by T. Austin-Sparks
There are quite a few people here this morning who have not been with us in the earlier part, the earlier three days of this conference, and some of you who were with us on Friday and Saturday, were not able to be with us yesterday. So a little word by way of linking up will be necessary.
We are, in this time, occupied with the question in the first verse of the prophecies of Isaiah, chapter 53: "To whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?" We are putting it more in the present tense: "To whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?" We are circling round this matter of the arm of the Lord; that is, the Lord coming out in power, in the behalf of His own interests as bound up in a people of His own choice.
Now, we occupied much of the early time with the whole of that chapter, Isaiah 53, to show that in it the Cross of the Lord Jesus in all its comprehensiveness and in all its detail, was God's way of securing ground upon which He could show His arm. The Cross is the ground and the way - the only ground, the only way - by which the Lord will reveal His mighty arm.
Of course, in the first place the answer to the question is found in the Lord Jesus Himself; it is to this One described here in all the terrible details of His Cross, that the arm of the Lord has been revealed, and is still being revealed. But we have seen that this is carried over to the Lord's people and made the foundation upon which the Lord shows Himself mighty - the only ground - that is, in so far as they stand into the good of Christ crucified, the Cross of the Lord Jesus, in so far as that is made a reality in their life, individually and collectively, just so far does He reveal His arm. There's no other way.
Well, that occupied us for quite a time, all day on Friday really, and a bit of Saturday, and then yesterday (and I may say to the friends who missed yesterday that you only missed one part of this and I can give you the sum of it in a very few words). Yesterday we passed over onto the resurrection side of the Cross with Isaiah 54 and saw there the eight features of resurrection Life when the Cross is an accomplished and established fact. In that chapter we have these eight features of resurrection, the movement from barrenness to fruitfulness; from straitness to enlargement: from shame to honour; from forsakenness to fellowship; from wrath to mercy; from affliction and desolation to comfort and glory; from oppression to security; from reproach to vindication. That's all resurrection ground into which the Lord's people are brought, if, if this great reality of the Cross has become their own spiritual experience.
Now, this morning we are going on further. We are going to move into this next chapter, having, as I have said, moved from the death side or aspect of the Cross on to the positive, resurrection side, the constructive side of the Cross. We find that one thing comes very much into view in these following chapters of Isaiah. Of course, it would have been very helpful if you had had notice, and you had been reading these chapters from Isaiah 53 on to the end, and it is quite impossible for us to read the chapters through, you will have them before you, and with a rapid glance down these pages, you will recognise what I am saying to be the case, that there is one thing that comes very much into view after the Cross on resurrection ground. And that is: the recovery of God's testimony in the city and in the nations. That really is a key to these chapters of Isaiah from 53, or with 54 onward, the whole matter of the recovered testimony of the Lord in the city, because Zion is so much in view here, as you'll notice. If you just run along and circle that word 'Zion' and 'Jerusalem', you will see that that is the centre, the focal point of the testimony; but again, the nations are very much in view. That will come out more and more fully as we move on through this day, and we have one particular thing for the present hour.
As you notice when you come to chapter 55, there are two things which are marked by that chapter. In verses 1-9, the release or the freedom and the abundance of grace coming to the people of God on this ground, this resurrection ground - free and abundant grace. "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price..." and so on. This is free and abundant grace which we find on the other side of the Cross, on resurrection ground. How much of the New Testament we could just crowd into that statement!
The other thing, from verse 10 to verse 13, is the sure word: "My word shall not return unto Me void". God's sure word in verse 11. Now, by the way, we usually appropriate that promise when we are going to preach, we lay hold of it when we're going to give a message, "My word shall not return unto Me void". Well, of course, the principle is of general application; we are not wrong at any time in taking hold of that, if it is really the word of the Lord that we have to deliver, we cannot just put it on any word that we are going to say and call it, "the word of the Lord". If it is really the word of the Lord, then the principle of this promise applies.
