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Description: Were we created to receive all we need from the world? Or were we created to be transmitters of our Creator's spirit to the world? Is this possible?
Spiritual Life #21
The Process Experience of the Cross
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Holy Spirit of God, we would thank you for the light and the life that you’ve given us during these
past nine months in these evening services. We know that those to whom much is given much will be
required and we realize that we have no alternative but to walk in that light and walk into the life
that you have for us. So we thank you Holy Spirit for all the light and now we commit ourselves to
getting our lives up to date with that light, to walking in all of it — because we know that it’s
only if we walk in the light as he is in the light that we have fellowship one with another — and
that the blood of Jesus will cleanse us of all sin. We thank you, Lord. Thank you. Amen.
Loved ones, we’re talking tonight about the process experience of the cross. And you remember that
last Sunday evening we talked of the crisis experience of the cross. And it’s very easy really, to
make the distinction between them. Because the crisis experience of the cross concerns primarily
our wills and indeed, especially our selfish will — and the process experience of the cross
concerns our independent souls which really are our minds and emotions. And just to emphasize that
for those of you to whom those terms are a little new I would remind you that the New Testament
outlines the psychology of our personalities in 1 Thessalonians 23 where the words run, “May God
sanctify you holy and may he preserve your spirit, and soul, and body blameless at the coming of our
And then if you trace “spirit” through the Old and New Testaments and “soul” through the Old and New
Testaments, and “body” through the Old and New Testaments you begin to see that the spirit is that
part of us that communicates with God directly, it’s within us and it is the power whereby we have
communion with God. It’s the power whereby we know by institution what God wants us to do. And
it’s also the power of judging whether what we’re doing is what God has told us to do or not through
the conscience. And then the soul is the psychological part of us, and you get that indeed from the
Greek word for soul which is “psuche”, [“psuchelogos”] – which becomes psychological. And it’s the
psychological part of us — the mind, the emotions, and the will. That’s what a psychologist or a
psychiatrist who isn’t a Christian deals with. And then the body you can see yourselves.
And the beauty of our position is that God intended to use us to pass his Spirit into his world.
That’s why we’re here on earth. God made the world and then he was going to use us to touch the
world with his Spirit. That’s why you’re here. You’re here to touch the world with the Spirit of
Jesus. And if you don’t touch the world with Jesus’ Spirit, really the world will not be touched by
him. It’s a little like that myth, you remember, that was told of Jesus returning to heaven and the
angel Gabriel asked him what arrangement he had made for the earth and he said that he had taught 12
men all the things that his Father has shown him and he would depend on those 12 men to pass that on
to the world. And Gabriel said, “What if they fail?” And Jesus said, “I have made no other
Even though that is a myth, yet it gets over the powerful importance of you to God. You are sent
here to touch the world with God’s Spirit. And so the Father’s plan was that our personalities
would work like that — actually as transmitters. His Spirit would come into us through our
spirits, would be passed on through our souls and out to the world. That was God’s plan. And in
doing that we would receive all that we needed, all the security that we needed. He would meet all
our needs from his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. He would provide all the food, shelter and
clothing that we needed. He would give us all the sense of importance that we needed because we
would immediately sense we were in the center of God’s plan for the world. So we’d have a great
sense of worth or value. We’d never have any problem with identity, what we were here to do. We’d
have a great sense of being co-workers with the Creator of the whole universe.
And of course we’d have a great sense of happiness and joy and just walking with him day-by-day.
That was God’s plan and what we did was rebel against it, you remember, and become receivers.
Receivers from the world. We started to try to get from the world the happiness, and the security,
and the significance that God intended us to receive from him. And so that is the problem.
Actually loved ones, what God has done in Jesus is put the receivers into Christ and to destroy
them, and to recreate them as transmitters.
And when we talk about the crisis experience of the cross, we’re talking about the fact that most of
us are not willing to become transmitters. Many of us enter into some sense of our forgiveness with
God but we are not ready to become transmitters of his Spirit. We still enjoy the significance, and
the security, and the happiness we receive from other people in the world and so the heart of the
crisis experience is that we’re saying to God, “I’m willing to be a transmitter.”
