“Do all things without murmurings and disputings.”
The assembly at Philippi was manifesting the natural tendencies and characteristics of Adam, which were being exhibited in contentions and strife. The stations in life of the members was a subject of disputation as the eyes of the flesh were more concerned with the possessions and status of the other members rather than being content with their standing in the Anointing. This outward demonstration of the inward pride of the heart of man strives to rise above the fellow inhabitants of the dust and, as the cream in the fresh milk, be first seen and the focus of the attention of all men. Comparisons are made between the conduct of each other, the effectiveness of their prayer life, the persuasive abilities of their ‘testimony’ and the tangible blessings which God has given as a sign of His approval for the labours of His more obedient children. Divisions due to a faux spirituality lead to cliques and factions in the group and the deplorable distinctions between ‘clergy’ and ‘laymen’ or indeed those who are considered spiritual and they who are labeled ‘babes’ in the faith. These are the common manifestation in any assembly in which Adam is present, especially in the earthly manifestation and mechanics of the called-out assembly of God, having been decreed of old necessary for the beloved.
One point of confusion amongst the brethren in the assembly was the imprisonment of the Apostle, for why was he not protected of God against those evil unbelievers? After all, one who preaches the gospel of the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah should certainly be impervious to the plagues of the flesh, the slander and injustice of the system and the scorn of man for he is defending the truth. This is the logic and doctrine of man whose message is to the natural ears of the hearers saying that once you give your life to Christ, He will prevent any harm to befall you. He will make you successful in business, give you an happy marriage and respectful obedient children and you will be respected in the community as one who sits at the gate and counsels others; this is the tonic elixir of the lie that the itching ears of man desires to hear. It soothes his ego, boosts his morale and gives him hope in a better tomorrow but this is not the truth.
God never asks for anything from His creatures except absolute obedience. Contrary to the teachings of the various mythologies, Yehovah God is in need of nothing, especially the praise and worship of man in order for Him to be Lord over all. The work which He has done, being finished from the foundation of the world, praises His name; even the wrath of man shall praise Him and the remainder of wrath He restrains (Ps. 76:10). Everything which He has created bows in complete submission to His name, confessing that He is Lord, thus worshipping Him in complete humility. The sons of God, walking in the light of His glory, worship Him in Spirit and truth, having the love of the Father, the indwelling of His holy breath and the testimony of the finished work of His salvation. They are His people and need give nothing back to Him of this life for He is their life; neither do they impose upon His sovereignty by attempting to take dominion over anything.
“Let nothing through strife and vainglory but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves”
It is natural for the sons of Adam to make comparisons and look for advantages. When the church was gathered together in Jerusalem, they sold all possessions, having all things in common, and yet there were those who desired the advantage. When the Spirit revealed the treachery of Ananias and his wife, the offense was not against the assembly but rather against God; “Then Peter said unto her, How is it that you have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord?” (Acts 5:9) The attempt to withhold the monies from the sale was not the offense against God but rather the device to deceive was and since these had perpetrated this ruse against the brethren, the words of the Lord are, “in as much as you have done this to the least of My brethren, you have done it unto Me.”
The inner-workings of the local visible manifestation of the called-out assembly of Yehovah God is set forth in type when the children of Israel came into the Promised Land. The people were commanded of the Lord, by the mouth of His servant, Moses, to “smite and utterly destroy” the indigenous people of the land and “you shall make no covenant with them, nor shew them mercy: neither shall you make marriages with them; you shall not give your daughters unto his son nor shall you take his daughter unto your son”. They were also forbidden to take the objects of worship which the common people had venerated for the appeasement of whatever superstitions and customs that were imposed upon them through the traditions of time. They were to burn these objects with fire, not desiring the silver or gold that overlaid them, “lest they be a snare therein for it is an abomination to Yehovah you God: neither shall you bring the abominable thing into your house lest you be a cursed thing like it. You shall utterly detest it an utterly abhor it for it is accursed” (Deut 7:2 & 26).
Even though there is no God save Yehovah yet the ignorance of the natural man causes him to be drawn away after the imagination of his deceived heart. He sees the glory of God and His handiwork manifested in the creation but because he has not eaten of the tree of life, his attention is on temporal matters, thus he relies upon the labours of his hands and worships the creature instead of the creator. The images of the glory of God become the vanity of man through idolatry; “for the customs of the people are vain: one cuts a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of a workman with an axe. They deck it with silver and with gold and fasten it with nails and hammers that it does not move; they are upright as a palm tree but cannot speak; they must needs be born about because they cannot go” (Jer. 10:3).
