Part Two: Conscripts In The Army
We have come to the point of why our magazine is named THE INTERCESSOR. If you are a co-knower of the glorious truth of who we are (see part one), then you are obsessed. Only the Spirit, however, reveals and confirms this to each of us. Whether you feel it or not, the One who is the real you compels you to have one basic inner purpose. It is Paul’s "this one thing I do" purpose that all the redeemed know and be who they are: He as them. In our feelings we may question our purpose, but we walk discerning soul feelings from the spirit facts.
Thus we are driven persons, and must be, for He has no other nature than the lamb for others and the lion of faith conquests. This is the divine nature we partake of. His one delight is "for the joy set before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame" (Heb. 12:2). Therefore, it is our delight. But this means that, in His own original ways, He has divorced us from not only our former sin habits but also from the domination of good self-loves. Our family, friends, possessions, physical health, self interests, and hobbies do not master us. This looks like hate to those who do not yet themselves share in the nature of divine love. We are taken over as knowers by "If any man hate not … he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:25-35).
If you are among us knowers, the Spirit has been doing His confirming, enduing work in you. You are a Luke 14 disciple, now being turned into an apostle. Move in by faith, which then becomes substance: don’t slip back into mixing such faith with the hard-slogging self effort to attain it (back into independent self outlook). Boldly dare to align yourself, not with the redeemed, even Spirit-gifted, brethren of the Corinthian church, who were delighting in their new found riches (1 Cor. 4:8), but align yourself with the Spirit-obsessed few involved in the apostolic life of 1 Cor. 4:9-13. Wise? No, fools. Honorable? No, despised. Strong? No, weak. "Reviled, we bless; persecuted, we suffer it; defamed, we intreat; we are made the filth of the world." Yes, "death in us, but life in you" And Paul warns those Corinthian brethren (4:14-16) lest they miss out. But again remember it is the Spirit who alone takes us this horrendous, no, glorious way. All that is required of the totally earnest is the declared and persisted-in faith in Jesus’ heart cry of John 7:38: "He that believes, out of his belly shall flow rivers …." If we believe, the Spirit will see to the outflow. But we must believe with the same total heart believing which took us into John 3:16 and on into Gal. 2:20 – the belief which is the leap, once for A.
Army of Intercessors
What then does it mean to be conscripts of this army of intercessors whose inner ears have been attuned to the Spirit’s battle cry? Paul uses many battle terms such as "war a good war-fare" (1 Tim. 1:18) and "fight the good fight of faith" (1 Tim. 6:12). Paul gives us three challenging standards in 2 Tim. 2:3-7. We are soldiers who, though involved in the daily life of home and profession, are so disentangled in spirit that our real absorption is fighting God’s battles. We are in an athletic contest, and know what victory we are out to gain and how to gain it. We know our skills and how to apply them. We are hardworking farmers who fulfill all the necessities for obtaining a good crop and obtain it. Dedicated soldiers, trained athletes, and hard working farmers. And all of this laboring and striving is not by that old, false self effort, but by an endless upsurge of another stream of inner energy (Col 1:29).
This is the real meaning of the word "intercessor." It is a different category from what is often referred to as intercessory prayer. It includes prayer, but the quality of prayer that "gets there." An intercessor is a person wholly and specifically commissioned to gain a certain objective by the Spirit (Isa. 59:16, 20; Ezek. 22:30). The intercessor accepts his commission, which will cost him all he has to fulfill it. He will participate in the law of the harvest by which a corn or wheat must die before it rises to give life to others (John 12:24).
There is a daily dying, Paul says, in meeting the normal negative pressures of life. We die daily in Christ to the negative stirrings of temptation toward independent self outlook: in their place the risen life of Christ is "made manifest in our bodies." "We are cast down, but not destroyed" and all Paul’s list in 2 Cor. 4:7-10. This, however, is not intercession, but the daily overcoming walk.
