It is not what we are, what we do, at all; it is the Lord coming into evidence. That is the service of the Lord. The Lord is coming in by us in this representative way, and it is all Himself. That is the Holy Spirit’s method; that is the Holy Spirit’s way of doing things. That is the service of the Lord. Oh, it is not our going out to preach this or that or another doctrine or all the doctrines of Christ. It is that we are where we are in the will of God – as being there for Christ, implying Christ, signifying Christ, and if that is true, hell will be provoked, for hell is ever-determined that Christ is not going to have His place. What we are saying is that it is a matter, not of office, but qualification, and qualification is spiritual. Spiritual qualification is that, by the anointing of the Spirit; Christ is brought in by us and this is representation.
We can apply that. Of course, it begins with the individual. It has got to be true in the case of every one of us individually just where we are. That has got to be the meaning of our lives. We call ourselves ‘Christians’. What is a Christian? — An anointed one, and anointing means God by His Spirit is there.
But of course the Holy Spirit does not stop there. This divine thought is a collective thought, a corporate thought. It must affect and involve the individual, but ultimately it works out to universal representation in one Body, the Church, God represented in the Church, and then in the New Testament the one universal Church, the Body of Christ, locally represented. It is not just a matter of collecting a number of people together in any given place, people who have accepted certain teaching and therefore have a common creed and they meet together. The Holy Spirit is doing something deeper than that. It is not firstly external, from the outside, objective. What the Holy Spirit is doing is bringing into being in each locality a corporate representation of Christ, that that company there is Christ corporately present. “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I” (Matt. 18:20); it is Christ present. That is the meaning, that is the purpose of a local company of the Lord’s people, and there is something, as we have so often said, about the corporate expression of Christ which is of peculiar value, meaning and power.