Expounding the More Perfect Way….Jesus Christ and Him Crucified Acts 18:24-28

devotional

Bible Verses

1Cor 3:6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth. 1Pet 1:23 Having been regenerated not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, through the living and abiding word of God. John 7:38 He who believes into Me, as the Scripture said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water. 39 But this He said concerning the Spirit…

Words of Ministry

To plant is to minister life and impart life to someone who is spiritually dead so that this person may become living. When life is imparted to a person dead in sins, he becomes a living plant. Because Paul imparted life to the Corinthians, he was their father in Christ. In 4:15 he says, “For though you have ten thousand guides in Christ, yet not many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.” Before Paul came to Corinth, the Corinthians were not plants. On the contrary, they were dead sinners. But when Paul visited them, he imparted life to them, and they became living plants. This is the first aspect of planting. In the church life we must learn not only how to plant, but also how to water. Actually, watering others is very easy. Suppose a saint [believer] comes to you with a problem. Do not Try to solve this person’s problem. Actually, we are not able to solve others’ problems. Do you not have many problems of your own which are not yet solved? Since you have not solved your own problems, how do you expect to help others with their problems? Thus, in watering the saints, we should forget about trying to solve their problems. God is our Father, and eventually He will take care of all the problems. The crucial matter is the watering. According to my experience, the best way to water others is to pray-read a few verses with them. For example, a brother may present a problem concerning his job or family life. Instead of touching the problem, pray-read the Word with him. Sometimes it is sufficient simply to pray with that one. By praying the other person is brought to the Lord, and we are brought into the Lord in a deeper way. As a result, both parties are watered.

(c) LSM

THE KNOWLEDGE OF BEING JOINED
UNTO THE LORD AS ONE SPIRIT

Paul said, “He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit” (1 Cor. 6:17), not one soul. The resurrected Lord is the life-giving Spirit (15:45); therefore, His union with the believers is His union with the believers’ spirit. The soul is only the personality of a man and is natural; it should only be used as a vessel to express the results of the union between the Lord and the spirit of the believer. In the believers’ soul there is nothing that matches the nature of the Lord’s life; only the spirit can have such union. Since the union is a union of the spirit, there is no place for the soul. If the soul and the spirit are still mixed, it will make the union impure. As long as our living has any trace of walking according to our thoughts, of having our own opinion in anything, or of having our emotion stirred in any way, it is enough to weaken this union in our experience. Only things of a similar nature may have a fitting union. Mixture will not do. Just as the Spirit of the Lord is pure and without a trace of mixture, our spirit should also be pure so there can be a real and actual union. If the believer is unwilling to let go of his own wonderful thoughts, unwilling to get rid of his own likings, and unwilling to lay aside his own ideas to obey God’s will, it is impossible to express this union in experience. This is a union of the spirit; anything of the soul cannot be allowed to be mixed in.

Where does this union come from? It is from our death and resurrection with the Lord. “For if we have grown together with Him in the likeness of His death, indeed we will also be in the likeness of His resurrection” (Rom. 6:5). This verse explains the meaning of our being joined to the Lord, which is to be joined to His death and resurrection. What does it mean to be joined to the Lord in death and resurrection? It simply means that we are completely one with the Lord. We accept His death as our death and the joining with Him in death as the beginning of our being joined to Him. Having died with Him, we also accept His resurrection as our resurrection. If we accept this way by faith, we will experientially stand together with Him in the position of resurrection. The Lord Jesus was resurrected according to the Spirit of holiness (Rom. 1:4) and made alive in the spirit (1 Pet. 3:18). Therefore, when we are joined to Him in resurrection, we are joined to Him in His Spirit of resurrection. This is very clear. We die to all that belongs to ourselves and live to His Spirit. This is the meaning here. All these are accomplished through the exercise of our faith (see Section Three, Chapter One, “The Way to Be Delivered from Sin”). When we are joined to His death, having lost all that is sinful and natural, and joined to the Lord in resurrection life, then our spirit is joined to the Lord to be one spirit. Romans 7:4 and 6 say, “You also have been made dead to the law through the body of Christ so that you might be joined to another, to Him who has been raised from the dead…so that we serve in newness of spirit.” We are joined to Christ by the death of Christ, and we are also joined to His resurrection life. The result of this kind of union is that we serve in newness of spirit, without any mixture.

How wonderful! The cross is the foundation of all things. The goal and result of the work of the cross is that a believer’s spirit would be joined to the resurrected Lord as one spirit. The cross must work deeply on the negative, destructive side to make the believer lose everything sinful and natural. Only then can the believer be joined to the Lord’s positive, resurrected life as one spirit. The believer’s spirit must cause all that the believer has to pass through death, so that everything natural and temporal will be lost in death, allowing the spirit, in the freshness of resurrection, to be joined to the Lord to be one spirit in a pure way, without any mixture. The believer’s spirit is joined to the Spirit of the Lord, and the two spirits being joined are one spirit. The result of this union is the capacity to serve the Lord in “newness of the spirit.” There is nothing of the natural self or any natural liveliness mixed in with the living and work. From this time on, the soul and the body are used only to express the Lord’s own life and work. In this way the life of the spirit will manifest its own nature in everything, and there will be frequent experiences of “flowing out” the Lord’s Spirit.

