But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.1 Corinthians 12:31(NASB)
If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in Me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers. (John 15:5,6)
Take a bunch of flowers, a bunch of roses or any other particular kind of flower. They are of the same species, and they have the same life in them. That is a congregation, not a body! The difference between a bunch of flowers which are all alike, all sharing the same life, and the root and the plant, is a very great big one. Give me the rose, root and plant or bush, and what shall I have? Well, I shall have this difference that, whereas the bunch of flowers has the life, it just goes so far. That is all and there is an end. It will never go beyond that. Give me the plant or the bush, and it will grow. It may pass through a bout of death for a season, but next year it will come back again and there will be more; and then another experience of dying and resurrection, and again there will be more, all in the same plant. That is a body, that is an organism, not a bunch. And that is the difference between a congregation, so many Christians, or units coming together as units, and a spiritual organism, a local expression of the Body of Christ: and it is the Body which is God's thought, not a congregation, not a bunch of flowers. But oh, the Lord's people are so much like the bunch of flowers! It is true they are all of the same species: they are Christians, they are children of God, they are all sharing the same Life, but oh, they are not there as one organism in one place growing with the increase of God, passing through corporate convulsions of death and resurrection and making spiritual increase in that way....
Yes, they belong to the Lord, and they have the same Life, they are all the Lord's children; but they just come to a certain point and they never go beyond that. That is true. I have had enough experience to make me sure it is true. Alas, many of them do not want to go any further, and many of them resent the suggestion that it is necessary to go any further. However, that is not God's thought about it. God's thought is of the root and the plant as a whole, a living organism here and there as representing and expressing Christ Himself. The plant grows and makes increase. The bunch simply goes so far and then it stops.
Behold, now is the favourable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.—“The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”—Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.
“‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.—And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.”—Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variance or shadow due to change.—For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind.—The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end.
But he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.—“Fear not, I am the first and the last.”
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom 8:2).
To deal directly with sin brings certain defeat to the Christian. Satan, sin, self, the world, and the law-all have been fully dealt with by the Lord Jesus on the Cross. Our dealings with these enemies are to be through the finished work of Calvary, hence indirect. This can be wonderful news to us when we have had enough of the struggle and failure of Romans Seven.
“The believer who sees that self is incurably evil (‘know’), and that it has been taken into death (‘reckon’); who gives self utterly to that death as he sinks before God in dependence and surrender to His working (‘yield’); who consents to death with Christ on the Cross as his position, and in faith accepts it as his only deliverance; he alone is prepared to be led by the Holy Spirit into the full enjoyment of the Christ-life. He will learn to understand how completely death makes an end of all self-effort, and now, as he lives in Christ to God, everything henceforth is to be the work of God Himself.” -A.M.
“It is not by renunciation, or effort, that we are morally apart from sin and self and the world, but by our death on the Cross with the Lord Jesus Christ.” “Believers today seek the blessing and power of Pentecost apart from a personal crucifixion with Christ, and the result is a counterfeit experience. Calvary is always before Pentecost, historically and experientially. The only way into the riches of the fulness of Christ is through our acceptance of our crucifixion with Him.” -L.L.L. 38
“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal. 6:14).
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).
One of the most subtle, tenacious, and all-pervading errors amongst Christians is slavery to the legal principle (the Galatian error). And, as in deliverance from the power of sin, there is no freedom from law apart from the death we shared in Christ on the Cross. “You too in the body of Christ have ended your relation to the law” (Rom. 7:4, Wms.).
“It is a harmful perversion of the truth of God to teach (as did the Puritan theologians) that while we are not to keep the law as a means of salvation, we are under it as a ‘rule of life.’ Let a Christian only confess, ‘I am under the law,’ and straightway Moses fastens his yoke upon him, despite all his protests that the law has lost its power. “Men have to be delivered from the whole legal principle, from the entire sphere where law reigns, ere true liberty can be found. This was accomplished on the Cross. There we ‘died unto the law’ (Gal. 2:19); we were there ‘discharged from the law’ (Rom. 6:14). And those who believe this enter the blessed sphere where grace reigns.
The Holy Spirit, indwelling the believer, performs in him the will of God, whose will, at last, is a delight (Rom. 8:3, 4; 12:2).” -W.R.N. “Law taught me to love my neighbors as myself-made my love for self the measure of my duty to my neighbor. Christianity looks for having no self at all, but giving up ourselves for our neighbors.”
“He Himself, through Jesus Christ, accomplishing through you what is pleasing to Him” (Heb. 13:21, Wms.).
For ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3, ASV).
It is futile for us to attempt to curb our sins while we ignore their source, the indwelling principle of sin. In trimming the branches (sins), we strengthen the root (self). Rather, as we count upon the finished work of Calvary, the Holy Spirit will apply the Cross to the old life. And as that death cuts deeper and deeper into the root, the branches will wither and fall away.
“The Lord Jesus has been waiting for us to come to the end of our own efforts. He sends the call, ‘Come back to the Cross.’ At last we can see we have been standing and working on the wrong ground, and we hear Him say, ‘It is you who are in My way. I can do My work myself. I simply need empty vessels. You parted with your sins, but you kept yourself. Come now, part with yourself, take your place where I put you. When I died you were in Me on that Cross.’ ‘Now I see! What next, Lord?’ ‘Now you pass to another sphere where you become aware that you are joined to Me as your life.’” “Our identification with Christ in His death was a death unto Sin-the principle of Sin as a master and a tyrant-Sin, not sins.
The Holy Spirit is ready to apply that finished work of death to the depth of our self-life, until Sin loses its mastery at point after point. It goes deeper than the cutting off of visible and external things. The Cross deals with the cause, not symptoms.”
“Christ, who is our life” (Col. 3:4).
What is TRUTH? This was the piercing question that fell from the lips of Pilate and this question is the root of the inner, penetrative searchings, that are found deep within the heart of all humanity. For that which is not founded on the truth of the Word of God, fragments into a tissue and lies. That which is not rooted in the truth of the gospel of Christ, lies buried in a sea of distortion. Building our lives on anything other than truth, is to stand on shifting sand – for only truth from God will endure – while all lies and part-truths, distortions and falsities will be swept away.
Knowledge of the truth is no insignificant advantage, for it affects every facet of life. Understanding the truth affects the eternal soul of man.. through time and into eternity, for as the apostle Paul reminds us, no foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. How it must please the heart of God when believers can be described like Gauis – a man of truth. It was John who wrote his letter to Gauis saying, I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.
Often, in a heart damaged by life’s traumas, the truth becomes distorted – even the truth of God becomes twisted and perverted through the influence of sin. The truth of the gracious Father-heart of God Who loves with an infinite love can sometimes become twisted. The truth of His Father-heart of love has at times become warped and distorted, as He is manipulated into the image of a demanding brother; a scornful mother; an abusive father… as God’s love and His forgiveness – His promises and His precepts are twisted to blaspheme His holy character. Many will not face the truth that their view of God could be thus distorted. Some are unresponsive when help and guidance are offered inread more