[15 December 2009]
John 12: 32: "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."
I will be staying here with a friend in Belgrade, Montana for a couple of nights. This morning I noticed a book by Watchman Nee, The Messenger of the Cross. I read Chapter One before I came to the library. Here are some good quotes:
Page 7: "Paul's message is the cross, and he himself is a crucified person. In the preaching of the cross, he adopts the way of the cross. A crucified person preaches the message of the cross in the spirit of the cross. How often what we preach is indeed the cross; but our attitude, our words and our feelings do not seem to bear witness to what we preach. Much preaching of the cross is not done in the spirit of the cross! Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers that he 'came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom when proclaiming' to them 'the testimony of God.' The testimony of God here refers to the word of the cross. Paul did not use lofty words of wisdom in proclaiming the cross but came in the spirit of the cross: 'My speech and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in the demonstration of the Spirit and of power.' Such is truly the spirit of the cross.
"The cross is the wisdom of God, though to unbelieving men it is foolishness. When we proclaim the 'foolish' message, we must assume the 'foolish' way, adopt the 'foolish' attitude, and use the 'foolish' words. The victory of Paul lies in the fact that he is indeed a crucified person. He can therefore proclaim the cross with the attitude as well as the spirit of the cross. He who has not experienced crucifixion will not be filled with the spirit of the cross; and consequently he is not fit to proclaim the message of the cross."
Page 8: "The word of the cross which we so often proclaim is actually not ours but is borrowed--it is gleaned from books or from searching the Scriptures with our brain power. People with clever minds and those who are used to preaching are particularly prone to such danger. I am afraid that all their research, study, reading, and hearing talks on the mystery of the cross in its various aspects is for other people and not first for themselves. Consistently thinking of other people and neglecting our own lives will eventually result in spiritual famine!"
Page 11: "We cannot give what we do not have. If all we have is thought, we can only give thought. If in our life we do not have the experience of co-death with Christ to overcome sin and self nor the experience of taking up the cross to follow the Lord and suffer with Him, and if our knowledge of the word of the cross is obtained through people's pens and mouths but we cannot impart life; all we can do is instill the idea of the life of the cross in people's minds. Only when we ourselves are transformed by the cross and have received its spirit as well as its life are we able to impart the cross to other people."
Page 12: "Man's thought, word, eloquence and argument can only stir up the human soul, since these reach to the soulical part of man. They merely excite man's emotion, mind and will. Life, however, may reach man's spirit; and all the works of the Holy Spirit are done in our spirit--that is, in our inward man (see Rom. 8.16; Eph .3.16). As we in our spiritual experience let flow our life in the spirit, the Holy Spirit will send forth His life to the spirits of others and cause them to receive either regenerated life or the life more abundant."
Page 13: "We become a living teaching and a living word; and what we preach is no longer simply an idea which we know but is our real life. This is the meaning of being 'doers of the word' according to the Biblical sense."
Page 15: "For if we really are full of the Spirit due to the deeper work of the cross in us, we will spontaneously diffuse life in our conversation and our talk--whether private or public--so as to enrich those with whom we have contact. This does not require any self-effort or self-fabrication, but should be something most natural. And this thus fulfills what the Lord Jesus declares in John 7: 38: 'He that believeth on me . . . from within him shall flow rivers of living water.'"