Reading: Acts 2:22-47; John 7:37-39; Eph. 1:19-23; Phil.
We are being directed by the Lord to a further recognition of the
Holy Spirit in His ministry in relation to the glorified Lord
That which is very much on my heart in this connection is the
Holy Spirit and the Name of the Lord Jesus.
If you read the Acts you will find two main features running
right through the book, two things which are uppermost; they are
the Holy Spirit and the Name of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is
mentioned seventy times, and the Name of Jesus more than thirty.
You will see they are joined together, are in operation together,
the Holy Spirit has assumed charge of everything and as He goes
forward with His mighty work He does it all in the Name of the
I would suggest a perusal of the book with the place of the Name
of the Lord Jesus in mind; you will not get far before you have a
strong impression of wonder and praise. This main character and
feature of the book bears out clearly John 7:39 and the words of
Peter at Pentecost about the exaltation and glorifying of the Lord
When John by way of comment on John 7:39 said, "The Holy
Spirit was not yet given because Jesus was not yet glorified",
the logic of it all was that when He was glorified the Holy Spirit
would be given, the day would come. We see that upon the Lord
Jesus being glorified, the Holy Spirit was at once given, He
immediately came forth. And now under the guidance of the newly
ascended Spirit the words of men on whom He came were around the
Name, the exaltation, glorifying, and Lordship of the Lord Jesus,
and the deeds done were all in or on the basis of the Name.
Later we see the apostle Paul gave a very full explanation of
what happened when the Lord Jesus returned to glory, "God
highly exalted Him, and gave unto Him the name which is above
every name" (Phil. 2:9), "put all things in subjection
under His feet", as "Head over all things". That is
the explanation of what took place when Christ returned to heaven.
That is the ground on which the Holy Spirit came forth.
Now, in contemplating the Name of the Lord Jesus we have to find
a starting-point that is a long way back and we shall be guided by
a clear intimation in the words read; a conjunction will be
brought into view, "Wherefore God highly exalted Him". The
exaltation of the Lord Jesus, His headship, His being given a
title to sovereignty - a title above all is something merited, not
something by way of mechanical appointment, not something that
just represented an office, but it carries with it a
representation of the work done by which the title was merited,
We are linked in the context with a former position occupied by
Him; a position of equality with God, indisputable on the Divine
side, a settled position, not argued but simply affirmed: "He
was equal with God".
Away back in that dateless time there was one who aspired and had
an ambition in another direction. It was to be possessed of a
title, and there was a putting forth of his hand to grasp a title
as something to be grasped at, with the result that through long,
terrible centuries, millenniums, sin and misery have been; as we
know well enough.
A position of authority and dominion in the universe was sought
after (by the enemy), to be personally held apart from God, to be
on a basis of independent action and interest. There is the root
and spring of all independent action, it is easy to be seen that
the direction of ambition was possession apart from God. We will
not dwell on the dark side, on its consequences and history, but
we do know that through that act a rift in order came, with
disorder and chaos. Universal dominion had been shattered and the
oneness, concreteness, and cohesion of the universe had been
upset; a disintegrating force projected against the unity of the
universe in relation to its government.
If we did but know it, everything of spiritual chaos in our
earthly lives is just coming out of that dark cesspool and was
created at that time. Every bit of discord, the multitude of
things of which we become conscious when we become spiritual,
those things which break in and seek to get the mastery again are
not things just born, but are infectious vapours from that pit
coming up again like a rolling cloud through the ages. And as the
smoke of a distant fire covering everything to the horizon, it
affects all things and goes on and on. We sense it afar off, near
and far becomes touched by that smoke, that which happened in the
spiritual realm at that time. Now we sense that thought which has
come across the age; it has broken up that spiritual thing, the
unity of the universe, and that dominion of the universe has to be
recovered and set up in one Person, not two, not in a host, but in
One it has to be recovered and established. All that is the fruit
of independent action has to be destroyed, and all this universe
has to acknowledge One Name, one government without a rival - that
is the fruit of Calvary which was given on the basis of
unchallenged merit. That one who was reaching out to possess it
was without merit, and was seeking it ambitiously for self, apart
from God. That was why the ambition was denied, that is why the
rivalry was set up; it has to be merited.