Now, if I could just emphasize the importance of that again. Do you see how many of us go home
tonight, or go to our rooms, or meet our roommates and we expect things from them. We expect things
from them. That’s why when the room is untidy we get irritable because we expect that room to be
tidy. You know there’s a response within us even when I share that because you say, “Well, of
course I do. Isn’t it normal and natural?” Well, wasn’t it normal and natural for the son of God
when he came to earth to be crowned king and to be welcomed and to be exalted? It wasn’t natural
for him to be crucified as a criminal.
And yet, what God is saying to us is, “I want you to cease being a receiver and to commit your life
forever to being a transmitter of my Spirit to others. To expecting nothing from anybody.” That’s
all our problem, you know that? Tomorrow morning we get into the car and we are pretty irritated
when that thing does not start. And we are always expecting this to happen and expecting that to
happen and it isn’t too bad when we expect machines to work; the unfortunate thing is we begin to
treat the people that we meet tomorrow as machines and we expect them to give us things. And so
we’re constantly acting as receivers.
Now, it is quite a decision in a Christian’s life or in anyone’s life to decide no longer to receive
and forever from this day forward to transmit. Now, that’s what we call being delivered from
carnality. Carnality is from the Greek word “sarkikos” and it means “fleshly”, and it means we get
everything we need through our bodies and we get it through our bodies from other people and we’re
always expecting to get happiness from the warm sunshine and the bright light. We’re expecting to
get happiness from the feel of the water on our bodies. We’re expecting to get happiness from other
people loving us and appreciating us. We’re expecting to get happiness from the things we see.
We’re expecting to get a good feeling inside from the things we eat and dying to that is being
delivered from carnality. That’s being willing never to receive from the world again, to have the
world crucified to you, to act as if you’re a dead person who receives only from God. And so it’s
ceasing to be a receiver and being forever after a transmitter.
Now, that’s what we talked about last day and that’s what we talk about when we discuss Romans 6:6.
That’s the crisis experience of the cross. We know that our old self was crucified with Christ so
that the sinful body, the body of sin might be left unemployed because it didn’t need any longer to
get from the world and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. Sin is living independent of God —
getting security, significance, and happiness from other people and other things besides God — and
being crucified with Christ is entering into that. And the way you do it is by believing that you
were crucified with Christ and then by submitting to the Holy Spirit; by putting to death through
the Spirit, the deeds of the body; by forever after obeying the Holy Spirit.
And that’s what it means loved ones, ceasing to be a receiver and committing yourself forever to
becoming a transmitter. And that is a glorious moment of freedom and that is life eternal when we
cease to receive, or want to receive from other people. And that is a work of the cross, the crisis
experience of the cross. Now loved ones, here’s what happens after we do that. Suddenly we find
that we are no longer living like that. We’re no longer living inwardly from other people and from
the world; we’re beginning to live outwardly.
But, there are two problems. One, the soul is used to passing through to the spirit all that it
receives from the world. So one great need is that the soul would be divided from the spirit. And
that is what is discussed you remember in Hebrews 4:12, the word of God is shaper than a two edged
sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit.
And one of the reasons for that is of course, we’re used to getting some kind of sense of
significance in our emotions from the way people treat us and we pass that on through. But if they
reject us, we pass that on through too and that’s why we get depressed so quickly, that’s why we go
up and down so readily. When somebody smiles and says something nice to us then we’re on Cloud
Seven. But somebody doesn’t speak to us nicely or doesn’t even look at us and we’re cast down. So
we’re utterly at the mercy of the way people treat us. That’s why it’s essential, if we’re going to
begin to move outwardly and be a transmitter as God intended us to be, it’s vital for the spirit to
be divided from the soul so that it no longer passes things through immediately as it has done up to
Another problem is because the soul has been the servant of the body it has worked in ways that are
perverted and so there are strong soulish powers that have to be broken. And that is what is talked
about you remember in, I think it’s 2 Corinthians 4:12 where God’s word says, “We bear in our body
the dying of the Lord Jesus.” In other words, our minds for instance, were meant to understand what
God gave to us in our spirits and to express it to other people. But, once our minds became
dominated by the world and by people, our minds began to manipulate. That’s all you can do you see,
if you have no power to bring the world and its events under the control of God. Then what you end
up doing is manipulating. So you understand that much of our psychology and much of our medicine is
actually manipulating one power against another.