Intercession is found in 2 Cor. 4:11 where we are always "delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake." That means some specific form of death produced in us, but life in others (2 Cor. 4:12). This commission is specifically for me (though it may be along with others), and I know it. And I know the difficulties or impossibilities that confront me in it. For Moses it was going back to face Pharaoh: "Come now and I will send you" (Ex. 3:10). God said to Gideon, "Go in this thy might and thus shalt thou save Israel" (Judges 6:14). John was "a man sent from God" (John 1:6). And so on throughout the history of the true Church of Christ. Read E. H. Broadbent’s Pilgrim Church, which we
boldly claim contains present day members in both suffering and action. The size and type of commission has nothing to do with being commissioned. You simply know what your present intercession is.
Prayer of Faith
Certainly it does include intercessory prayer. But now it is that Elijah–like prayer of faith set forth in James 5:17, 18. The emphasis is on the faith. It is no longer just the walk of faith by which we are in our fixed union relationship with Christ. It is the developed faith which now is stretched to inwardly see God as meaning evil (Gen. 50:20; Acts 4:24-28). Prayer has then moved on beyond its former basis of making requests. Now our first inquiry of God is "what are you up to?" how-ever dark the apparent situation may be. For behind the devil’s fiercest attacks are God’s meaningful purposes. Then, after inwardly discerning His purpose, what is our desire? When that is settled, we express our desire by a word of faith which declares that it has been received. This is the "whatsoever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive" of Mark 11:24. And with that word of faith, there is the patient persistence of faith which anticipates and watches for the substance. Repetitive thanksgiving is more the occupation of our praying. This is the authority of the intercessor who is king as well as priest.
So many of us have learned inter-cession from Rees Howells. There was one famous occasion when he and all with him, and indeed all Europe, were confronted with an advancing and victorious Hitler who would surely cut the world off from the spread of the gospel. After many sessions of prayer, he announced, "Prayer has failed. It must be intercession." Through the intercessions which followed, many of them with fasting (see Doris Ruscoe’s small book, The Intercession of Rees Howells), the word of faith came fully through that Hitler was defeated and would be destroyed with all his power. After this word was spoken, the celebration of victory was publicly held and described in the newspapers. Yet that was the very time in which Hitler’s panzers overwhelmed Holland and Belgium, seized France, and threatened Britain! What an absurd celebration! Most English Christians dismissed Rees Howells as a madman and a ridiculous false prophet. But he and those with him persisted, though it first cost him his reputation and ultimately led to, I believe, his early death. And today? Where are the dictators? Was the world ever so free and so responsive by millions to the gospel in nearly all the nations? The greatest harvesting in history is now being reaped. There it is: commission, cost, and completion.
With the inner warfare and victory of faith, there is the body action in some form by which we "fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ for His body’s sake" (Col. 1:24). There are physical martyrdom of intercessors through the centuries. But death there will always be, which is the negative pressure that intensifies living faith. "A body thou has prepared me" and "we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ" (Heb. 10:5, 10). So the intercessor will have all sorts of costly bodily activity. It may be the willing service of the toiling missionaries, the building teams, the editors and secretaries, the open homes, or the sacrifices of time and money.
Faith in action and persistent labor bring the vital outcome, apart from which there is not an intercession. This is the GAINING of the intercession (Heb. 7:25). Prayer may. Intercession MUST. We intercede to see it come into being. Yes, we see it. In a sense we all die in faith, not having received the promises. But we surely received the promises, and we surely receive a good portion enroute, as in Hebrews 11. We are "in it to win it," as my friend Roy Putnam said. Let us make no mistake about that. Intercession is gained. We do not enter into and recognize it as a Spirit’s commission to us unless we have that settled in our conviction. We are called to see it through. Such was
God’s word to Joshua when He commisioned him: "Then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success" (Josh. 1:8).
To Our Summit
So let us have it clear that my sole purpose for writing this is to call us who are knowers on to our summit. It has been necessary for us to first know the total truth of how we are fully liberated selves in Christ, and can be and ARE ourselves. That was why I gave the title Yes I Am to my last book and not the title Yes He Is, which would have had more appearance of giving our Lord Jesus Christ all the glory. Why? Because His whole heart satisfaction and purpose is fulfilled when we, His co-sons and brethren, ARE HE in all His love actions by our human selves, yet in such a paradoxical (and we might also see it as humorous) method that it is WE IN ACTION, while it is really He!!!
