Chapter 24: Eyes for the Field!
FOR our gatherings to be full of Life and popping with the revelation of the Son through the gifts we bring, we must practically involve ourselves in “bringing many sons to Glory.” God will see to it that things grow stale without this. Thank Him for it!
Remember what Jesus said about His Presence in gatherings? “When you gather yourselves together in My Name, I will come into your midst.” There is an interesting and helpful Truth that you should know about gathering (or praying) “in His Name.” If we’re not “called according to His purposes,” living for what He lived for (“seeking and saving that which is lost,” living to “preach good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom for the prisoners…”), then we’re not meeting “in His Name.” Remember that gathering “in His Name” is a prerequisite for His Presence (1Cor.5:4; Mat.16:18).
Meeting “in His Name” does not mean putting a sign over the door. It means that whatever Jesus represents, we also represent. We are investing our lives in the character of Christ. We are actively and continually seeking His purposes and giving Him honor with each of our lives. When you pray a prayer, and finish with “in Jesus’ name, Amen,” it is not a fancy way to say, “Roger, over and out.” What you are really saying is (if your heart and your understanding are in order): “To You be the glory, honor and power forever and ever. This is for You; not my will but Yours be done. I’m wearing Your Name. It is Your Will that I represent, not my own motives, and so I ask with the authority of the Name of Christ. For His sake, not mine. So be it!”
And so it must be when we gather, representing what He represents, or He is not “in our midst.” If He is not truly in our midst, the “Power of the Lord Jesus present” (1Cor.5:4, 4:20) must be artificially simulated by the props and programs, the shrewdly crafted “worship experience” and the powerful “sermon.”
If I sent you to the bank with a check that I had signed, you could take money out of the bank, right? You’re my representative; there is an ambassadorship going on. You are “authorized,” endued with “authority” in my name. And when you pray in His Name, you are investing yourself in His Character and His Purpose.
You can pray selfishly and never get an answer.
“You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
“Wait a minute,” you say. “I thought I could ask anything I wanted in His Name and it would be received!” The difference is that when you ask according to His Will, He hears you (1 John 5) — and that’s when you are truly praying in His Name. You are coming as an authentic representative of HIS Kingdom. That’s what it means to pray or to meet together “in His Name.”
If we are gathered in His Name, we are gathered for His Purpose. What is His Purpose? Among His prime purposes was His devotion to “seek and save that which is lost.” His heart was to “bring many sons to Glory.” His purpose was to preach good news to the poor and recovery of sight to the blind, and declare the year of the Lord’s favor. We’re not meeting in His Name if our purpose for existing isn’t the same as His — to bring many sons to Glory (not even just to salvation, but to a full expression of His Life — to “Glory”).
If loving Him and what He loves is not our reason for living, our meetings will surely grow to be stale and empty (unless pumped up with flesh, drama, and programs). You may notice that if you’re not reaching out to people and living the Christ‑life outside of meetings, they get more and more boring, quickly. And internal strife begins to be manifested. Inwardness always brings about a corrupted mutation eventually. These heartbreaking developments are a gift from God — flags along the road to let us know of our deviation from His Course. We are only meeting in His Name as far as we are serving His Purposes. And He only promises to be in our midst when we are meeting in His Name for His current Intents. Does that make sense? And when He’s not with us, wherever we are is a lousy place to be. You know what I mean.
When He is in our midst, there will always be surprises, special joys. Maybe a brother or sister who is generally relatively quiet will burst forth with something from Heaven (a song they’ve written, a poem, an unexpected Word to the weary, a Faith‑filled confession and expression of praise). Often Light from God’s realm will expose and reveal in spectacular ways that set long‑bound prisoners free! “Times of refreshing come from repentance.” When He is in our midst, we may see conversions in a mighty way. Or be lifted with great laughter and jubilation. We may be visited by “an angel unawares.” There may be a “sending out” of the entire church (the adults) into the bars on a Friday night. Or, with the young ones, to the alleys and sewer grates where the street people make their homes. God has been gracious to allow His Saints in many cities and countries to see these things, and many more…. What else is out there for His Church, wherever she has chosen His Best?! I really do want to find out. God help us and sustain us.
Christ “circulates amongst the Lampstands” (Rev. 2:1‑5; Mat. 18:20). In Ephesus they were doing some wonderfully “scriptural” things. They were benevolent, evangelistic and energetic in all of their ways. Great stuff was going on. However, they lost their first love and their Lampstand was going to be taken away. Christ only circulates amongst the Lampstands. Although the meeting may have been scriptural, they were going to lose their right to be the church of Jesus Christ because their first love wasn’t Jesus Himself. They were going to lose their right to have Christ circulate in their midst…and that could happen with a 100% “scriptural” meeting. Without Jesus truly being here, this church will become a yucky “religious” place to be. And I, for one, wouldn’t want to be a part of anything that He is not a part of.
Our “Bread,” our Manna, our nourishment from God is to “do the Will of the One Who has sent us, and to FINISH His Work.” The Power of God is found only by gathering “in His Name” — existing for the sole purpose of doing His Will! Plug in!
67 Somehow, some have thought that if we have the right components of worship, “worship” in the “scriptural” way, God will automatically be there. Don’t be fooled! Our worship can be 100% “scriptural” and even “exciting” and Jesus not be there. That is, if we’re not meeting in HIS Name and called according to HIS purposes. Back
68 The booklet Apostolic Foundations and Apostolic Patterns goes into a significant amount of detail about this matter, and what a “church,” a “Lampstand,” truly is, from God’s perspective. Back
69 John 4:32‑35; Mat.4:4; Philemon 6; Acts 1:8. Back