death, discerning the spirits, eternal life, experience, false gospel, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, life after death, Ministry, Satan, spiritual power, T.A. Sparks, the new self, the old self, the promised land
I could have also called this state I am finding myself in ‘the period of putting off the old self and putting on the new self’ which is something no one may observe but God and me. It is like being in the tomb after having endured the cross, having died to everything and everyone you once loved more than God and Jesus. And little by little, a completely new world gradually comes to light. Or in other words, “the day dawns and the morning star rises” (2 Pt 1:19 ESV) in our heart in order to never disappear again. Jesus promised us, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (Jn 17:3 ESV) We cannot put ourselves into eternal life as much as we might wish to get there. If we refuse to endure the cross, we remain captured in our old and fallen nature that is unable to serve and please God. There are many ‘Christs’ that have been preached from the very beginning and it seems to me even more today. However, every crossless gospel that strengthens our old nature or tries to change it (which never works) instead of telling us that our old Adam nature is completely useless for the work of God, these gospels are of satanic origin. All of them, without exception, whether it is the health and wealth gospel where our worldly desires and our mortal body gain center stage or the social gospel that tries to change the world we live in (without being called by God to do so). There are so many more things we can believe and which lead us astray, that is, away from Christ and the narrow path. What they have in common is that we can do them on our own. We do not need God’s power in order to do what we always did, do we?
Resurrection life is something we can experience on different levels, wherever we may find ourselves now. Basically, it is something God does in us and through us without having asked us beforehand to help Him out. 😉 Many of us might have wondered about what then can WE do for God? And how can it be done? You might have already guessed, I am speaking of the notion of ‘ministry’ here. Below you can read an excerpt from T. A. Sparks where he portrayed the resurrection power of God in the Christian life. Maybe, you find his words as helpful and encouraging as I did (emphasis in bold letters added).
You may ask, Have I to preach, have I to be on the platform, taking meetings? No, it does not mean anything of the kind. It does mean that you have a ministry spiritually, by your very relationship to the living Lord. Oh, that we could get delivered from this mechanical idea of ministry. The Lord has taken tremendous pains with some of us in this matter. Ministry does not consist in someone getting Bible addresses ready, Bible readings and subjects, preparing them, and getting up and giving them forth at meetings. That is not the ministry. The Lord has shown to us that it is impossible to minister in the power of the Holy Ghost, in the Word of God, in truth, unless we have the fruit of Christ’s resurrection in us. You have to come, not only to the initial experience of the bud [note: of an almond rod; cf. Aaron’s rod], being raised together with Christ; you have to come to the place where the beauty of Christ in the flower is there; and then the fruit of Christ is there in ripeness. I would not come to you to minister at any time simply because there is in the Bible a good deal of interesting matter that I have seen, and which I would like you to know. My cry to God is, Forbid me to speak to this people, unless You give me a word in my own heart that is meaning something to me. Ministry flows out of living union with the Lord Jesus, and if ministry is not that, it is not the ministry of God. Do not take on ministry in a mechanical, organised way; that will kill you sooner or later. This ministry is only possible in the power and fruit of His resurrection.
Are you knowing the fruit of His resurrection in your own heart, in your own life, so that He is really causing you to partake of the fruit of His resurrection – ripe almonds? It may be in a simple way, but you are knowing that beauty, that unction, that fellowship with the Lord in your own heart. If you are, you need not worry about ministry; that will show itself. The Lord will find ways for you. I have no doubt whatever but that when the Lord gets a child of His into a place where they are really in their own hearts enjoying the fruit of the risen Lord, the Lord will make contacts with that life which will be fruitful, and that will be ministry. He knows where there is someone who is just longing for a taste of the fruit of His risen life, and He will make the contacts. That does not exempt us from being ready, anxious to be used as the Lord will, on stretch to be of service to Him; though all eagerness to minister will be in vain if we are not in resurrection with the Lord Jesus, but, given that, ministry follows, it comes out of that. […] The ministry of the House of God is spontaneous, when there is union with Christ in risen life; the fruit is there at once.