The Great Transition From One Humanity To Another # 9
"He that is spiritual" and "The Natural Man"
We are now coming to Corinth, and we have not moved far into the letter until we are shown what belongs to the one side and what belongs to the Other. Oh, that Christendom had really had its eyes opened to chapter two of the First Letter to the Corinthians. Here we have two designations; here are the two humanities. One is the natural man, and let me say again that is not necessarily the unborn again man. Corinth shows that and is used to show that. It stands through spiritual history to show the tragedy of a carry-over from one humanity to Another in not allowing the great transition to be clear cut. That is what is here, and so in Corinthians we have the dividing: we have "he that is spiritual" and "the natural man," and then there opens up the characteristics of each.
When we launch out into the characteristics at Corinth, we come about immediately on this personality complexes - that is, "the natural man." "I am of Paul, I am of Apollos, I am of Peter, and I am of Christ." You tell me that we are not capable of that - making even a servant of God, a greatly used servant of God and a servant of God who is a saintly man, making him the focal point, the pivot around whom we circle - his way of teaching that appeals to me, his interpretation, his personality. The apostle of the Holy Spirit puts that sort of thing in the category of the natural man because the effect of that is the divisiveness in the Body of Christ - that is what the letter opens up: divisiveness in the Body of Christ. Oh, do not talk about personalities; they may have been used to your help; you may owe a lot to the Lord because of them, but do not be constantly bringing them into view. Paul will ague back and say: "Who is Paul, who is Apollos, who is Peter? - Only servants of God through whom you believed!" Let the instrument recede into the background, and let Christ come to the fore; be occupied with Him, talk about the Lord Jesus.
Perhaps there is a lot of this in a conference like this - this man's name and that man's name and this teacher and that teacher. We have our preferences and attachments, but we must drop the whole thing. Paul is saying nothing but "Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." We must drop all that personality complex business which in the development only means division in the Body of Christ, and division is weakness and defeat. We must restrain from this sort of thing, for this is moving along the wrong line. This is moving from the outside - trying to gather around personalities and calling that "unity" instead of dealing with it from the inside; and after all, if only, if only we saw Jesus Christ, we would see what the Church is.
Dear friends, the Church of Jesus Christ is not an "it." It is NOT a system of teaching. It is NOT something ecclesiastical. It is NOT an institution. (Oh, I thank God for the day when He showed me this.) THE CHURCH IS A PERSON AND THAT PERSON IS JESUS CHRIST IN CORPORATE EXPRESSION.
We must review our mentality when we talk about the Church, the Body of Christ. What are you talking about? - not an it, a something, as though it were a something in itself, and a teaching in itself. NO, it is this Man with a family, with children, brothers and sisters, begotten of God, that is the Church!
Oh, how much ecclesiasticism we can have without the family life, but the Church after all, when you come to the final Word, is just the measure of Christ that there is in those who make it up - "tell we all attain unto...the measure...of Christ" - every one of us. That is the Body of Christ, that is the Church.
Now I am going to close this morning. We have seen the every first thing that you meet at Corinth is this carry-over of an old humanity in personality complexities, and the Lord says "No" and the apostle says "No...only 'Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.' " The Lord search our hearts concerning these two humanities. Let us pray...
Now, Lord, this can very quickly and very easily be all covered in the next moments when we go away and have to think back as to what it was about in that hour. Spare that, save us from that. Lord, we are not wanting to impose upon Thy people any kind of suppression, but we do pray that the Holy Spirit will solemnize our hearts in the presence of such great issues in the greatest issue of all time and eternity. Give us quiet meditation, prayerful meditation in our hearts to see where we are, where we are in this whole Bible. So help us, God, for Thy Son's sake, Amen
(continued with # 10 - Battleground of the Two Humanities