“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God, because I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
Paul begins his discourse with the brethren at Corinth with a number of qualifiers which identify the Church of Jesus Christ. He calls the group a ‘called out assembly’ of God. This eliminates the casual gathering of Adam in his normal labours of life for the qualifications of being a part of this assembly are not in Adam. The ‘called out assembly’ is not simply isolated from the daily conduct of business of the world but rather it is distinctly separate from everything which pertains to the lusts and desires of the flesh. Whatsoever is of the earth does not pertain to the ‘called out assembly’ except that this gathering place is where two or three weary travelers in this present evil generation may sit together and rest as they speak of ‘how great things God has done in their lives’.
This ‘called out assembly’ may be manifested in a certain geographic location but if she is the ‘called out assembly of God’ then no matter where or when she is gathered together, there is unity. She is the same from generation to generation for she is one in the Anointed of Yehovah. Because of what He has completed in and for her all her members have been set apart and consecrated unto God. He has made them a kingdom of priests unto God who daily offer up the sacrifices of thanksgiving and praise unto He who is worthy. Because of the shed blood of the Lamb of God from before the foundation of the world, that precious blood has been applied for the remission of the sin in Adam and is now struck on the door posts of the earthen vessels to identify them as a ‘most holy thing’, saints. Since this blood and all the works associated with the performance of the perfect will of God stand finished from the foundation of the world, the ‘called out assembly’, no matter where geographically or when in time, is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Herein she continually calls upon the name of her Lord and Beloved Anointed Salvation of Yehovah. Herein the redeemed of Yehovah are sealed as the servants of God while they are partakers of the vanity of this earthen tabernacle and herein do they stand “before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes and palms in their hands and cry with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation to our God which sits upon the throne and unto the Lamb’” (Rev. 7:10).
None but the blood bought host of the redeemed of the Lord may call upon the name of the Anointed Salvation for His sacrifice was specifically for them and none other (Luke 1:31). The blood is not kept in a reservoir for ‘whosoever wills’ to come forth and take a dip nor is it the communal bathing point for anyone who needs physical or psychiatric relief. The sacrifice of the Lamb of God shed the exact amount of blood for all the sin of His people “in measure” and “by this shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged and this is the fruit to take away his sin” (Is. 27:9).
The blood also distinguishes between that which is of the earth and that which is of the Spirit. The children of Israel struck the door posts of the houses in Egypt with the blood of the Pascal Lamb but the souls within were spared the wrath of God. The Messenger of Yehovah has identified the children of the house of the redeemed by the blood of the Lamb so that as the wrath of God is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, when He shall see the blood, He shall pass over and the plague shall not be upon them (Ex. 12:13). Therefore only those who have been identified and set apart unto God as the redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, sealed with His spirit and marked by His blood, may call upon the name of the Lord and unto them is the grace and peace from God our father and Lord, Jesus Christ. This is the unity of “both theirs and our” which Paul uses to manifest that there are no differences in the Messiah and in His ‘called out assembly’.
“Now I beseech you brethren by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that you all speak the same thing and there be no division among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1:10).
The unity of the body is not the unity of the flesh. Every child of grace is drawn away after the desires of the needs of the flesh and the cares of this world. As a result of this weakness and corruption there arises doubts, fears and contentions between the sons of Adam. There can be no dysfunctions or maladjustments in the children of light for they are born from above, walk in the light of the Lord and delight after the Law of God. The unity of the body is the unity of the Godhead in the Anointed but there remains a law in the members which wars against the law of the inward man.
God created all things and He established divisions and distinctions between them. He separated the light from the darkness, dry land from the seas and the heavens from the earth; these divisions are necessary and cannot be altered. He also set a distinction between the children of the seed of the serpent and the children of the Kingdom of God which are irreversible and intolerable. He also made a division between the sons of the dust and the children of the Spirit.
Here there is a constant struggle as the flesh desires the things of the Spirit (eternal life and peace with God) and the Spirit is contrary to the flesh. Herein is where strife and contentions arise because the pride of Edom and the stubborn arrogance of the children of Adam who cannot accept the station in life where God has assigned them. The flesh tries to improve itself through academic and scholastic endeavours which are classified as science falsely called. While the Spirit within is taught from above the natural man busies himself with ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth. Thus as the opinions of respectable men in Adam (for God is not a respecter of persons) catch the natural ear of the flesh and as the words are evaluated and considered according to the understanding of man, divisions and camps develop.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God, without man, to deliver His people from their sin. This is preached by the Messenger of Yehovah and He has proclaimed it from the beginning. It is as eternal as the Godhead for it is the salvation of Yehovah who “saw that there was no man and wondered that there was no intercessor, therefore His arm brought salvation unto Him and His righteousness it sustained Him; for He put on righteousness as a breastplate and an helmet of salvation upon His head and He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing and was clad with zeal as a cloak” (Is. 59:17).
