“That which we have seen and heard we declare unto you that you also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with the Son, Jesus Christ.”
The manifestation of the redeemed of the Lord was an amazing event to the first century people. The redeemed have always been upon this earth and in the end of the age God made an open show of His people as all flesh beheld the salvation of Yehovah.
The event which took place on the day of Pentecost revealed the hidden mystery of the gospel in which all flesh should be partakers of the same Spirit and promises. This was the fulfillment of the Word given to the prophet when Yehovah came forth, having His army with Him as the fire of the fury of God devoured the world. This was a time for the solemn assembly for the Lord of glory was taken by wicked hands and slain for the sin of His people. The glory of the sun was darkness and the reflective light of the moon was turned into blood, before this great and terrible day of Yehovah, as He who knew no sin became the sin of His people. And in those days and at that time it came to pass that the Spirit of Yehovah was poured out upon all flesh (Acts 2:17). The sons and daughters of Israel prophesied as the wonders of the Lord were shown forth in the heavens and in the earth; blood and fire and pillars of smoke all together as the fulfillment of the sacrifice for sin was revealed and the types and foreshadows dismissed.
The disciples of Jesus saw all of this and being eye witnesses of His glory they were given the commission of testifying of what they had seen. They were not followers of ‘cunningly devised fables’ but were eye witnesses of His majesty. These were sent out into all the world to give an account of the hope that dwelt in them, Jesus Christ, not as the story tellers and news reporters of the time, but as primary source first hand witnesses, “for He received from God the Father honour and glory when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” (II Pt. 1:16f).
John affirms this report by saying that neither he nor any other of the apostles could have possibly made this story up but they indeed reported, not only what they were taught but also (in the mouth of two or three witnesses) what they had seen. The further evidence is given that these men did not merely look upon this person but had tactile contact with Him as a proof that He was neither a Spirit nor specter or apparition; “Why are you troubled? And why do your thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself and handle Me and see for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see Me have” (Luke 24:38).
But it was not simply the man whom they walked with for He is the Word of life. He is the eternal Father and the fullness of the Godhead in bodily manifestation and all who were given to see Him had seen the Father. But the sight was a tangible proof which would fade with the deaths of those who saw Him, yet the Word can never fade away. This is the Word of eternal life in the Father which these men had experienced and unto which the Spirit bore witness with their Spirit that they were the sons of God. John spoke not only of the natural experience which he had walking with Jesus for three years, being present at His arrest, trial and execution but also of the power of His resurrection as the Lord revealed Himself openly; he also spoke of the hope within.
The testimony of the Apostles must end with these men if the testimony is based upon the eye witness alone. Once the primaries were gone the testimony must rely upon the ability of one generation to the next to properly pass on the traditions and the teachings of the previous generation; thus the frailties and corruption of the flesh would inherently corrupt the testimony.
But John said that the fellowship of those who were given to call upon the name of Yehovah, being delivered from the present evil generation, was not in the preacher or the organizational affiliation but rather in the Father and the Son, Jesus Christ. This fellowship is presented in this manner because it is the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of the Father which caused the Son to be delivered up and crucified that He might redeem His people. The Son made Himself of no reputation, though He is equal to the Father, and took upon Him the form of a servant being made in the likeness of man: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross; Wherefore God has highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name” (Phil. 27ff). Thus the fellowship is in the eternal purpose of God which He brought to pass by the power of His will before the world was formed in His Elect Servant (Is. 42:1).
“And these things write we unto you that your joy may be full” (1:4)
The theology of the world changes with the ebb and flow of the generational tides. The simplicity of the first century gave way to the amalgamation of popular religious order and state under the advancing armies of the time. The victories won by these military conquests were seen as the proof that this arrangement was correct and thus the organization and centralization of the religious hordes accompanied the business of the state. Yet in the appointed time, there arose a few to challenge the establishment and to protest the doctrine and order. These attempted to change the whore into a virgin and make viable the dead flies in the ointment of the apothecary. They drew off many who quickly manifested the propensity to the weak and beggarly of the world as evidence that the religion of man never rises above the corruption of the unclean flesh. The business of the religious order could not survive without the mammon of the world and so the order of business was altered to accommodate the worthless commodities of this life.
