by T. Austin-Sparks
[Lord, we know that we have just used the words which one of old, a long time ago] used, but did not understand that it was the Lord speaking. He thought it was a man, though a man of God, until he was brought face to face with the fact: no, it is not man that speaks, it is God. And then directly with Thyself he said, "Speak Lord, Thy servant heareth." We pray that we may have that enablement to discern when the Lord is speaking, when it is not just a man, but the Lord. And oh, how much hangs upon the Lord speaking to us as it did with Samuel. We would be like Samuel, that mighty power amongst the people of God. We ask Thee that we may truly hear Thee through any other voice that may speak, that we may hear inwardly the voice of the Lord, that we may go down before Thee and receive whatever instructions or commissions Thou wouldst have us receive. So help us, Lord, this morning, for Thy name's sake, amen.
There is a hymn in one of our hymn books; some of you will know it, others may not. And it runs like this:
"My goal is God Himself, not joy,
Nor even blessing, but Himself, my God;
’Tis His to lead me there - not mine, but His -
At any cost, dear Lord, by any road."
Young Christians without much experience sing that with a good deal of enthusiasm. Older, more mature Christians sing it holding their heart. I wonder if you would commit yourself to those last lines: "At any cost, dear Lord, by any road." You say yes? If you do, then you are prepared for what's coming, for on that very ground I am quite sure we are going to meet a challenge this morning. It will bring the challenge of a real crisis upon which so very much for us all will hang, far more than we are aware of.
Well now, having said that, let us get on. You know that in this hour of our sessions, we are occupied with the two humanities, and especially with the great transition from one humanity to Another: the humanity of the first Adam (an inclusive word and term; collective as well as individual) to the Last Adam, who also is individual but collective.
Later in the week we may have something more to say about the collective aspect of the new Humanity, but we've a lot of ground to cover before we get there, to the place where I think a very big adjustment has got to be made in our mentality and conception of that corporate aspect, we call it "the church". I am certain that we've got to make some mental changes over this church conception; however, we leave that. And this morning we come back to this transition, this passing from one humanity to Another, with which the whole Bible is occupied, and particularly the New Testament.
I weigh my words; I am very careful. I am not a bit concerned with, or interested in just passing to you a lot of teaching and information. I am too old for that. Everything has got to contain something vital upon which destiny hangs. So I weigh my words, and I want to repeat this: the New Testament in its entirety is occupied with one thing, it has many things about the one thing all contained in it, but this is the one thing: the transition from that one humanity - kind of being, man-kind - to Another. The "other" being Christ, the first of this new race and order of mankind upon which God's heart has been set from the beginning, of far greater importance, as we said and pointed out yesterday, than even angels. As little children, we used to sing a little hymn: "I want to be an angel." Do you? My word, God has a far, far greater destiny for you than that of angels. "Angels desire to look into these things"; it says they desire to look into this. "Not unto angels, but unto man" - the supreme conception of God's heart in this creation of which Christ His Son is the first, the beginning.
Everything, therefore, that you will find in your New Testament in one way or another has to do with this change-over. And everything that we shall find in our own spiritual experience, if we are really in the hand of the Holy Spirit, has to do with this. "Oh, I am going through this experience. I am having this difficulty. I am passing this way of sorrow, of perplexity..." whatever it is, it is all, in the control of the Holy Spirit, related to this transition: movement from one ground to another, from one personal kind to another personal kind. Is that clear? The focus is right now upon the situation that you're in, whether it be a good one or a bad one: "by any road, at any cost."
And here it is that we begin what is not going to be, in the first place, pleasant to contemplate. What is it?
The Absolute Necessity for the Practical Devastation of One Kind of Humanity
I underline the word practical, not doctrinal, not theoretical, not theological, not philosophical, but practical devastation of our old humanity.
I wonder if you have recognised that the Old Testament throughout is occupied on one side with this: the exposure of the inability of that humanity, under the most favourable conditions, to satisfy God.
God took out a people, related them, attached them to Himself. While they remained on His ground, He blessed them with every, not spiritual, but temporal blessing in the earthly. They had only got to be obedient to the commandment and blessed was their farm and their store and their basket and their family and their business and everything prospered on this earth. He gave them a marvellous economy under His sovereignty, right through from the garden, through Israel. And what have we when we close our New [Old] Testament? The failure of that kind of humanity under every condition, and every favourable condition that God could give temporally. It's a tragic story, and the Old Testament has to close. No, it has not attained: it has failed. You have to write on that side the big word "Failure" over that whole history of mankind in relation to God.
You come into your New Testament, and you find, now what is happening? This whole issue is being headed up to its climax in the New Testament. God has stepped in with an intervention and along one line saying: "We are going to definitely and positively bring this thing to a culmination and a climax; but to do it, We must let people see and know, in all history and all time, recognise why it's necessary for Us to bring about this culmination and climax of that humanity." Oh, note this, while we are not interested just in fascination, there's something quite fascinating about this. It's gripping, when once you begin to see.