But what I want to point out is that that is not here the particular meaning of the statement. You will notice in the eleventh verse: "So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. FOR..." for! It doesn't stop there - "ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills..." and so on. The immediate meaning of the promise of the sure and effectual word is that this people, this people had been promised by God deliverance; they had been assured that the Lord was going to bring them back from captivity. He had given His word that they should go out with joy and in peace, and in these conditions. That was the word, and that word was not going to fail. Well, that is just a parenthesis, that is by the way.
When you come to chapter 56, you find that everything centres in the house of prayer for all peoples. Verse 7: "Even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon My altar: for Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all peoples". You see you're moving in relation to the recovery of testimony, the Lord's testimony, and it is to be found in His House - 'My house of prayer'.
You pass into chapter 57, and here you have some further warnings to the Lord's people against any recurrence of that which had destroyed the testimony before. It seems necessary always for the Lord to say, and say again: "Yes, be careful of the coming back of those old things which wrecked your testimony in the past"; the things which (to use Jeremiah's phrase from the potter's house) 'marred' the vessel of testimony. This chapter has to do with warnings and with admonitions concerning the perils that are ever-present to mar the vessel and spoil testimony. Then, as you notice in verse 15, the ground of the Lord's presence and committal is mentioned. "For thus saith the Lord, the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." The conditions of the Lord's presence, in which His testimony will be reconstituted.
Chapters 58 and 59 are full of more warnings, more admonitions, and more instructions, by way of clearing the sky of the clouds that would obscure the testimony. You notice verse 8 has to do with the shining: "Then shall thy light break forth as the morning..." It is the question of this testimony that is governing everything with the Lord. These warnings and admonitions are in order that the clouds that are lingering about the sky and trying to obscure the shining, shall be removed, so that there shall be the clear shining.
All that then, leads us to chapter 60, it is preparing the way, it is all with this in view: "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." Here, then, we come to this matter of the recovered testimony; the shining light of the church in the midst, as you see, of a dark world, of very dark conditions, "For darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee." It is the church's testimony, the church's light in the midst of dark, dark conditions. That is the thing, I repeat, that is uppermost in this last section of Isaiah's prophecies. Here then the testimony is restored (verse 1), the nations are affected by it: "Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: they all gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be carried in thine arms. Then thou shalt see and be lightened, and thine heart shall tremble and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be turned unto thee, the wealth of the nations shall come unto thee".
When the testimony is clear, when the shining is undimmed, when God has in His House, in His people, conditions that answer to the Cross, to all that the Cross means, then you have this effect all around: this effect all around, the nations are affected, the peoples are touched; something happens, and there comes back to the church a wealth, an enrichment, a fulness if the Lord has things according to His mind. Or, in other words, if He really does have His testimony without clouds, without shadow, in fulness, undimmed, in the midst of His people, in the vessel of His House, then the nations feel the effect of that, the impact of that, and the church itself is greatly enriched. "Surely the isles shall wait for me, the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, for the name of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel, because He hath glorified thee". The enrichment of the church.
Now this, we know, is Old Testament prophecy. We recognise that the prophet was saying more than he knew - that there were two things in this. There was history that was in the making so far as Israel was concerned, but you see all the way through this a pointing on (in chapter 53) to the Lord Himself; to the Messiah, to the Cross, and on into what follows in resurrection. There's that other side of this, that spiritual side, which the Holy Spirit always saw and had in view in history. There was the temporal and the passing, but there was the spiritual and the eternal.
And so we are, in every connection, as we have seen so far, in every connection we are 'handed on' so to speak, by these prophecies, to the New Testament. And the counterpart of what we have been saying is found particularly in one letter in the New Testament. It is the second letter to the Corinthians. That is the counterpart of all this about the recovered testimony.
The great issue in both of the letters to the Corinthians was that of the testimony of the church in the city and in the world. When we read those letters, of course, we become very much taken up with all the detail: in the first letter, the miserable detail, the many things that are being dealt with, it's not a happy and pleasant letter to read and perhaps you have given it up many times before you have got to the end, not understanding much, and not liking a good deal more. It's like that. But you've got to stand back from it, and ask: what is it all about, after all? Let's not upset ourselves about all the details, for the moment; they all go to make up some, one particular issue. What is the issue?