In the midst of the confusion of interpretative liberties clothed in the greed of avarice, the simplicity of the gospel remains. The religion of man is made rich as it thrives in the business of the world and many of the wisdom of this world gravitate toward the wealth and popularity of the way. The mighty seek to add unto their strength and power through the association of the social religion and the mighty are revered for their gallantry and success. Those whose mind is stayed upon Yehovah, however, find these wonderful people of the world foreign to the testimony within and their ways strange. Although these two may sit together for a while in a feigned fellowship, yet when the Spirit calls unto His children to come out from among her and be not partakers of the inabilities of her abomination, the poor in this world are separated out.
The Spirit of God, His very breath, reveals the light of His glory unto the children, every man in his order. This light illuminates the soul as it reveals the truth, not only of the world around but more-so the bondage of corruption that surrounds them in Adam. God is this light and in Him there is no darkness. He created the darkness and dwells in the obscurity of the thick clouds but the light of His glory shines out of the darkness. The world cannot see this light and were it manifested unto the natural man, he would flee from it for his ways would be declared by the light.
This light is not an inanimate object or an abstract theology for it is Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the deliverance of Yehovah which is applied only to the children of the King and in the time appointed of the Father, when it pleases Him, He reveals the glory of God within which is “the Anointing in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). This hope of glory is magnified in the progressive revelation of the vanity and hopelessness of this world which the Spirit testifies is not the home of the redeemed of Yehovah. The songs of the children in the market place are no longer appealing to the children of hope, the waters of the land are bitter and there is no meat to sustain them. Though the tabernacles that they dwell in have not been changed from the natural to the spiritual yet the Spirit impresses upon their hearts and minds the wretchedness of their ways and the love of the truth.
These now wander throughout the world being in the world yet not of the world as strangers and sojourners in a foreign land wherein there is a great famine of hearing the Word of God. There are plenty who proclaim to preach the gospel and like the established orders of the day, their numbers are the proof of their accuracy. Many have abandoned the sterile manner of the high orders and made their central figure, called Jesus, to be a friend of the people. The social gospel they present, which is nothing other than the doctrine of Adam wrapped in fancy paper and decorated with wild and unbridled emotions, is appealing to the natural man and though the children of hope may venture nigh and dwell among it, yet the vanity is soon uncovered.
The message of the truth, however, has never changed. It is as unchanging as the God it proclaims and as pure as His holiness for “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all”. Anyone who would ascribe to the truth then must have fellowship in this light and have no darkness in them; this is of course futile at best in the natural man. The Spirit is constantly revealing the sorrow of this world and the bondage of sin of this earthen vessel, which is the inability to know or to come to the truth yet the testimony remains. The Lord Himself told His disciples; “If you love Me keep My commandments” to which many Pharisees (which being interpreted is every child of Adam) have devised their own set of alterations according to carnal interpretations to justify themselves before God.
The Apostles and others received a commission from the Lord as He ascended back into heaven. They were told to go into all the world, teaching all nations, baptizing the believers and establishing disciples. They were not given liberty to write their own spin on the doctrine which He had given nor were they empowered to lord over any for whom the Lamb was slain. They went forth and the sound of the gospel resonated throughout the land. As many as had ears to hear, heard the word and rejoiced. As many as were ordained unto eternal life believed and were added unto the called out assembly. Not one of the Apostles or any other was permitted to alter the message of the shed blood of Christ for the forgiveness of sin or to act in a manner contrary to the love of God for His people.