That’s often the difficulty in the whole drug scene in medicine: that you do one thing with the
drug but it has all kinds of other side effects because actually what you are doing is manipulating
the natural powers against one another; you can hardly be said to be feeling anything. You’re
actually just using one power to hold another power back and that’s why medicine and psychology
apart from God’s Spirit is often a temporary cure. It is rarely a complete and perfect cure because
it’s the mind manipulating. The mind was actually meant to understand what God’s Spirit wanted us
to do and express that to the world but now the mind manipulates. So you have soulish powers that
have to be broken.
So here you have to have a division between soul and spirit and here you have soulish powers that
have to be broken. Because, when you were a receiver you would go into the office and there would
be a battle on between two people. And you had no guidance from God as to what to do — indeed you
had no spirit of wanting to do anything in that sense, all you wanted was peace in the office — so
you got used to manipulating one person against another, or playing off one against another, or
playing off a compromise between the two.
Your mind is used to running like that, it’s used to manipulating, it just comes naturally to it.
Now, what you find even after you’ve accepted your crucifixion with Christ and agreed no longer to
live from the outside in, is that this dear old soul still operates like a receiver and it still has
mighty and strong powers that continue to operate as if they were living off the world. And so
those powers have to be broken. Otherwise when you begin to try and do God’s work you’ll find your
mind manipulating in the same way and of course, that doesn’t transmit Jesus’ life to people.
We all know that through many of the less respectable methods that are used in evangelism at times.
We know that we are very quick to suspect when it’s a kind of “we give you something if you give us
something”. And when you face that kind of evangelistic strategy, the life of Jesus doesn’t come
over to you. In fact, you are rather put off by it and it’s because loved ones are trying to do
God’s work but they’re trying to do it with powers of soul that are still operating the way they
operated before Jesus’ spirit came in and transformed their lives.
And it is so with emotions. You find that the emotions were meant, you see, to express the joy that
comes from our fellowship with God. Emotions were meant to give joy to other people. Now, when we
turned from God and turned from the world, we had to get joy from other people, we had to get
happiness so the emotions are used to getting joy. And of course, that’s what has perverted a great
deal of Christianity here in the States, isn’t it? It’s a “get joy” kind of religion. Indeed, it’s
almost accepted that you encourage loved ones to receive Jesus because it will give them joy, you’ll
be happy. And then the tragedy is you keep having to have happier and happier meetings and you have
to keep giving people more and more joy to justify your first invitation to them.
And so a great deal of Christendom runs with a soulish power that has never been broken and it is
concerned primarily with getting joy. You know that, you and I know it, most of the invitations
that we get to services or meetings are based on that aren’t they? Come and hear Corrie ten Boom,
you’ll really enjoy it.” I know we use the word a little loosely but at heart we really mean you’ll
get something from this. We certainly don’t say to many people, “Come and hear Corrie ten Boom
contribute to the praise of God that will be taking place in that meeting and contribute with your
love to the ministry of Jesus’ life that will be going out to others who need to receive life
through her.” But we rarely make that kind of presentation. We usually make the kind of
presentation, “You’ll enjoy this, it’s a good crowd, you’ll feel at home, you’ll like it. Try it,
you’ll like it.”
That’s our usual approach and it’s based on soulish powers that are not broken of their old ways at
all. They’re still operating in the old system. And it is so with the will, loved ones. The will
is meant to be ruled by the spirit and then it’s meant, you see, to rule the mind and emotions.
That’s the way it’s meant to work. The spirit is meant to rule our souls, and then the will will
rule the mind and emotions. I could show you maybe it a little more clearly on this diagram;
that’s the way God intends things to work. The conscience will constrain the will, and the will
will direct the mind and emotions. But in fact, of course, what has happened is the will has become
utterly dominated by the mind and emotions.