Does this make trees unclean because the penchant of man is to fall down and worship the inanimate object? Does it make gold and silver like the plague because they are used to decorate such abominations? Not at all; trees are set as types in the scriptures of the characteristics of Adam and the children of grace. Adam is temporal and dying daily but having his seed within him, his posterity lives from generation to generation while the sons of God are “as a tree planted by the rivers of waters, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf shall not wither and whatsoever he does shall prosper” (Ps. 1:3).
The children of Israel could not drive out the inhabitants of the land but Joshua utterly destroyed his enemies. The indigenous people were left of God to prove Israel, not to see if they would be obedient for they were a stiff-necked and rebellious people from the beginning unto whom God had not given an heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear; thus the people were left to show Israel that they have no strength to overcome the children of the dust, nor to avoid the interactions of life which drew them away after the natural passions of man. These include acceptance in society and prosperity in business for the lording and dominance over his fellow man; which attitudes lead to strife and wars fueled by the greed of avarice. Self-esteem gives the false illusion of worth which is silver and success shows forth the wisdom and fortitude of ability, this brilliance is gold and the love of these things is the root of all evil.
The natural man is not eradicated or neutralized when the Father is pleased to reveal Himself dwelling in His children; Adam has been left as the servant of God to prove the precious living stones within. When the light of the glory of God illuminates the soul of His Beloved the darkness is dispersed and the corruption is revealed; thus, as demonstrated in Jacob and Esau, the time comes when the distinction between the two nations and the separation of the two manner of people is discovered. The Spirit of Holiness mortifies the deeds of the flesh as He slowly burns the wood, hay and stubble of Edom in the Refiner’s fire, revealing the worth of the sons of the King and the brilliance of His glory as precious living stones. Adam is the passive recipient of this demonstration of the love of the Father for His children and He never calls upon the flesh for assistance or encouragement.
The flesh, however, continues as father Adam did in the garden to seek a better station and prove his worth before God. He brings his works of righteousness to the altar of sacrifice even though he has been told that these blood soaked menstrual rags are an abomination before the Lord. His wardrobe has only slightly changed since the days in the garden but it has not improved as he is adorned in his Babylonian attire with Egyptian embroidering, pontificating in the language of Ashdod. He is drawn away after the desires of the flesh in his quest to understand the mysteries of life and having only natural eyes to see, he has dismissed the chief cornerstone of existence calling Him of no value.
The children of Israel were not exempt from these natural passions; they were tempted by the lusts of the flesh and when that lust had conceived it brought forth the manifestation of the sin of man. Not one son of Adam is exempt from these feelings for these temptations are common unto men. Just because a person was a son of Abraham, Isaac or Jacob did not excuse them from experiencing and succumbing to these allurements and yielding to the voice of the strange woman (Pro. 5:3ff).
“Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others; let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”
Those who have been born from above keep the commandments of God by the power of the Spirit within; they love Yehovah God with every fiber of being and love the brethren as themselves. This is not optional or obligatory for obedience is the essential element of the divine nature within which serves as proof to the world that the love of God is shed abroad in the heart of the inner man; “By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another”.
This love must be identical to the love of the Father for it is by His love that the children love Him; “we love Him because He first loved us”. It is an eternal love wherein the sons of God do not take upon themselves the fact that they are ‘hewn from that Rock’ as they are made of no reputation, subject to the vanity of this world. They are confined in the habitation of the dust of the earth and are, at first for a designated period of time, caused to walk after the ways of the world. But in the fullness of time, when the Father reveals Himself in His people, they are given to see the corruption, vileness and wretchedness of the vessel. They are taught the bondage of this corruption as compared to the Holiness of His law and they find themselves deficient in Adam; thus they understand the need for intercession, sacrifice and mercy.
This brings a proper perspective of the relationship of the natural man to the inner man of faith as the Spirit testifies that salvation is by grace through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. The accolades of the flesh and the accomplishments of the flesh are seen in a proper light as being the ways of the world which fade away and as the child grows in the grace and knowledge of His will, which is that they believe on He who was sent, they are brought to the reality of the long-suffering mercy of God, for indeed, in Adam, they have no right, nor memorial nor portion in the Beloved.