Well, the issue of Corinthians is the Lord's testimony in the church, in the city and in the nation. Make no mistake about that. You see, there is very much said in that letter about the world, and how the church in Corinth was failing to overpower the world, because the world had already overpowered it from the inside. The testimony was destroyed on the inside, and therefore there was no real impact upon the world. The natural and the carnal man had found his way into the church, and the church therefore had lost its testimony. It will always be like that if anything of the natural man and the carnal man makes inroads, into the church in any locality, you may say goodbye to the testimony in that church, and in that locality, in that city, and, so far as that company is concerned, in relation to the world. The testimony goes out when the natural man comes in.
In the first letter, then, it was the whole question, not merely of local conditions, but of local conditions destroying the testimony of the church in the city. But in the second letter, this comes out on the positive side. In the first letter all those conditions destroying testimony had to be dealt with, have to be mentioned, exposed, uncovered, and brought to the Cross of Christ crucified. Between the two letters to the Corinthians, something happened; something has happened, a change has taken place.
May I pause there to say this again: what we have here in 1 Corinthians is Satan's second great strategy toward paralysing the church's testimony. His first strategy, of course, is open persecution, that's his first line. That was his first line with the church, open persecution to try to destroy, obliterate the church's testimony in Jerusalem; in the city, and in the nations. It failed; it failed! But Satan comes back again along a second line of strategy and that is, to bring in men according to his own mind right onto inside of the church - the natural man, the carnal man. Carnal elements; they serve the devil's purpose so well; they effect this very thing that the devil is after which he cannot, cannot succeed by open persecution, that he comes round, as it were, to the back door, and he gets carnal and natural elements in by the back door - and that's done it! The testimony goes out; it's destroyed.
But first, as I was saying, between these two letters something happened. You look at chapter 7 of the second letter and you see: "Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye were made sorry unto repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly sort, that ye might suffer loss by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation, a repentance which bringeth no regret". The apostle has quite a bit to say about what had evidently taken place after his first letter. There was repentance; there was judging of themselves and of the conditions; there was, as he says, 'a clearing of themselves'. There was a real distress and exercise about their condition, it had taken place between the two letters.
We may say that they had brought it to the Cross, or they had brought the Cross to it; something had happened which had changed the situation. And now, now that things had been dealt with on the inside, the whole matter of the testimony to the world, in the city, could be reconsidered, and a counter-attack could be made by the church upon the enemy and upon the world. And that is what is in this second letter - the recovery of the testimony in the locality and out to the world. It all brings out into very clear relief the constituents of effective testimony - or, to use Isaiah's word: clear shining, clear shining.
And in this letter you see some of the things that he says about those constituents of effective testimony. In chapter 2 verse 4, let us look at some of the things that Paul says about this: "For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be made sorry, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly to you". That is a constituent of effective testimony, and clear shining. What is it? The value of triumphant love.
This clearly had its two sides in the apostle for if ever a man might have found his love exhausted, the apostle might well have been that man, where these Corinthians were concerned; for he did say: "The more I love you, the less I be loved". Well, that's enough to put any man off isn't it? To find that all his outpouring and outgoing and giving in love only means that less love and less love comes back; love is being withdrawn. And what a situation, what a situation he had to meet, yet his love triumphed. His love triumphed. But it seemed to have had an effect in them too: and something of what he had written in his first letter, chapter 13, seems to have come about. Yes, the triumph of 1 Corinthians 13 can be traced in this second letter to some very real degree - the love that "suffereth long, and is kind", and so on - the constituent of triumphant love.
That is, we might very well say, the first and primary factor in effective testimony. The Lord Jesus said that: "By this shall all men know... if you have love one for another". This is the testimony; this is how it will be known - if we have love one for another. Dear friends, it does matter very much whether the world is affected by what it sees. It does! We cannot close the doors on ourselves, and say: "Oh, well, the world in any case is always inimical, it's always hostile, it's always unsympathetic; why take any account of it? Let's shut ourselves in and get on with our job." You can't do that; you can't do that, you cannot ignore the world.