Every child of grace throughout all generations has the identical experience of deliverance and that by the power of God. There is therefore no room for any divisions according to the servant of God who sounded forth the true sound of that certain trumpet of the good tidings of great joy which they hear being born from above. That word is not according to the wisdom of words lest the cross of Christ be of none effect, for the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness but unto those who have been delivered it is the power of God. The wisdom of man looks for signs and wonders as it attempts to explain the ways of God and His works yet the preaching of the finished work of Yehovah God is a stumbling block to those who think they stand firm; “that no flesh should glory in His presence” (1:29).
“And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (2:4).
The Spirit of God is not discernible to the eyes of the natural man and His Words cannot be heard of man. Paul did not come to the church in attempt to win them for Christ or to make them His disciples. He came, as was his custom every Sabbath, and reasoned with them in their meeting places from the scriptures that Jesus was the Anointed of God. When they opposed themselves and blasphemed, Paul shook his raiment and said unto them, ‘Your blood be upon your heads for I am clean and henceforth I will go unto the nations’. But the Spirit appeared unto him in a vision in the house of Justice and told him not to be afraid but rather speak and do not hold his peace “For I am with you and no man shall set on you to hurt you because I have much people in this city” (Acts 18:10).
Yehovah God had reserved unto Himself many people, born of that incorruptible seed, who had not bowed the knee unto the other master (Baal). These were His sheep who hear His voice and another man’s voice they cannot hear. These were the sealed redeemed of the Lord unto whom the Spirit had brought forth His servant who was made an apostle, not by the will of man but by the will of God, to demonstrate the power of God unto salvation. Just as when the Father was pleased in the fullness of time to reveal Himself in Saul along the road to Damascus and immediately he conferred not with flesh and blood, so now these children did not need the great swelling words of the wisdom of man. They needed the quick and powerful Word of God so that their faith should not stand in the wisdom of man but in the power of God.
Paul did not give them the arguments of the theology of Adam; he spoke the simplicity of the gospel as the Spirit destroyed the wisdom of the wise and brought to nothing the understanding of the prudent (1:19). He did not bring them the writings of the Rabbi or the customs of the ages and he had no need to teach them the ancient Hebrew text. He held no prophesy conferences, sold no books and organized no conventions or revival meetings which are according to the wisdom of this world and the princes of this world for the purpose of increasing the numbers. He spoke to those who had been born from above “the wisdom of God in a mystery, hidden, which God ordained before the world unto our glory” (2:7). He did not want to know about their outreach ministry or their endeavours to correct social problems for he determined to know nothing else but Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Jesus told Nicodemus that the Son of man must be lifted up in the same manner and for the same purpose as Moses lifted up the brazen serpent in the wilderness. He lifted up the serpent for those who had an experience in which they found themselves condemned to death and without hope. Brethren are they who have this common experience and unto whom the glad tidings of great joy apply. Paul did not desire to know the doctrinal position on key issues of this gathering or to see the outward appearances of success. He desired to know the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah and Him crucified or lifted up. This requirement demands that the members in particular of this assembly have an understanding of the pains of death (the wages of sin) and sorrows of condemnation that are made evident by the indwelling of the Spirit of God. All who are born from above have a common salvation because they possess a common condition in Adam; dead in trespasses and sin. The natural man does not comprehend the truth of this condition for like his father in the garden, he is adorned in an apron of fig leaves.
The mystery of the gospel is not a secret treasure which man is employed to discover. It is however a secret which man cannot find by searching. The cumulative wisdom of all the ages is insufficient to discover “the things which God has ordained for them that love Him”. This love is not the catalyst which initiates the actions of God upon a fallen subject nor is it the result of education, indoctrination or spiritual awareness. This is the eternal love of the Father who first loved His children. It is the inherent nature of all who have been born of the Spirit.
“But God has revealed unto us by His Spirit, for the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God” (2:10).
The Messenger of the eternal gospel proclaims the good news of the deliverance from sin in the finished sacrifice of the Lamb of God. This is contrary to the mind and wisdom of man. He is occupied throughout his lifetime with the research and speculations into the ways of this world and universe by the spirit of man which he has been given of God. He speaks of these things in the words which man’s wisdom teaches and prides himself in his accomplishments for “that which is born of the flesh is flesh”. He minds the things of the flesh and is constantly drawn away after the desires and needs of this earthen vessel.
They who have been born from above have the Spirit of God within because they are His. The Spirit is the Comforter, who teaches all things and brings all things to remembrance of the ways of God (John 14:26), also concurrently reveals the way and nature of man. He manifests the unsearchable riches of the grace and love of God towards His Beloved whereby He reveals the wretchedness of the carnal man who is sold under sin. He demonstrates the bondage of the corruption of the habitation of this dwelling as He groans within waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God. As the light of His countenance shines brighter and brighter the inability of Adam is revealed and the abomination of man discovered. The subject of grace begins to see the vanity of this world and the barrenness of this wilderness. The confidence of man in his labours and understanding are shown to be foolish waste when compared to the wondrous works of God which stand finished from the foundation of the world. This is the growing in the grace and knowledge of His will; the understanding that the outward man is perishing as the inward man is renewed daily. This is when the inhabitants of Zion loathe themselves for the wickedness of their ways and sing the praises unto the Lamb for He alone is worthy. This is the inward evidence of deliverance and the presence of the mind of Christ and the abasement of the ego, pride and arrogance of the clay pots.