And so many loved ones say, “Lord, I’m willing no longer to receive anything from my wife, from
people, that I need to get from you. I’m willing to live outward for the rest of my life — to give
love, to give joy, to give happiness, to give peace. Not to be a receiver of peace but to receive
what I need from you and to give to other people.” We say that, but our will has so long been
dominated, has so long been dominated by our mind and emotions, that it is not used to exercising an
executive rule in the personality. Isn’t that why so many of us have problems with wandering
thoughts in prayer?
I mean it is really interesting; we have an incredibly lackadaisical attitude towards wandering
thoughts, you know. It’s silly even to talk about wandering thoughts. Thoughts wander because you
let them wander but don’t we often bring that up, “Well, I have a great problem with wandering
thoughts.” And I know many of you loved ones have asked me, “What do you do with wandering
thoughts?” And the feeling is that something has to be done with them. Well actually, what has to
be done with them is you exercise your will and you bring them under captivity to Christ Jesus.
But we’ve got so used to the will being dominated by our mind or emotions rather than exercising
control over mind and emotions that we can’t possibly think that we ought to do it. I think that’s
why many of us have trouble, unnecessary trouble, with temptations. We really have been freed from
self and we’ve been freed from a desire to be tempted but we’ve got so used to letting Satan insert
any thought into our minds at any time and then to think that we have not the power to chuck those
thoughts out. We somehow think, “Oh they’re in, they’re in. Boy, we better let them stay.” And we
don’t realize that the will has absolute control over the mind. The mind can stop thinking, “Alpha,
beta, gamma, delta, epsilon, zeta, eta, theta.” The Greek alphabet, you can say it this moment, you
can decide what you’re going to think about.
You can decide this moment. If you think, “Think black.” You think black, there black. Monday,
think Monday, it’s Monday. I think Monday. You have actually power to control your thought life.
But we’re so used to being dominated by our minds and emotions that our wills have grown weak and
that’s the problem loved ones that has to be settled. There are two great needs in connection with
the process experience of the cross and they concern the powers of our souls. The spirit has to be
divided from the soul and the powers of the soul have to be broken that are operating in the wrong
way so that they can come under the control of the Holy Spirit.
And that’s what God seeks to do with the process experience of the cross. And that is mentioned in
several places but maybe you would like to look at Luke 9:23. Luke 9:23, “And he said to all, ‘If
any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’” Now,
that’s the daily cross. That’s the process experience of the cross. Verse 24, “For whoever would
save his life,” and the Greek word you remember is the word for soul, “psuche”. “For whoever would
save his soul will lose it.” So if you allow yourself to be dominated by your soul the way it’s
operating at present you lose your soul and you notice that’s what happens. That’s why Alberto VO5
and ”try it, you’ll like it” and every commercial works, because we all become dominated by society
and by the thoughts and suggestions that are fed into society.
You’ll notice that when people try to work by the power of their own souls, their souls come under
the domination of all the other souls and all the other advertising and commercials that are put
over to them and so we all become the same. We all drive the same cars, we all have the same
haircuts, we all grow beards together, we all wear jeans together. Really you lose – it’s
interesting, trying to save your individuality or save your soul you actually lose it. “Whoever
would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it.” And so
that’s the process experience of the cross.
It involves two sides then: the division between soul and spirit which is brought about by the word
of God coming to us and revealing to us that our spirit and soul is not broken. And then through
the breaking experiences that God brings us into. And you find that in 2 Corinthians, if you’d like
to look at it. 2 Corinthians 4:10, “Always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the
life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For while we live we are always being given up
to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death
is at work in us, but life in you.”
Now loved ones, I could give just a few illustrations that might help to clarify the distinction
between these two. You remember that Peter denied Jesus to the little maid and it isn’t hard for
any of us to see why he did it. He was afraid, he was afraid for his own life because they were all
around him saying, “You’re one of the Nazarenes.” And he thought that would mean he would go
straight to the cross after Jesus. So that was self, that was carnality. The denial was carnality,
it was fear of self. It was the selfish will rebelling. It was a rebellion.