This leads to the heart of such things as the temptation of the
Lord Jesus in the wilderness. The Lord Jesus repudiated the whole
thing. It carried with it two things:
1. This cannot be had as a personal thing apart from God and,
2. This can never be had by any without merit; it has to be won
from the hand of God, and can only be won in one way. He went the
way of the cross, "wherefore God hath highly exalted Him".
He was obedient unto death, and the Name the Lord Jesus possesses
is by the right of merit. He is at the right hand of God, and we
see once more gathered up in Him the unity of the universe. In Him
everything is made to hold together, the cohesion, the unity of
the universe is in Him. Unity is something which cannot be brought
about by human agreement, it can only be in the Name of Jesus and
all that Name contains.
We can never hold together because of human understanding,
because of an understanding on certain things on which we will be
agreed. There will be one and another failing and not much
agreement on some things, and on that ground the devil has power.
The only ground of unity of a right kind is that resting in its
universal victory in the Name of Jesus, by One only, in that Name
and in all the spiritual virtue of that Name.
The Name gathers up into itself all the mighty forces of
universal conquest and we can understand why mighty things
happened in the beginning in that Name.
Some have fallen into sentimentality when they have read Acts
2:44: "All things common". That was an agreeable party, but
there was something beyond that; it was the Holy Spirit who did
that. We may say we will have a nice Pentecostal fellowship, but
it cannot be done, for it is only by the Holy Spirit having full
possession, having come in in full measure. He can come in in the
Name of the Lord Jesus and meet in full the outcome of that
original act of the hand against the throne. It places tremendous
responsibility on us to contemplate this, any unwatchfulness, any
lack of forbearance, any act of broken fellowship among saints is
direct complicity with the devil, with the hand against the throne
and is a movement against the testimony of Jesus. When the enemy
has brought this about, it has always jeopardised the testimony,
and taken from the glory of the Lord Jesus. If we are responsible
for that and the Holy Spirit strives with us, urging us to put
that right and we do not do so, we fall into a most tragic and
terrible end. We fall into the original work of the devil. It is
terrible but true.
The Holy Spirit works in relation to the Name of the Lord Jesus,
that means that the Holy Spirit establishes all that the Name
means by the cross. The Holy Spirit applies the cross and all that
it means to that thing and the outcome is fellowship.
What is the basis of New Testament unity and fellowship? It is
1. The cross dealing its death-blow to all that which has come
into man and the universe, through Satan's original act.
2. The Name as representing the One, the Person, in whom we are
3. The Holy Spirit who is working in this Name on the basis of
the cross, and the victory wrought out in the cross. The Cross,
the Name, the Holy Spirit. It is very blessed to see the
spontaneous working out of this in the New Testament. The Cross
making good, and the Name working out the Holy Spirit. The Cross
was accomplished, Christ was glorified, the Holy Spirit had come.
You can never find such unity, such fellowship outside that realm.
It will not be long before the enemy will try to recover some
ground, he will work in someone who has not found full salvation
from self, who has not come into death to self. He found ground in
Ananias and Sapphira and they sought to aim a blow at the
Testimony, against the whole regime. The judgment was swift, but
it had to be. The Lord made His laws operative and it was a
disastrous end to those two. It always follows.
One of the many aspects I have been made to stress is, why is
unity attacked? The enemy's idea at the beginning was to divide
the universe and it is clear that the result of his work was to
send schism through everything. What are the means through which
the Holy Spirit operates? It is only as the cross is wrought into
our being, only by the getting rid of self will there be a united
relationship in certain realms where the cross is not operative,
where things are wrought in for ourselves out of relation with the
In certain realms today where the subjective work of the cross
alone is stressed, there is most discord. Look at it the other
way. The place where the strongest fellowship exists and where the
enemy cannot destroy it is the place where the cross is brought to
destroy all that is personal. Sometimes the test is closely
applied, it is not always easy to be made a doormat, to be stood
up in a corner and taken no notice of. It may be easy to be a
martyr but to be stood in a corner is more than human nature takes
kindly to. We have to be brought to a place where nothing personal
matters. We cannot see our own hearts, but when we are brought to
a place where God, whose eyes see right through, sees that every
bit of self is gone and the Lord's glory is everything, we are in
a place the devil cannot touch.