“If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth”
Many a skeptic will speculate about the accuracy of the message today since they believe that, as the oral law of Israel, the gospel is up for interpretative liberty and has changed throughout the ages. John, however, being an eye witness of the power of God unto salvation, makes a clear statement that if any of those who were present and saw Messiah were walking in darkness, they were not of the household of faith. Did John intimate that these men had learned how to abandon the ways of the world? Had they brought every thought under subjection so that their minds were not drawn to the allurement of this world? Had they become so spiritual that their natural bodies were no longer under the bondage of the vanity of this world, wherein they no longer need to eat or sleep? Had they learned how to take dominion over their sin and live victorious christian lives? No, these things do not exist!
John was not even hinting that the natural man had risen above his station in life and was now walking the heavenly highway. Nor was he referring to the keeping of the bondage of sin contained in the ministration of death as a test of the love for the Father or the brethren. Every child loves the Father and they love Him because He first loved them in His eternal love. Nothing can alter that love or diminish it by any degree yet each who has the hope of glory within knows that in me, that is in my flesh, dwells no good thing; Thus the confusion of the dichotomous relationship between the outer man who is perishing and the inner man who is strengthened by the Spirit.
The sons of the dust are drawn away after the things of this world and until such time as the tabernacle of this dwelling is put off, there shall be no escape from this condition. This is the vanity that Solomon understood as being systemic throughout the land, there is nothing which can satisfy nor sustain for whatsoever needs of the flesh exist they cannot end as long as the flesh exists. Neither the mind nor the tongue can be controlled as the lust of the eyes seduce the attention and the inner monologue is made vocal.
The way of the flesh cannot be stopped though the doctrine of man teaches to the contrary, so, John was not saying anything concerning the ways of man. The world is darkness and man loves the darkness because his deeds are evil. He will not come to the light for the light reveals his carnal ways and reproves them as being unacceptable before God. Adam hid himself in the garden but when God came to him, his work was revealed as useless. The proclamation of the lips of man that he has fellowship with the Light of the world is condemned in him and his claim is refuted by his actions.
“On these two commandments hang all the Law and the prophets” (Matt. 20:40)
The first commandment is the absolute, all-inclusive love of the Father by His children and the second is like unto the first. Anyone who has the proclivity towards the rewriting of the Ten Commandments so that they may be justified in their works is like unto the man who came to Jesus boasting that he had kept the commandments form his youth up. This one was deceived in the pride of his heart to believe the lie of justification though actions, a lie given unto him by the decree of Yehovah, and believing that he indeed had done so, he was rebuked of Jesus for he lacked one thing. The love of the Father was not in this ‘model citizen’ and thus he had no love for his neighbour.
The carnal mind has devised an alternative route around this matter by attempting to demonstrate the love of the neighbour through philanthropic undertakings and altruistic endeavours. These good deeds are intended to make an open demonstration before the eyes of man of the caring nature for his fellow man but they have nothing to do with the true love of the brethren. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” and He did not leave it up to the hearer as to what He meant.
His commandment cannot even be approached by the natural man for he has not the mind of God. It is the work of the Father that His people believe on He who was sent as the propitiation for their sin and the Spirit teaches them all things. It is the Spirit of God who causes the children of the King to keep His commandments as He testifies of a finished work in the Anointed. As they walk in the light of the Lord they see the uncleanness of their ways which is diametrically opposed to the teachings of the world. When they attempt to covey this apparent dilemma to their fellow dust brothers, they are told they are wrong, for to have a consciousness of sin is to deny the work of God, they are told. Thus they are outcast from the world and hated of all men for the name of the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah.
But and when the Father is pleased to reveal a fellow traveler through the wilderness, there is fellowship in the truth: not in Adam. The testimony of each of the children is consistent, though the particulars may be distinct to the individual. They have felt that they were the only ones in the world who believed this way and are assured that no one else shares the experience that they have had. They are full of sorrow for the sin within but they have hope of forgiveness in the shed blood. They do not understand the corruption of the flesh but they know that their heavenly Father is seated upon the throne, ruling over all things. They have tried to mingle with the scholars and religious leaders of the world but their words were of no comfort and the duties they ascribe unto are too laborious for any to find rest. Thus they find themselves as a sparrow upon a roof top, an owl in the desert and a pelican in the wilderness (Ps. 102:6).