So, not in the order of time or chronology, we have our four "gospels" as they are called, and what are these four gospels? They are two things: of course, they are the introduction of God's kind of Man, He is put there. And then alongside of God's kind of Man, the other kind of man is arranged. You cannot read these gospels from that standpoint without being shocked! It's the only word for it - shocked - at the exposure of man alongside of this other Man, this Man that God has put down in the midst. Read your gospels again in this light: the reactions of men to this Man. Are they not terrible? You wonder sometimes how on earth that they got the cleverness to note some of the things that they bring up against this Man.
Steadily moving on, moving on in that way in uncovering, exposure, manifestation of that kind of man intensifying. Note the point where it seems a new intensification comes in in this malice, this hatred, this prejudice, this wickedness - against who? "Why, what has my Lord done? What means this rage and spite?" Intensified, until you come right up to the days of the cross. You remember, of course, that He has been moving on the ground of the crucified Man from His baptism onward, and that's a significant fact when you carry it into the unseen realm, where the forces of antagonism are at work. However, that by the way.
But now we come actually up to the time of the cross, the hours before the crucifixion, and the hour itself. And you have gathered around that cross a representation of every aspect of the human race. From the inner circle to the wider circle, they are all there; and the focal point is the Cross of Jesus Christ. And what is that Cross bringing to light? Well, let us take a few cases and instances of this.
We'll begin with the highest representation of the highest religious system and order that history has known.
The high priest of Israel, in whom the race is officially centred and gathered up - he is representative of the nation. You read the story put together from these accounts where Caiaphas is the chief actor, the chief actor on the stage of this drama.
No words of mine or of man can describe, really, that man with this other Man, this other Man in his presence. I think the only description, the only words that approach the description of this man, were long before prophesied by Isaiah. Do you remember? You are so familiar with them in Isaiah, chapter 6, when the prophet has made his response to the Lord's appeal, "Who will go for Us?" said Jeremiah: "Send me!" What did the Lord say to him? What did the Lord say to him? "And He said (the Lord said): Go, and tell this people, 'Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn again, and be healed.'" That sounds terrible! "Lest... lest... lest they turn again. Make it impossible for them to do so, take away their ability to go back upon their course." Isn't that terrible?
But what are you dealing with? You are dealing with a hardness of heart which has been hardened and hardened and hardened again, against the Word, against the prophets, against all the revelation that God has given - a hardening, a hardening until they have gone beyond the point of no return and God has said: "You have so hardened your heart and said so positively: 'No' to My ways, that it's beyond now, remedying." That's Caiaphas and Israel at the Cross; the heart which says "No" to God.
What a heart, what an exposure! What a revelation of human capacity in the presence of the highest privilege. Yes, it's coming out now, what has gone on. What has gone on, it had perhaps a very simple beginning, but it grew and grew - there was no turning back when it was possible, until it reached the point where God said: "Take away their capacity for hearing and seeing." The judgment of the hard heart of man, even under all those appeals and pleadings and sobs and tears of God. It's come out at the Cross; what the Cross reveals about what is possible in our heart!
You say: "That's Caiaphas, that's not me." Oh, you don't know the human heart if you say that! You don't know the human heart if you have never had any rebellion in your heart, if you've never had the capacity for saying "No" to the Lord and had to have a battle over it. It's there; it's not Caiaphas, it's Adam! Adam, you see, Adam following through by coming to development.
We may not stay with all these, we stop there. In the high place of religion you come from Caiaphas and move over to Pilate.
What an opportunity this man had! Oh, what has history said about Pilate? We do not think of Pilate without some feeling of disgust. Pilate, who had the opportunity of humanity in his hands, and what is he doing? What is he doing? Well, you say, he is vacillating, he is moving from one foot to the other; he may at times seem to be rocking, but all that speaks of weakness, weakness in his inability to come right down one hundred percent on one foot and make his full and final decision; trying to pass it over to someone else to make the decision, trying to shed the responsibility... but why? Why? A time server... "If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar's friend." That is it! Caesar's favour, "Caesar's ability to further my worldly interest: If I take this line, then all my worldly interests are in jeopardy: my prosperity in business, my good standing with the authorities, those that have it in their power to further my interest." A time server, alright.
And Pilate goes down in history as the man who handed Jesus over from his own inability to make a decision in His favour, to be crucified. "Take Him, you take Him; I have said, I find no fault in Him, but you take Him and crucify Him." The weakness of what? The weakness of the awful tragedy of a divided heart, the main feature and factor in which is how this is going to affect me and my interests. That finds us out all the way along.
You see, that was the battle that Jesus Himself fought in the wilderness with the devil. The devil was saying, "How it will affect You if You go the way that You have decided to go, how it would affect You! If You want the kingdoms of this world, You take the line of compromise." Well, Pilate - but what an exposure of what is in man.