You are here, we are here, to affect the world - that is the only reason why the Lord leaves us here unless it is to train us for the hereafter. But certainly it is a very real reason for our being here, not just to live here, cloistered and closed in, ignoring the world, indifferent to the world, and saying, "Well, the world doesn't want us, let it get on with it, we'll just live our lives to ourselves and get on with our business." No! Our business is to affect the world; we cannot separate and detach ourselves from the world and the world is going to find out, in some way, what is happening inside the church. The world will know the condition of the church: make no mistake about it. What's happening in your local assembly you cannot close doors and windows on that, and keep it in! All around will know; it will become known.
And I say it is a most important thing that the world should be affected, not by what it hears us say, but by what it sees in us. And the only thing that it can really see, that will affect it, will be the mutual love which we have one for another. "By this shall all men know... if ye have love one for another." See, one of the most effective ways of the testimony is not preaching, it's loving! It is! If that is there it will do far more than our preaching. But it will give a tremendous backing up to our preaching. All our preaching must be supported by this one thing behind: a strong triumphant love in the midst of the Lord's people.
Triumphant love is the first constituent of recovered, established testimony, or the clear shining.
The second thing in testimony is the value of suffering with Christ. You notice here if you look at chapter 1 (and there is much in this second letter about this matter) chapter 1, verse 4: "Who comforteth us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort them that are in any affliction, through the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound unto us, even so our comfort also aboundeth through Christ".
The Tremendous Value and Potency of Suffering with Christ
First of all, the return it brings in our discovery of the consolations of Christ. You know, it is a very important thing, in a world like this, that we should have some comfort to give. Yes, there's a lot, a great need for comfort, both in the church and outside of the church, a great ministry of comfort. You come back to Isaiah: "Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith the Lord" - the ministry of comfort. But you can't fulfil a ministry of comfort just in nice platitudes; getting alongside in difficult and troubled situations and saying nice things! If somebody is really in trouble and distress, and you begin to talk to them, the first thing they have a right to say to you is: "Well, what do you know about it? Have you ever been in my position, my condition? Have you ever had any deep, deep suffering? What do you know about it?"
And perhaps it is one of those sovereign, providential ways of God in allowing His people to know much suffering, that they may derive this wonderful value of the consolations of Christ, in order that they may have that with which to comfort others. See, after all, the testimony is that, isn't it? It's the testimony of real comfort - to the suffering, to the sorrowing. And what have you got to give? Well, "that we may comfort with the comfort wherewith we ourselves have been comforted of God." And if there is anyone here today, who is having a difficult, painful, suffering time, going through a 'dark patch', might I try to transfigure it for you, by saying to you: just look at it in another way. Say: "I can make a discovery of the Lord in this which will be stock-in-trade for future service. I can find some comfort from the Lord in my distress and trouble, which is going to be of tremendous value to somebody else or to some others in the future." That is how ministry is made, dear friends!
The man or the woman who is ambitious to minister, to be 'in the ministry' - to be speaking and taking meetings and going about doing that sort of thing - who has not gone through depths, and found the Lord in the depths, and has something which has been brought up from the depths, of some 'pearl of great price', that man or that woman's ministry is merely professional; it's artificial, not real. The true minister of Jesus Christ will be taken down to the depths, to discover there, right down there, these pearls, these precious things, for the sake of the church. Did you notice that phrase in Isaiah "the abundance of the sea shall be turned unto you"? The abundance of the sea. Yes, but the sea can be a very deep place you know, and a very dark place, a very terrible place, but there are treasures there. That is the way of testimony.
But then notice in verse 8 of this first chapter: "For we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning our affliction which befell us in Asia, we were weighed down exceedingly, beyond our power, insomuch that we despaired even of life: yea, we ourselves have had the answer of death within ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead". This is how ministry is made - when you have got a real experience of, and testimony to, the power of His resurrection. When everything seemed hopeless - everything seemed hopeless in your own personal situation; everything seemed hopeless in your company of believers - and the providence of God led you that way to make a discovery of the power of His resurrection, "that you should not trust in yourself but in God who raises the dead". And this, this constitutes the ministry. If you have gone that way, you are a 'minister' alright; you need not take the name, you need not be set apart for anything. You are a minister if you know the power of His resurrection, you have got something that is most, most greatly needed: the knowledge of that mighty power of resurrection.
