Having seen that
the first sphere in which the Cross has its expression in its
various relationships is the Church, we now come to its place in
the nations of the world. It must be recognised at the outset
that, in the intention of God, the Cross does not pass through
the Church to the nations, but takes the Church with it
there. It is not the Cross in the nations as something preached
apart from the Church, but the Church in the nations as the
embodiment of the Cross. This cannot be represented in one
diagram, therefore it has to be stated.
It is true that the
Apostles preached among the nations Christ crucified and risen,
but as a rule and a principle they did not do this single
handed. The Lord's principle of a minimum of two was adhered to
as closely and continuously as possible, and on the few
occasions when an Apostle was isolated and alone there was
usually hold up and threat either to ministry or life. This
corporate principle of going forth as on "Body" ground, with the
Church behind, and the Church implied in more than one being
together, indicated that the Lord's required means is that which
represents Christ corporate. Two is regarded in the Bible as the
number which implies adequate testimony. This is easily
verifiable by a glance at the way in which two were joined by
God so frequently, and that "in the mouth of two witnesses"
everything shall be established. Now, then, the Lord had said
"this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world
for a testimony... and then... the end...." The Church
is the vessel of witness or testimony, hence the minimum is two.
The principle is to have a corporate expression or
representation of Christ in every nation. The deepest meaning of
"evangelise" is to bring to, not only to proclaim. It is
inherent in the Word, and it means - to bring Christ to the
nations. "This good news of the realm and reign (of God through
Christ) must be set in the nations for a testimony"; that would
be the meaning of the statement. It is in keeping with all the
fundamental principles of Divine revelation.
"The Earth is the Lord's"
earth has become overrun and possessed by that which is inimical
to God. He has been driven out, and a usurper has occupied the
throne here. That is both stated and illustrated many times in
After the flood,
when the earth appeared as a purged and renewed thing, Noah and
the nucleus of that new creation built an altar and consecrated
the earth to God in that way; in effect saying, "The earth is
the Lord's." The testimony was locally represented; a universal
right locally established in a corporate company by what
symbolised the Cross. When David was driven from his rightful
place by the usurper Absalom, he sent Zadok back with the ark.
Zadok and Abiathar were there with the testimony to the fact
that David's rightful place was THERE, where the
testimony was. The Church, with the testimony of Jesus, is to be
representatively holding the earth for its rightful Lord.
"All Things Have Been Created... Unto Him''
The nations are
Christ's inheritance. "Ask of Me, and I will give
Thee the nations for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost
parts of the earth for Thy possession." The Church is the
company in which Christ is establishing His right by taking an
earnest of the inheritance. The nations may not be saved in this
dispensation, but they will yield a token, and in that "people
out of the nations for His name" (Acts 15:14) they declare that
all is His by right. It is something, even if there are no mass
movements, just to hold the ground for Christ. This will
indicate the place of the Cross, for it was by the Cross that He
cast out the prince of this world. It was by the Cross that He
established His moral right to it. It was because of the Cross
that He was given "all authority in heaven and on earth," and
received "the name which is above every name." Only in the
virtue of Calvary's triumph shall we be able to hold our ground
in this sin - and devil - ridden world.
Then, if this is
true and the corporate principle is the effectual one, the one
object of Satan, in order to frustrate the end and spoil the
testimony, will be to break up the corporate life. Satan will
never stop until he has done all that he can to divide the last
two who are spiritually related in the testimony of Jesus. This
will necessitate a deep work of the Cross in those concerned, so
that "the prince of this world will have nothing in them."
Humility, meekness, self-emptying, and deep devotion to the
Lord's honor are fruits of the Cross. We cannot meet and counter
Satan with doctrine, technique, phraseology and slogans about
Satan being a defeated foe. He must meet crucified men and women
who have given Christ a lot of room. You will see the corporate
action of the Church in the Book of the Acts. A 'Church' in the
nations which is not crucified to the world is a help to Satan,
but a crucified company is a great menace to his kingdom.