You remember Peter cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant in Gethsemane. Do you see that that
was a different kind of deed? It was wrong still. Jesus you remember, then took the ear and healed
the man immediately and told Peter and the others to put down their swords. So it was wrong but it
was a different kind of deed. It was done with an open heart, with no thought of self, only to
defend his Lord. So he wanted his Lord’s glory with all his heart but he was doing it in the wrong
way. And the cutting off of the ear of the servant was a soulish act and was a result of deception.
It was still wrong but it was in a sense unconscious. He was doing something that he thought was
right but it was wrong. But, he was doing it with the best heart in the world.
Now, that is one distinction between rebellion and deception. If you would suffer my old
illustration that I’ve given before, I could tell you a little one with me. I was, oh you know the
story, that a husband is proud of what is wife is and a wife is proud of what her husband does. I
don’t know that it’s right but it says something about our relationship in society. Anyway, we men
love to achieve things. We love to think we’re going to do something and make our niche in the
world and have our niche in the hall of fame. And I was like the rest of us, filled with selfish
ambition and a desire to be someone and to be important, and to achieve something. Always for God,
we’re always very generous about that side of it — but we always want to achieve something; we
never want to be laid aside. We never want to be willing to be laid aside.
And so I would read biographies of great Christians. And as I was reading I would very casually
(because I was interested in becoming important too, and famous, and worthwhile), I would very
casually tot up where John Wesley was when God started to use him. And then I would tot up where I
was in age and how many years had I left to really make it. Now, the fault and the problem was just
a gross egotistical self that had to be crucified. And there was no freedom in my life until I at
last accepted, “Lord I am willing to be nothing for you. Willing to be a failure, willing to be
nothing, willing to be regarded by no one as long as you love me. That’s the only thing that
matters.” And God freed me from that carnality.
Then one day I was reading a biography and I was just reading it casually and here I find my mind
doing a little mathematics and I couldn’t – why was I subtracting his birth year from this year and
then I remembered why I used to do those things. And then of course I just said, “Oh, I don’t want
that Lord. I’m willing to be whatever you want me to be.” But do you see the way the mind kept on
going the way it had been trained to go for years by an egotistical self? Now, that’s what we all
We have powers of the soul that have to be broken. Otherwise, we will find that they are not
submissive to the Spirit of Jesus. We’ll find that we’re showing off when we should be concerned
only with transmitting the love or the life of Jesus. We’ll find that our mind and emotions are
doing things that are not appropriate to express Jesus’ Spirit. And so what comes over to people is
the harshness and the hardness of our souls.
Those of us who either work with families in our own homes — our wives, or our children, or those
who work with others in business know that the way that the business world works is by profit and
fear. You draw people on by the lure of profit and commission and you control them and discipline
them by fear of losing their job. And so all of us have suffered under that system and we in turn
have taken part in that system depending on where we are. The interesting thing is we even use this
with each other at home. We will use hardness and harshness with each other in order to put things
So many of us when we go home to the others in our houses on campus, or go home to our roommates, or
go home to our loved ones at home, we find ourselves using harshness and hardness to get them to put
things right. And we find ourselves jumping on them and we feel terrible after it but somehow we
realize that there are powers of our souls that have become strong in wrong ways and wrong
strategies and ways that are not of Jesus. We find for instance that often, if somebody does
something wrong — and I am just looking at some of us who are teachers — and I think often when I
was in the classroom, the usual method was you don’t let the guy drop the pen twice otherwise
they’re all dropping the pen. You hit on the first time and that kills it.
And as teachers we’re taught to react immediately. And it’s the same kind of policy that we use in
business and in everything. React immediately, correct the thing immediately and you’ll have no
more trouble with it. Jesus so often will love a person for the extra mile. He so often will pray
for them and love them and give the Spirit time to work in them. Our souls are trained to react
immediately. We’re slow to love and pray and we’re quick to speak and act. Those mighty powers of
soul have to be broken because Jesus’ way is different and produces life and fruitful life. And
many of us here have spoiled whole evenings at home. How many of us here have spoiled whole evening
at home with our roommates because we have not shut our mouths and trusted God that he would take
care of the thing?