Number there, in chapter 4 this whole section from verse 7 to verse 18: "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves; we are pressed on every side, yet not straitened; perplexed, yet not unto despair; pursued, yet not forsaken; smitten down, yet not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the putting to death of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you" and so on to verse 18. And you'll notice that this section has as its real message the value, the tremendous value, of the quality of brokenness and weakness.
We, perhaps, don't put much value on brokenness and weakness, but here, very much value is put upon that. "We have this treasure in vessels of fragile clay." And what the apostle says on, in that section, in effect, is this: "We are broken, broken men; we are weak vessels. The one thing about us, more than anything else, is our capacity for being broken - it seems that we have just been made to be broken." Yes, he is speaking about brokenness, about weakness, and then he is saying that there is an infinite value attached to that.
In the first letter to the Corinthians, the church was not broken. It was not broken, it was hard; it was trying to hold itself intact; it was proud; it was judging; it was cruel; it was unkind - anything but broken. But now, look again in this second letter, and you'll find there's a softness about the church: it's broken, it's melted, it's soft! And you can talk about 'ministry' now; you can talk about 'testimony' now; you couldn't talk about that before. No, no. Until the vessel is broken, there's nothing to flow out; it all flows out when the vessel is broken, that is the way. Well, the apostle is saying that that was how it was with him personally (and of course he is, by inference, passing it on to the church at Corinth) and saying our weakness and our brokenness is of tremendous importance and value, it's only then that the real treasure comes out, shows itself, manifests itself.
Do you talk about 'the testimony'? Have you got a phraseology of 'testimony'? Do you talk about 'ministry'? Have you got ideas about 'ministry'? My dear friends, the Holy Spirit is saying to you and to me this morning, that testimony and ministry is only real when it comes from broken men and women. Make no mistake about it. I know it is the hard way, but it's the only way. You have no right to minister, you have no right to talk about 'the testimony' or about 'the church', 'the vessel' or any of this sort of thing, unless you know something of this brokenness, and this weakness.
You see how true it is to what we read in Isaiah. The Lord says: "In My house of prayer, My house of prayer shall be a house of prayer for all nations, but thus saith the Lord, the high and holy One who inhabiteth eternity, also, I am with the one who is of a broken, a contrite spirit". You'll find Him at converted Corinth, chastened Corinth. You feel in this second letter the unction of the Spirit, don't you? The beauty of the Lord, something new is here that you missed in the first letter. Oh yes: the Lord is here now, because they are broken! And it is very true that that unction of the Lord is only found with men and women who really have had a breaking, an emptying, and a weakening, and have lost all confidence in their own flesh, and all their own self-strength has gone. That is the way of the shining; that is the way of recovered testimony.
Shall we look just at this chapter 6 and verse 11: "Our mouth is open unto you, O Corinthians, our heart is enlarged. Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own affections. Now for a recompense in like kind (I speak as unto my children), be ye also enlarged".
What was the cause of the lost, the broken-down testimony in Corinth? They were too small; they were too little, they were too peevish. Paul said that they were like babes, he had to treat them like babes - they were peevish! Children can be like that, can't they? They're too small, too little, too petty: little things are far too important. He says: "Be enlarged, be enlarged! Let your hearts be enlarged! Be bigger people - really big, bigger people. Be too big to come down to, to stoop to those mean things of 1 Corinthians. Don't be contemptible, but without self-importance, self-inflation, have big thoughts, have big feeling, have a large heart - love, love!"
What does love do? Love "rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but in the truth. Love believeth all things", it's a large heart to do that, isn't it? Never ready to believe the wrong report, but always prepared to believe that there's something, even in the wrong report, that may be set off against it - that there may be another explanation. Love rejoices not when the one who has done the harm suffers for it - that's paltry. This is where even David is such a rebuke to us, isn't he? Look at him: what a life Saul gave him during those years! What a life: hunted him, he said, like a flea, like a partridge; chased and pursued him from rock to rock, from cave to cave, in the wilderness, to get him and destroy him; gave him no peace day nor night - determined, determined, that David should die. And the day came when, in one of these pursuits, Saul, with his armour bearer and his armour and his army - his army to catch a man! - arrived in a certain place at night, and lay down to sleep not knowing that David was so near, right on the spot. I don't know that he would have slept if he had known! He laid down and his armour bearer laid down and they all went to sleep. And David came with his men and looked, looked on him. And David's man said: "Now is your chance - God, God has given him into your hands!"