This is the ascension life. The believer is joined to the Lord who is at the right hand of God. The Spirit of the Lord on the throne flows to the believer’s spirit that is in the world, but not of the world, and the life on the throne is lived out on the earth. The Head and the Body have the same flowing life. After the believer is joined to the resurrected Lord, the believer must daily keep “reckoning” and “yielding.” The Lord can then pour out His life-giving power through the believer’s spirit. Just as a water hose connected to a fountain flows out living water, the believer’s spirit, which is joined to the Spirit of the Lord, also gushes out life. This is because the Lord is not only the Spirit but the “life-giving Spirit.” There is nothing that can hinder such a believer. His spirit is full of life and nothing can limit this life because his spirit is closely joined to the life-giving Spirit. We need life in our spirit so that we may always have victory in our daily life. We can gain all the victory of the Lord Jesus by such union. We can know all of His will and mind by such a union. Such a union causes the believer to gain the Lord’s life and nature and builds up the Lord’s new creation in him. By death and resurrection, a believer’s spirit will ascend, just as the Lord ascended; he will be in the “heavenlies” in experience, crushing everything worldly under his feet. By joining to the Lord as one spirit, the believer’s spirit is no longer hindered by anything, and it can no longer be disturbed by anything. Instead, it soars toward the heavens above the clouds, always free and always fresh. It has a clear, heavenly view of all things. This is so different from temporal, emotional feelings; it is the heavenly life lived out on the earth. Such a living always has the heavenly nature inside it, and it is spiritual.

~By Watchman Nee

Test the Spirit of a Person

beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of Antichrist, whereof you have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world (I Jn. 4:1–3).

The idea of these Passages is that Believers are to stop believing every spirit. Paul finds the source of false doctrine in demons who actuate the false teachers who propound heresy (I Tim. 4:1). Thus, these spirits are human beings actuated either by demons or by the Holy Spirit.

The exhortation is to try these individuals, whoever they might be, to see whether they are of God or not. The word “try” in the Greek is “dokimazo,” which means “to put to the test for the purpose of approving, and finding that the person put to the test meets the specifications laid down, to put one’s own approval upon him.” Thus, the Bible teacher, for instance, was not to be put to the test for the purpose of condemning him, but with the intent to approve him. The brother was not to be treated as a heretic before he had shown himself to be one.

The reason for putting visiting teachers to such a test was that many false prophets “are gone out into the world.” In the Greek, the words speak of an action that is taking place presently. They have gone out; as a present result, they are in the world of mankind, and they have established themselves among the people.

John now gives the test which will prove that the Holy Spirit is actuating a teacher. If that teacher confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, that is proof of the fact that he is a true Believer and is actuated by the Holy Spirit. What does John mean by this?

The statement, “Jesus Christ is come in the flesh,” refers to the Incarnation, and what that means. The name “Jesus” means “Jehovah saves.” “Christ” means “The Anointed One.” It speaks to the fact that the God of the Old Testament, Who, in the Person of His Son, became incarnate in human flesh without its sin, died on the Cross to satisfy the just demands of His righteous Law, which man broke, and raised Himself from the dead in the Body in which He died, to become the Living Saviour of the sinner who places his Faith in Him in view of what He did for him on Calvary’s Cross.

John says that the person who teaches that is actuated by the Holy Spirit; likewise, the teacher who does not agree with that doctrine is not of God. Such a teacher is actuated by the spirit of Antichrist, who denies and is against all that the Bible teaches regarding the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus.

(Our thanks to K. Wuest for most of the above material on the Person of Christ.)

To simplify the statement, John, in essence, is saying, “Christ and the Cross must be the Object of Faith.” If that is denied in any way, the person is not of God. That’s the reason that we look askance at many of the modern schemes which claim to be of God, such as the “Purpose Driven Life” doctrine, the “Government of Twelve (G-12)” doctrine, the “Word of Faith” doctrine, etc.

The last one openly repudiates the Cross. The G-12 claims to believe the Cross, but then turns to works to effect one’s Sanctification, which, in effect, denies the Cross. In no way could one come to the conclusion that the “Purpose Driven Life” theory looks to the Cross at all. It is a religion of supposed ethics, which God can never accept.

John the Beloved, who wrote this Epistle, is saying, “Such is not of the Lord.”

As it regards doctrine, Christ and His Cross are always the deciding factor!

~J. Swaggart Ministry

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