We’ve been so anxious to put the thing right and make it right immediately and it’s resulted in just
a complete collision of personalities that destroyed the evening or the weekend. Now, that’s what
we mean, loved ones; there are powers of souls that have to be broken by the cross and the way God
does it is he allows us to come into experiences that end up such catastrophes that we are utterly
shattered by them. And God continues to do that until we at last grow suspicious of these great
minds, and these great emotions, and these great wills that seem to have it all worked out and seem
to be able to act so spontaneously; until we become distrustful of their responses. And only then,
when we’re distrustful of our own powers, are we submissive enough to begin to be guided by Jesus’
Spirit. That is what we mean loved ones, when we say the powers of the soul have to be broken.
It is the same with the division that has to take place between the spirit and the soul. Many of us
are in the position that brother Lawrence could not abide. Brother Lawrence you remember wrote a
little book called “The Practice of the Presence of God.” He was incredible in writing that book
because he did not work up in the library, he did not work in the chapel, he was not one of the
leading singers in the ministry. He wrote these high and holy descriptions of the inner life with
Jesus in the kitchen.
He worked in the kitchen, with all the pots and the pans battering and clashing around, and he came
to the point of division between the soul and the spirit so that he could sense the presence of
Jesus as completely and absolutely there amidst the clashing of the pots and the pans as others
could in the chapel where great quietness reigned or a great choir was singing. That was because
his soul was divided from the spirit. He could choose to listen to the spirit of Jesus within
rather than to all the things that were coming through his ears.
Now you know, that’s our problem. Many of us have real trouble maintaining the presence of God
throughout the day. We find ourselves praying up at the beginning of day and then we get into the
car and we just hit the first stop light and we don’t know where the presence of God is. We’re
utterly consumed with this stop light and is that fella beating us, and how is that fella going.
And then, we get into the rush hour time and we’re absolutely taken up with it and we’re just dying
to get a quiet moment so that we can pray again and get back into the presence of God.
And then we do that and we get into his presence and then we come out into the office and before we
know it we’re into a whole argument over some paper that has been lost, or some typewriter that
won’t work, or something that the boss wants or can’t find, and before we know it we’ve absolutely
lost any sense of the presence of God again. And we have to try to get back into a time of prayer
to get back the presence of God. And so we spend our days advancing and retreating, advancing and
retreating — and of course the tragedy is that when we are with people and most need to manifest
the life of Jesus, that’s the time when we’re most dominated by what’s coming through our ears and
through our eyes.
Indeed, often when we need to say something of light to a person we’re so utterly taken up with how
to respond to what they’re saying to us that we have no time to listen to what Jesus wants to say to
them. That’s why the spirit and soul have to be divided. And of course, what God does is allow us
to come into more and more disruptive circumstances. Into a busier and busier life until we are
eventually forced for the sake of our own sanity to begin to choose to listen to Jesus’ Spirit
rather than to what comes through our souls and to begin to use our souls as merely the instrument
by which we express Jesus’ Spirit to others — and that’s the process experience of the cross.
And it will go on, presumably, until we meet Jesus face-to-face. But loved ones, I do believe that
God wants to bring us to a place of perfection in that so that at least we will not be obstacles to
his Spirit of life touching other people and so that they will begin to touch us. And loved ones,
until you do that you’ll see no one born of the Spirit as a result of your life, you won’t. You’ll
see people who believe the same things that you do or feel the same things that you feel but you’ll
see no one born of the Spirit, no one who receives the Spirit of God through your ministry until you
begin to bring your soul, or allow your soul to be brought under the control of, your own spirit.
Now loved ones, what I’d like to do is just very briefly, if you would, bear with me I’ll try to
read it in as lively a way as I can — but Nee is so good and he says the thing so well that I’ll
just mention it a little. And he’s talking about brokenness, “Whatever the things to which you are
bound God will deal with one after another. Not even such trivialities as clothing, eating, or
drinking can escape the careful hand of the Holy Spirit. He will not neglect one area in your life.