You know, if only you can get Divine support for something, that's all you want, isn't it? You only want someone to say, "It's the Lord's will", and how you'll go for it if it serves your own interests! If it is something that you would very much like, and someone says "Well, the Lord would have you do that", it's a very strong temptation, isn't it, when it's "supported" by the Lord?
And so, this one said: "The Lord has delivered him into your hand, now is your chance! Let me smite him, and I won't have to smite him twice! One blow, and I will finish the whole thing for you!" David said: "No. No! God forbid that I should touch the Lord's anointed!" That's bigness, you know, to his own hurt, yes, to his own hurt. He knew not how many more years of suffering he would have, he accepted them. He could have ended all that in one blow, but he said: "No, no, I must not touch the Lord's anointed. The Lord's anointed may be wrong, he may be doing the wrong thing; I may be in the right and he may be in the wrong, nevertheless, it is not for me to touch him. I leave him with the Lord; I mustn't speak against him, I mustn't lift my hand against him. God forbid that I should touch the Lord's anointed." I say: that's bigness, isn't it? That's spiritual greatness! "Oh, in a like recompense... be ye also enlarged." The Lord make us big people, in this spiritual sense.
Well, to sum up all this, all this as to the constituents of recovered testimony, the testimony in any locality, the testimony in the world, it must be born out of these things.
First of all, what we know of Divine comfort in suffering.
Then, what we have known of resurrection when all has seemed to be hopeless - that is individual, that is collective, that is local.
Then, what we have learned of Divine love through our own failure. I am sure that was a great factor in Corinth, you know. Oh, their recognition of their failure. They went down, right down in the dust, under the sense of what a miserable failure they had been as a local company. Down in the dust and they discovered love pouring through this apostle, pouring from the heart of God to them. They discovered love, when they discovered and realised what a failure they themselves had been and that constituted their new testimony, that discovery.
Then what brokenness and enlargement of heart has come through the consciousness of weakness. I suppose, if any people ought to have had a consciousness of their own weakness, it was those people at Corinth. There are indications in this second letter that they themselves came almost to the point of despair about themselves - this consciousness of their own failure, and of their own weakness, of their own untrustworthiness. I think it overwhelmed them, it overflowed them. But through that they came to this enlargement of heart. An enlargement of heart - that's the way.
If you and I are smitten with the consciousness of our own failure, we are not going to be petty and mean toward other people's failures; we are going to be larger of heart where other people's wrongs are concerned, very much more patient, very much more understanding. We are going to say: "Well, they have failed where I have had to walk very carefully, and there goes myself, but for the grace of God!" That's largeness of heart, you see, true brokenness.
And then finally, what utterness for the Lord as the result of a sense of responsibility for His honour in the locality and in the world. I think that is what arises here: a sense of tremendous responsibility for the honour of the Lord. I'm quite sure if that were not present, then all the other means nothing. It must have been brought home to them that they were letting the Lord down in the city, in the locality, they were letting the Lord down. Their situation was just bringing dishonour to Him. And that provoked a sense of responsibility: "Oh, oh, we cannot afford to let the Lord down! Whatever it costs, we must put things right amongst ourselves, for the Lord's sake, for the sake of the name of the Lord." There is much in Isaiah's later chapters, isn't there, about the name of the Lord in Zion, when recovered; it's just that, the name of the Lord. And so, this sense of responsibility for His Name and for His honour, in that vicinity, in that city and in the world, produced an utterness, a new utterness for the Lord.
We come back to our question: "To whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?" Well, to those, to such - it's like that. You see, this is all the outcome, the outworking of the Cross. It all comes out of Isaiah 53, this all follows: recovered testimony of this kind is the result of the Cross. The Cross is always the basis of everything. And in the everything of testimony - the testimony of our lives, the testimony of the church - locally and universally.