Many will insist that the Apostle did not muddy the waters of fellowship with doctrine as he embraced the church at Corinth in love but the record indicates quite the opposite. He did not seek to know the doctrine of man because the natural man neither receives the things of the Spirit nor can he know them for they are spiritually discerned. He also did not bring the traditions and customs of the religious elite but Paul did desire to know the doctrine and good order of the ‘called out assembly’. The presence of the pride and arrogance of man was evident in their divisions and contentions but their calling in Christ was evident by the love of the brethren as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in them.
Herein is the feast of Pentecost (the fiftieth day) demonstrated as a proclamation of the existence of two manner of people. The first fruits of Yehovah are two loaves of fine flour (having the outer shell pealed off) of two-tenths deal (tithe – remnant according to grace) baked with leaven (Lev. 23:17). These were to be waved before the Lord as the thank offering of the harvest. This stood as an earthly demonstration of the pattern of heavenly things where the Redeemer stood before the throne of God and declared His generation. This was evidently set forth when God manifested His Spirit being poured out in fulfillment of the words of the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28 & Acts 2:17) and remains today as the evidence of things unseen and the substance of things hoped for.
The leaven represents the earthen vessel and the natural man. It is a necessary component of the offering during the time of this habitation until those things seen are done away. When this time has expired then shall the habitation of this dwelling be dissolved and the tabernacle not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, shall be revealed. This is the ordained condition of every child of grace as they become partakers of flesh and blood. The leaven is the contradiction of sin and the bondage of this corruption of all that is carnal sold under sin. This is where fears, doubts, wars and fighting emerge as the leaven rises in the refiner’s fire. This is a manifestation of the testimony of Christ being confirmed in His people as they endure the contradiction of sin against themselves. None but they who have life can ever know this struggle and all who are alive in Him know they can do nothing to tame or correct this creature of nature. This is the manifestation of the limitations and weaknesses of the flesh, that vanity that the children have been made subject to in hope of deliverance. None but those who have the eternal life within can know these things for they are spiritually discerned and all who have eternal life come to the knowledge of this truth. Here is where the Spirit reveals the deep things of God and the helplessness of man as He causes those who have been bitten to look unto Jesus and live.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is a spiritual message to those who have a spiritual need. Saul of Tarsus had been trained in the excellency of speech and wisdom but he was shown by the Spirit of God that all that was worthless as righteousness before God. Certainly he was outfitted with these abilities so that he could be all things to all men but the testimony was not of his labours and accomplishments but of the finished work of the Lamb of God. He was taught of the Spirit that the only thing that was necessary was the wisdom and spiritual understanding that every child of grace possesses in Christ. By this the strangers and pilgrims judge all things and try all things to see if they be of the Lord. This is the point of reference, Christ dwelling in each one, being rooted and grounded in love, which enables them “to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height and to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God (Eph. 3:17f).
The called out assembly in Corinth was wrought with contentions which were very evident. They exhibited growing pains, disobedience and inconsistencies of attitude and order “as is not so much as named among the Gentiles” (5:1). These did not disqualify them as saints or as the church of Jesus Christ; it identified them as such. These were those things ordained of the Father for the trying of the faith and the proving of the gold, silver and precious stones. Indeed they were abased, ashamed and embarrassed as the Spirit of God according to His eternal love cast the light of His perfection upon the nature of man to reveal the body of this death.
“What shall we say then, shall we sin that grace may abound? God forbid! How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Rms. 6:1).
The natural man flees from this illumination of truth for his deeds are dark and evil. It is according to his logic that the conclusion is drawn that if God has ordained all these things, whatsoever comes to pass, then we may indulge to our fill. This is the accusation of ignorance cast upon all who truly feel the weight and sin which so easily besets us as the Spirit causes them to cry out for their loving Father. He alone has orchestrated these trials and tribulations for good to them that love Him to the called according to His purpose. He alone performs this good work in His children working in them both to will and do His good pleasure, therefore all glory and honour is unto His name.
Brethren we shall continue to manifest the inability in Adam until the day we are delivered from the bondage of this habitation. This is not consent unto sin but the explanation of reality. Each and every demonstration of this inability, whether it be in thought, word or deed, has been imputed upon the Lamb of God whose blood was shed before Adam was created. The propitiation for the sin of His people was accomplished before the deed was committed as God had afore concluded all under sin. His Spirit bears witness with our Spirit that we are the sons of God, born from above, while the wretchedness of this natural man gives ample evidence in everything we do that disqualifies us as His children.
“Take heed therefore how you hear:” for with the ears of Adam are the words of man heard and with the carnal mind they are understood. The wisdom of God is a mystery known only to the children of the Kingdom wherein they have hope; “Lead me in thy truth and teach me for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day” (Ps. 25:5).
“Now we have not received the spirit of this world but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God” (I Cor. 2:12).
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
January 19, 2015