The Fruit of the Fellowship of His Sufferings (continued)
The disclosure comes out in the other way, thank God. Many hearts are revealed as to what they have of love for the Lord when His children are going through bad times in fellowship with Him. But whichever way it may issue, the principle operates. If we are, like Mary, brought into the sharing of His travail, it has a tremendous effect upon other people. The fact is that it has always been by way of the fellowship of His sufferings that other hearts have been touched. If the Lord takes you into a deep way of suffering with Himself, in sharing something of the cost of the coming of the Kingdom, that in itself is a testimony which touches hearts; whereas we may stand and preach and nothing happens. When something happens to us, when we go into the depths, something begins to happen in other people.
So, servant of the Lord, realize that the Holy Spirit works upon other lives through your suffering with the Lord, and takes you into suffering for this very purpose. Hearts are disclosed. The worldly heart will be uncovered by the Cross of the Lord Jesus. Paul said, "Far be it from me to glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, though which the world hath been crucified unto me, and I unto the world" (Galatians 6:14). The Cross finds out how much worldliness there is in our hearts and brings it to light. By worldliness we mean, of course, the standards of this world, its ways, its opinions, and so on.
The Cross finds out what is in our hearts as to ourselves - how much selfishness there is in us. You cannot know the Cross in any real way and be a really selfish person. The Cross will expose all selfishness and demand the setting aside of all that is self; self-interest, self-consideration, self-pity and every form of self comes to light by the Cross.
Well, this is the particular ministry of any end-time, which is also always a time of transition.
We have seen that Simeon represented a remnant clinging to a heavenly vision in a time when what was of God had become earth-bound and largely traditional and formal; that he gathered up in himself all the fragmentary, diverse and partial revelations of God's speaking; that he embodied the idea of spiritual maturity, while at the same time he signified that which had waxed old and was nigh unto passing away. But, with all, he linked on with God's new and full manifestation as he held the infant Christ in his arms. Thus he showed by declaration and prophecy the immense issues bound up the Christ, and the course and cost of a ministry of "the fullness of Christ." Here we leave the matter for the contemplation of all such as look for "that blessed hope," and, in looking, ask what the Lord would have as the ministry of this present transitional phase which will issue in His appearing.