salvation. He promises that He will never cast out those who come to Him.
Let God answer your need that you may go out in His Name, to answer the need
of the world.
The first Christian believers "turned the world upside-down" in their day, and God may use the true and wholehearted believers of this day to change mightily and marvellously
THE WHOLE PRESENT WORLD SITUATION.
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