Only when that is our fixed, eternal inner knowing by His Spirit revelation and we are happily settled into it, do we move on to our full functioning as intercessors, fathers, soldiers in battle, laborers, harvesters, and all the rest of it. The real purpose of all of us linked together in this high calling, and expressed in the INTERCESSOR magazine, is to see all settled in the recognition that this is who we now are by grace.
It does help to know that we actually start being intercessors from the time of our becoming new creations in Christ. I have written a series on my own life experiences, covering my ninety years, to illustrate this fact. From my first born-again days in 1914, at the start of World War I, there was that first step of giving Christ the lord-ship over my body interests, as well as my heart love. I faced a choice when my girlfriend did not want what had happened to me in finding Christ. I could not have two masters. After a three week battle, He won, of course. From the moment on, His intercessor Spirit grabbed me. I had no further say in it. Perhaps the reason why more born-again brethren are not grabbed by the intercessory life is that some have not made that initial, total body cornmital. Jesus said, "If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out!" (Mt. 5:29). So from that moment onward, I was caught. "Once caught, no escape!"
In my five army years, I had to be more a witness for Christ than a British soldier (though I did my soldier’s job also!). In my college days I had to be a witness, which brought the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship into being. Then I had to join C.T. Studd in the heart of Africa. There was always a "have to," a compulsion, and my pressing through by grace was often with painful labor. I was an intercessor without knowing who I really was.
But how different when, after those first years, the Spirit led me, in the Congo forests, into the total truths of who we are. Since then, and largely through my close fellowship with Rees Howells, as well as C.T. Studd, I learned the Scriptural and Spirit meaning of being an intercessor, not a hit and miss one. I know now where my fifth, and probably final, intercession is – our present high calling. Thankfully, there is an enlarging number of us, including many of you who read this. We are bringing within reach of the whole redeemed body of Christ a total, Biblical, Spirit confirmed reality: the news that we were formerly Satan-I, and now through Calvary are Christ-I. Now we enjoy the right human self sufficiency – the right "yes I am" – in our commissioned intercessions, having moved from little children, to young men, to fathers, and thus co-saviours.
The Last Stronghold
We know there will be suffering and opposition. Satan’s last stronghold of resistance is the lie that we are independent selves, functioning in our Christian living and service by our helping the Lord, our counting on Him, our working for Him, and our battling areas of sin and failure. It is THE LIE. But that Use belief in independent self is not easily given up. It is the last lying deceit to be recognized and died to. It is the false idea THAT WE HAVE GOOD SELVES THAT CAN WORK FOR HIM. In actuality, a so-called good self is still Satan’s lie of independent self, which he has tricked us into believing is our own self-nature. Of course, there is no such thing. This is the final stronghold to be captured, seen in Romans 7. Only the desperate, who will take no substitute, are conditioned to discover what the Spirit showed Paul in those Romans 6-8 chapters. Therefore, we know that we shall, and already frequently do, meet whith cries such as: dangerous heresy; keep away from such teaching; pre-serve our human nature; and be a good self!
But knowing as we know, we press on, and the glory outweighs the negative oppositions. But how we welcome the brotherhood in the Spirit of any who know, share and teach this total reality, though we have to say that at present we don’t know many. Coming to the edge, but not taking the leap won’t do. There are many victorious life teachers who take us a good way, but not the final way of from Satan-I to Christ-I, which is the total leap of faith.
For this we continue our forward march and welcome all who join arms with us. Much of our message has to be for folks to find the truth of the young man stage: who we really are. Therefore, we spend much time on sharing and teaching just that. Yet we are, by infinite grace, the fatherhood intercessors in its full meaning-the Spirit by us. We are Royal Priests. Our royalty is in knowing we are the faith operators; our priesthood as lambs is in bringing many sons to glory.
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 11 No 2
- God’s Obsession
- Isaiah 45:5-8
- Editor’s Note
- Moments with Meryl
- Excerpts from The Intercession of Rees Howells
- Thoughts on Abraham
- The Single Eye
- The Letter to the Romans
- My Story
- Questions & Answers
- The Key To Everything
- God’s Promises
- The Mailbox
- New Light on the Twelve Steps
- Tape Talk
- Words to Live By