This testimony is unique to every child of the King who has been ransomed from the prison house and made to see the uncleanness of their ways. Thus when two or three are gathered together by the will of God and each gives an account of the hope that is within, there is a witness of a common deliverance by His grace and like precious faith in His eternal promise. This identifying characteristic of the incorruptible seed demonstrates the earnest desire to be delivered the bondage of sin and death which is in the mortal coil and laments that, like Israel of old, the people of the land cannot be utterly exterminated in this life.
The promise of God, however, is that the people of the land are there to serve and to prove the children of the promise. Like King Saul, the idea that the things of this world can be incorporated into the lives of the sons of God causes the natural man to “put the Canaanites to tribute but did not utterly drive them out” (Josh. 17:13). The logic of man is to use whatever means are available to achieve the objective and assimilate the weak and beggarly elements into the outward pretense of obedience before the Lord. Thus the children of Israel made league with the inhabitants and their natural hearts were drawn away after their gods. God left these to prove the impotence and ignorance of man and his contention to the truth. The apostle knew this also; “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, bringing me into captivity to the law of din which is in my members” (Rms. 7:23).
Each person who has the hope of glory, which hope cannot be proven to the natural senses of man, knows this contradiction of sin against themselves. There is enmity between the inner man and the wretched fool without but the corruption of man does not appear to be diminishing, rather it appears to be an invincible foe of great strength; this causes the creature within to groan. This experience is part of the predestined plan of God whereby He has afore ordained that His children should be made like the Anointed One being conformed to His image. They must each be made, not to boast in the hope that they are His sons, but to be the servant of all. They are caused to dwell in a foreign land, wherein is neither water nor bread to sustain them, and to walk in the solitude of being rejected and despised of his fellow compadres of the flesh; thus are they made of no reputations like the Anointed One.
The love of the brethren then, being based in the love of the Father, is the mutual experience of being humbled in the flesh by the hand of the Father, revealing the inerrant need of mercy. Hereby each child knows that salvation is completely of Yehovah; “not of works of righteousness which we have done but by His mercy He has saved us by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5).
Having this revelation of the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah, the children each have the testimony of Jesus Christ, the finished work of Alpha and Omega. They are of the same mind being taught of the same Spirit, and having the same love, which is the love of the Father, they are of one accord and one conviction, “one body and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith and one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in you all” (Eph.4:4).
Since there is no shadow of turning in the Father the children remain consistently faithful in every good work, not because they labour hard to perform them accurately, but because they have been created in the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah unto these works. But while they dwell in the earthen tabernacles they have the characteristics, qualities and abilities of the peoples of the land to contend with. The constant, almost uncontrollable compulsions of fear, anxiety and base mannerisms are brought forth again and again and there seems to be no way to control them let alone abate these vulgar feelings and lascivious thoughts. Not only does the nature of Adam return, as the dog to his vomit and wallow as the sow in the mud, but the mind of man reasons the matter away in an attempt to justify his actions. The more ardent the attempt to overcome the inherent nature and it’s insatiable desires the more evident the failure in the strength of the arm of the flesh. This is not a license for sin, as some may impugn, it is the understanding of man, his ways and his place in the sovereignty of Almighty God.
“Wherefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not in my presence only but now much more in my absence, work out you own salvation with fear and trembling for it is God which works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (2:12-13)
If obedience is in the flesh then the law may be kept by Adam and he may be justified, however; “by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Rms. 3:20). Obedience before God is by the power of the Spirit apart from anything that man can imagine or propose. Paul is not instructing the brethren to begin by the power of the Spirit of God and finish the course by the will and ability of Adam. He did not speak the comfort of the people that the warfare was accomplished and her sins forgiven only to instruct them that now it was time to muster the forces of Adam and win the victory over sin and self.
The called-out assembly is obedient in her head, which is Messiah, for He completed all the work that was set before Him in absolute righteousness. He redeemed all that were given unto Him and, being hidden and protected in the secret place of Yehovah, He raised them up in Him, who is the resurrection, to be seated together in Him in the heavenly city. His righteousness is the righteousness of the saints, wherein the bride is adorned, and there is neither spot nor blemish in her glorious apparel for she is born of the incorruptible seed.