You may even be ignorant of your affinity for a certain thing but he knows and will deal with it
most thoroughly. Until the day comes when all these things are destroyed you do not know perfect
liberty. In these dealings you can finally recognize the thoroughness of the Holy Spirit.
“Things long forgotten are brought to mind by the Lord. God’s works are perfect and nothing less
than perfection can satisfy him. He cannot stop short. Sometimes he will deal with you through
others, arranging for you to be with someone whom you’re angry with or whom you despise, or are
jealous of. Or, very often it is with those that you love. Before this you did not know how
unclean and mixed you were but afterwards you realize how much rubbish there is in you. You thought
you were holy for the Lord but after receiving the discipline of the Holy Spirit you begin to see
how far reaching are the effects external things have upon you.”
Then this is an area I think is paralyzing God’s work in many of you. “Then again the hand of God
may touch our thought life. We may discover that our thoughts are confused, independent,
uncontrolled.” And loved ones, I’d say from my little experience just in [our businesses here, I
think that’s a dreadful problem in our American society. Probably now in all societies — but I’ve
noticed it tremendously among us — that often our little minds are absolutely uncontrolled and
undisciplined and often God can give us a direction and our minds are not ordered enough to even
follow one direction and execute it. And so Nee says, “We discover that our thoughts are confused,
independent, uncontrolled. We claim to be wiser than others. Then it is that the Lord allows us to
crash into a wall and hit the dust. All to show us that we dare not use our thoughts inordinately.
Once we have been enlightened in this, we shall fear our own thoughts as fire.”
It’s interesting, I think most of us get in trouble with our thought life because we dominate our
minds as we want. God directs us to a thought, we won’t dwell upon it, we fly from it. We fly from
it in a moment. If you’ll notice, I try as rarely as possible to do this stuff, to read — because
really I know we’re all under the agony of television. For 10 minutes we take it and then the
commercial is on and we get up for a Coke. Another 10 minutes, then we get up for some potato
chips. Another 10 minutes, and that’s the way we’re fed. Even in our university and our college
courses, we take it for a quarter and then we’re worn out and glad we’re getting on to another
And so our minds are not like those great massive German minds. They produce those great
theologians. They have great minds. They can drum over a thought for hour, upon hour, upon hour.
And our little fluttery minds are all over the place like butterflies and often that’s what prevents
Jesus doing what he wants with us, you know. “Once we have been enlightened in this we shall fear
our own thoughts as fire. Just as a hand withdraws immediately from the flame so we shall instantly
draw back when we encounter our uncontrolled thoughts. We shall remind ourselves, ‘This is not what
I should think. I’m afraid to pursue my own thoughts. I’ll think what God directs me to think.’”
And of course many of us go to the other extreme and go passive. But in fact, God directs us
clearly that, “Thou shalt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee.” It’s our job to
stay our minds on what God is giving us. Further God will order our circumstances so as to deal
with our emotions. Some people are extremely emotional. When they are elated they cannot contain
themselves. When they are depressed they cannot be comforted. That’s true, isn’t it? When they
are elated they cannot contain themselves, when they are depressed they cannot be comforted. Their
whole life revolves around their emotions with their elation resulting in dissipation and their
depression in inactivity.
How does God rectify this? He places them in situations where they dare not be too happy when
elated, nor too sad when depressed. They can only depend upon the grace of God and live by his
mercy not by their fickle emotions. And so God is good; he will bring us into breaking situations
if we really want to be made anew and that’s what redemption is. That’s what God means when he
says, “I will redeem you.” “Emo” in Latin and “re” — to buy back. “I will buy you all back, every
bit of you. Not only your spirit but every little bit of your mind, every bit of your emotions,
every little bit of your will. I will redeem it and reclaim it all for myself so that it will be a
fit instrument for my peace.” And that’s what God wants to complete in us and that’s what full
redemption and full salvation is about.
And so I’d ask you first to not hesitate about the crisis experience of the cross. Don’t hesitate.
Commit yourself to ceasing from this night to be a receiver. Commit yourself, “Lord Jesus you
receive nothing, you receive nothing from anybody except God. I’m willing to commit myself to that.