If you know the work of the Holy Spirit along that line, you will
know that He is always seeking sanctification, that is, getting
rid of every bit of self by which Satan can find ground to work.
When the Holy Spirit works, that sanctification is to the glory of
the Lord. The Lord Jesus was greatly glorified in Acts 2. Self was
gone and the cross was exalted and exemplified, it was represented
in another way.
What a mighty thing real spiritual unity is, and what a great
thing when the work of the cross lies behind it. What a glory of
triumph when that Name is brought into the need.
You and I cannot stand in the Name of Jesus and have personal
interests; this cannot go together. If any personal interests come
in, the Name of Jesus is set aside, for that Name is the Name of
Him who had no personal interests. He had personal rights, but He
put them all aside and emptied Himself and became obedient to
death, even the death of the cross. Was there ever a more
humiliating death than the cross? But in His nature there was no
trace of self, there was not found anything of personal nature in
Him. Everything in the universe will later be gathered up into the
Name of Jesus and be under His sovereign headship and He will
reign without rival. He whose right it is, not simply because God
has given Him that right and appointed Him, but because He has
attained to it. He got it by being made a curse for us. That is
the opposite to that one who sought to obtain the same end for
We shall only know the fulness and power of the Holy Spirit in
the measure that He has dealt with all the self in us. In human
nature there is a deep-rooted craving for power, this appears even
in the smallest forms; we do not like being thought nothing of. An
'inferiority complex' goes to the heart of human nature; it has
very great consequences. To consider that you are no good or
worthless, and that others will think the same, is simply another
way of the desire for power and influence. This can go as far as
despotism; it is shot through the human race.
All our ideas of power must be revolutionised when we come to the
Lord Jesus. "A Lamb in the midst of the throne". Why has a
lamb been chosen as the type of One whose destiny it is to reign,
to have universal dominion? Try what you can do with any other
creature, but take a lamb, unresisting, uncompromising,
unsuspecting, silent, yielded, in a sublime and wonderful sense a
symbol: "As a sheep to the slaughter, so opened He not His
mouth" (Isa. 53:7). Nothing about asserting rights, nothing
of personal ambition. This revolutionises our ideas of power. We
shall come to our dominion by letting go, we shall win by not
standing for our personal rights, we shall reign by being emptied
There is a battle and we shall never get through that battle
until we have been searched through and through and the fire has
discovered nothing of self.
It is not always in fire but in prostration and helplessness so
that we have to say we 'cannot' and refer it to the Lord; we cry
to the Lord that we can do nothing and in the power of the Name we
go through. That Name is perfection, it is the Name of the Lord
Jesus and that Name rested on human nature. He triumphed as a Man
in every kind of test as to whether He would act out of relation
to His Father for His own purpose and ends, but He could never be
diverted one moment from that selfless fellowship with His Father.
If there was any offer, or bribe, or suggestion, any threat or
trick, anything carrying an idea of disloyalty to His Father, then
it could not be entertained for one moment. The virtue and the
value of all that is in view in the Name.
If we would do anything, if we are to overcome in the Name, we
must come to the place where the cross is over all that we have
and are, where there is nothing of ourselves, where the cross has
taken all thoughts of self in order that the Holy Spirit may cause
all the power of that Name to operate in and through us.
How universally and wonderfully the Name of Jesus has operated in
those early days, and that is the starting-point through the ages,
but that was the ground on which that Name and the power of that
Name had to be secured.
What mischief resulted, what terrible work, because someone
wanted reputation, honour, influence and a name for himself! It is
a history of many generations of misery, and when there are any
reproductions of that act, we find loss of peace, rivalries,
The cross overcomes everything and the Lord Jesus took to glory a
mighty comprehensive triumph over all those works of the devil. He
was manifested to destroy these. Then the Holy Spirit comes to
make the same true in us, to work it out in us. The Holy Spirit
must have an emptied vessel, the cross must be its foundation, the
cross leading to the Name in its mightiest infinite potency. The
Holy Spirit is here to glorify the Name of Jesus, and that
necessitates making good in our hearts all that the Name
represents and our being in a state of utter helplessness and
abandonment to Him.