When, however, two or three have been gathered together in His name they rejoice in the testimony of truth. These are not the wise of the world but they have been brought forth with Wisdom whose house is complete, fixed and sure upon seven pillars. These walk in the light of the Lamb through the valley of the shadow of death, having fellowship, not in the confidence of the flesh but in the blood of the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah “which cleanses from all sin”. The only way in which this experience is understood is in the experiencing of the reality and the teaching of the Holy Ghost concerning the life within and the death without. If the eternal love of the Father is not upon one, then the blood of the Lamb was not shed before the foundation of the world on their behalf. These have not the Spirit for they are none of His and though they may be lovely and generous people yet they have neither right nor portion nor memorial in the Beloved.
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us”
Victory over sin is the cry of the singers in the marketplace. Any and all who have not the faith to overcome the ways of man are not worthy of the kingdom of the strong and mighty people. Though the children of hope try to accept this teaching and walk accordingly yet the Spirit constantly shows them their sin. This causes the children to groan within and to cry out to the Father for deliverance. While the world teaches that the proper mode of operation is to take that burden and leave it at the cross, thus finding ‘victory in jesus’ the children of hope find that though they have attempted this ritual often yet it does not purge the conscience of sin.
The axiom remains, however, even though the doctrines of the dust deny it; the blood was shed in sufficient measure for “by this shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged and this is all the fruit to take away his sin” (Is. 27:9). There is no altar on which a sacrifice may be offered for there remains no sacrifice for sin. The Father has seen the travail of His soul and is well satisfied as He has taken the sin into the uninhabited land never to be called into account again. Therefore when the children cry out, confessing their sin before the Father, He is faithful unto Himself and the work He finished before time began, to forgive the Beloved of their sin in Adam and to cleanse them from all unrighteousness.
“If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His Word is not in us”
Sin existed before Adam ushered it into the world. The inability of the creation to measure up to the perfection of the Holiness of the Creator is inherent. Adam was created incapable of being obedient and not having the knowledge of good and evil he did not chose the one over the other; he walked according to his nature. His actions revealed the inability and in him all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, therefore every seed of Adam comes forth from the womb speaking lies being cursed children who cannot cease from sin.
The mind of man is limited and corrupt as God has filled it with the cares of this world. The desires of the flesh take precedent over everything else as survival of the body is the paramount quest. His feet are quick to shed blood, his hands are polluted and his appetite is for the things of this world yet the doctrine of man seeks the divine spark.
The redeemed of the Lord rejoice in Him and love one another as He has loved them. They seek that city whose builder and Maker is God as their affections are fixed on things from above. These are preserved in the Anointed Salvation and protected from the evils of the world. They are the body of Messiah who for a time are being refined in the furnace of affliction as the wood, hay and stubble of Edom is consumed but they seek the better promise in Him because of the better sacrifice whereby He has made them accepted in the Beloved.
Thus we are admonished of the Spirit to try everything to see from whence it comes. That which is tangible is of this world and shall fade away, being temporal. That which is of the Spirit shall endure and he that endures unto the end shall be delivered.
The Apostles were not permitted any deviations in conduct or preferential treatment of the brethren. Nor were they given to allege that they were holy in the flesh, living the ‘victorious chirstian life’; these assertions are for the doctrine of man. These eye witnesses walked meekly before the brethren as servant in the kingdom awaiting the coming of the Lord just as He walked. Can the body walk, think, act or be any different from the head?
“And He is the head of the body, the church; who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead that in all He might have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18)
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
December 10, 2017