To no longer expect my husband to give me this bit of love or my friends to give me this bit of
acknowledgement but just you. Lord I’m willing to live off you alone.” Commit yourself to that,
enter into the crisis experience of the cross tonight and then ask the Holy Spirit, “Holy Spirit,
will you now make me a transmitter? Will you break the powers of my soul that are fit only for a
receiver? And, will you divide my spirit from my soul so that my spirit can begin to control my
mind and emotions and transmit God’s love to this world?”
And that’s, loved ones, why we were made and that’s where all of us will find our perfect
fulfillment. We will. We’ll find our perfect fulfillment in being transmitters of God’s Spirit of
life to his world. So I pray, you know, that during these summer months when you are listening to
brothers and sisters here in the body sharing, I pray first of all that you’ll take seriously what I
shared about the old selfish life. I pray that you’ll come to the services through the summer not
to get. And I’d ask you really to judge yourself, if you’re going to decide to come to these
services or not, on what basis? On what basis?
Really, if it’s on the basis of getting, if it’s on the basis of what you’re going to get from each
brother or sister, well you’re probably better not coming. But, the worst of that is, what is the
rest of your life like? Have you really been saved at all or are you just pretending to be saved
and actually you’re still behaving like ordinary men living off the world and off of their people?
So I’d ask you first of all to question yourself about your attitude to the services this summer.
And then I’d ask you to get down to business with the Holy Spirit and enter into all of this so that
next September when we begin, we will all be together on it and we won’t have to go back and deal
with carnality and deal with soulishness but we’ll be able to go on and talk about the complete
redemption of the mind and the emotions and the formation of us into the kind of people God wants us
So I’d ask you to seek God over this summertime and pray and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you into
these things. Loved ones, the knowledge won’t do it, the knowledge won’t do it. Knowledge will
make you look clever in front of other people, give you a sense of superiority — but it will
destroy you. It will condemn you to hell and damnation if you don’t enter into the life that makes
this real in your own life and that life comes only from the Holy Spirit. So I’d encourage you to
seek God this summer and come into these things so that we can go forward because we have a world
that is waiting for transmitters, for people to cease to be receivers and who have died forever to
that and come alive to be transmitters of Jesus’ Spirit.
I pray that you will be that. Loved ones, really, if you aren’t — after all that we’ve shared and
all that we’ve listened to — what hope is there for this world? Because really, God has privileged
us, I think you’ll agree, God has privileged us with very clear truths and if we don’t become
transmitters, if we don’t spend our lives out in the world for him, who is going to? Who is going
to do it? So I pray that you will do that and that it won’t just be a feast time but it will be a
stocking up in strength in order to give to God’s world. Otherwise, it will just kill you loved
ones, it really will.
You’ll just become like the Dead Sea, taking in but never giving out and therefore becoming bitter
and salty, and becoming so filled with impurities that you’ll never satisfy anybody’s thirst. So I
do pray tonight that you’ll come through and use the life that Jesus is giving you.
Let’s pray. Lord Jesus, I pray that you will make it clear to all of us that you came because you
so loved. That’s the only reason you came Lord. You didn’t come because it was nicer here; it was
bad for you and cruel, and savage and ended up in darkness and pain and yet you came. And Lord
Jesus that’s the heart of what you’re giving to us and if we do not receive the same Spirit, and if
we do not spend our lives in the same selfless way, then we’ve missed everything, we haven’t
understood a word that you’ve said.
So Lord, we would look at our own lives tonight and we would face them as they really are and see
them through your eyes and see whether we’re receivers, parasites — always living off others — or
whether we’re transmitters, people who live forgetful of self, for you and for your life. Lord,
thank you that there’s only one life that gives us the same joy as the birds and the sky and the
flowers — and that’s the life that you lived. Lord Jesus, that’s the life we want to live and we
intend to live by your grace. We thank you Lord for your goodness to us these past nine months. We
would now spend these next few months walking in the light and into the life of these truths for
your glory. Now the grace of our Lord Jesus and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy
Spirit be with each one of us now and ever more. Amen.
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