The work which God’s people have been ordained unto is commensurate to the salvation of Yehovah for it is the result of salvation. Adam has no part in this for he has not the capability to understand or receive the things of the Spirit, so to insinuate that the ‘working out’ or rather the work which is indicative of the salvation, is in and of Adam is blasphemy before God. Adam is the passive recipient of the seed planted of the sower in the good ground He has prepared. Adam is the host of the incorruptible seed whose nature it is to miss the mark, which nature is manifested in the actions of the outer man. His works are sensual and temporal for not one work of man can continue after the life of man has ended; “wherefore do you spend money for not bread and labour for that which does not satisfy?” (Is. 55:2).
The children of grace have been created in Christ Jesus unto good works which they shall not fail to accomplish both in quantity and quality. These are the results of the work which He finished before the foundation of the world but is made manifest to each of the election according to grace in the appointed hour. This salvation is very personal and subjective as the Father reveals His love to each of His children personally and the work which He has done. There is no room for the petty bickering, envy and strife that are the works of the flesh and the greed of shinny trinkets and shallow praise has no place in those who have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavens; these are the ways of the flesh. Thus the Apostle instructs the brethren at Philippi to consider the work which Messiah has done in manifestation of His love for them for therein is the love of the brethren, one for the other.
This love, based in the common salvation of all members, is also demonstrated in the comforting of one another as each endures the trials and tribulations which the love of the Father has decreed as being necessary and good for them that love Him. It is the lifting up of one another as each is beset by the weight and sins which burdens them. It is the testimony of faith that these light afflictions, which are for but a moment, work a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. It is the preferring of a brother above self and the performance of that which is edifying unto the body; it is the fruit of the tree of life which is the peaceable fruit of righteousness and the evidence of the indwelling Spirit for those who have no confidence in the flesh. It is everything that is contrary to the flesh even though it may be manifested in the flesh.
The love of the brethren, the result of the salvation of Yehovah, is the work of God in and for His people. He causes them not only to desire the truth and to keep His commandments but He also is their complete desire; “I am My beloved and His desire is upon me” (Song 7:10). He is the cause that His people desire to return to the Father’s house and to dwell in Jerusalem; “If I forget you, Jerusalem, let my right hand forget; if I do not remember you, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth if I do not prefer Jerusalem above my chief joy” (Ps. 137:5). He has empowered His people in the day of His power for as the King has spoken so all comes to pass and has made them willing to praise His name in every thought word and deed. This they do in Messiah, not in Adam who is returning to the dust, as they do all things unto Him, walking and living by faith.
“That you may be blameless and harmless sons of God without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world”
There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus for they have been washed in the blood of the Lamb. They are without fault being unmixed with the things of the flesh, therefore they are without censure before God. The glorious light, which is the glory of God and the Lamb, shines forth in their hearts as a beacon in the darkness of the world. Men see the light and flee for Adam loves the darkness and thrives in his perverted distortions and none of his seed shall ever come to or comprehend the light.
The children of the Israel of our God walk in the light of Yehovah because they are children of light and subjects of the kingdom of light. They see the corruption, as they hold forth the word of life, dwelling in their earthen vessels and they loathe themselves. But they have the hope of glory within which is the earnest expectations of being delivered from the body of this death and being absent from this body to be present with the Lord.
“For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope for what a man sees, why then does he yet hope for?” (Rms. 8:24)
The children of Israel could not drive off or overcome the people of the land and neither duty faith nor the good intentions of the flesh can drive off the children of the dust. The assurance of hope is that the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah has overcome the wicked one, the world and sin. His children have overcome all things in Him though for the time of this habitation it does not yet appear that they have overcome anything.
Joshua gave the children of Israel two memorials; one was on the land after they came forth out of the river and the other was in the midst of the river (Josh. 4). One was seen of all and used to teach the children that Yehovah had kept His promise when Israel crossed the river; this memorial is no longer standing for the house of Israel is left desolate. The other memorial was covered by the waters when they returned to flow; this is the memorial of faith. Jesus told Thomas that “because you have seen Me you have believed: they are blessed that have not seen yet believe” (John 20:29)
Adam needs to see but cannot believe while the children of hope believe having no need to see.
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
January 28, 2018