We hurry on and come nearer, nearer to the centre of the circle, when we come to Judas Iscariot.
You can't use that word, that name now, can you, without a frown, almost a sneer. [The scoundrel] Judas. When you want to say the worst thing that you can say about anybody, you say: "He's a Judas."
It started somewhere in a very simple way, it started in a day when either the Lord Himself (who knew what He was doing, mark you) or the other disciples, said to Judas: "Look here, people will give us gifts to help us along, we'll have to have somebody to look after the gifts. Judas, you, you have the bag."
A simple beginning, but what happened? Being in that position drew out something that was deep down in that humanity. Perhaps deeper than even Judas knew; drew it out, drew it out, drew it out. You know the end. A man who again goes beyond the point of return and recognises at last that he has been betraying the Lord. Everything, everything that was put in his way: of glory, of heavenly order; and there's nothing else to do but to take his own life.
But what has been exposed? What has been exposed? What is it in this humanity that's down there in the root of things and comes up and up and up if only given an opportunity? I heard Dr. Campbell Morgan once say in preaching, we are capable of anything if only we have the opportunity for it. That's searching. What has come out? Covetousness, covetousness - that's all. Wanting to have; to have.
And my friends, while you shrink from the name Judas, be careful; this is in us all. Even in the work of the Lord: covetousness to be recognised, to be given opportunities of service, going about feeling wherever we can for someone to give us an open door for ministry. You see? Drawing to ourselves, even in the things of God, to disciple. The root may be there, this wanting to have, to make ourselves something. Covetousness, which the Word says is idolatry. The Cross will discover what's in us; it will bring it out. That's Judas.
Now come nearer still, come nearer still, perhaps to the innermost circle.
Simon Peter who's a man who did not know himself and thought so differently about himself from what was true: "I will never forsake Thee! I will go with Thee even unto death. Though all men forsake Thee, yet will I not. I will not." "I will..." - "I..." I? I? Where did that begin? Where did that begin? You've heard this before.
Blinded by this ego, this selfhood, "Oh, Simon Peter, you don't know yourself, but the Cross is going to uncover you, find you out, and expose you and devastate you. Devastate you! You'll go out in despair of yourself and shed many tears. And the Lord will have to send someone searching for you with a special message: 'Go to My disciples and to Peter... I know what's happening there, I know where he is and what's happening.'"
Poor, poor Simon Peter. What has happened? Well, the Lord told Simon Peter what would happen, and Simon didn't understand it until after it. "Simon, Simon, Satan has desired to have thee, that he may sift thee as wheat" - strip off that false, that false covering of selfhood which covers really what is there that you don't know; sift you as wheat."
Well, Simon found that the Cross is a very, very searching and a very devastating thing to any kind of self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-interest, or anything of self. It's going to simply desolate that kind of humanity.
And I take just one other, one other instance. After He is crucified, after that part of the drama is completed, two of them, two of them went on that day to Emmaus, a village. You know the story in Luke 24. As they talked, sadly talked, this stranger, stranger drew up with them (their eyes were holden that they should not recognise Him) and He said: "What manner of conversation is this that you have as you walk, sad? " It comes out: "Are You only a visitor to our city? Have You only just arrived? Have You not known what has been happening in the last few days?" "What things?" He is drawing them out; He is drawing them out: "What things?" They said: "The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth. He was a Prophet mighty in Word and in deed. We hoped, we hoped that it had been He that had redeemed Israel, but our rulers crucified Him." In other words, "Our hope is all gone, all our expectation is destroyed. We are men without anything left."
Alright. Then this stranger took the Old Testament, they knew it, (I don't think He had it in His hand; they had it in their head) and He started at the beginning and worked His way all through the Scriptures. It's a marvellous thing to do, in the course of perhaps an hour; we have difficulty in getting a little bit out! And as He opened to them the Scriptures, their mouths opened, their eyes opened, and then they arrived... you know the end, they sat down to a meal. He took the bread, the loaf, and blessed it. Eyes were opened; they knew Him, and He disappeared from their sight.
What has been disclosed? What has been exposed? This: you can have your head absolutely full of the Scriptures and know them up here, and they will never save you in the day of crisis. The very thing that is there, written by God for our salvation, doesn't save us when the Cross is planted right at the heart of our lives; it's a crisis in which we collapse. That's a terrible thing, isn't it? It's searching. You know all the Scriptures? Yes. You know all the Scriptures and yet when it comes to the test of some tremendous experience, some devastating experience, all that we have read and heard and thought we knew, is no good to us. It's no good to us.
Of course, there's a lot more in the story than that, but this is my point: what a disclosure of the human heart! What an exposure of this other man, how he can be a disciple, how he can go about with the Lord for years, how he can know all that the Lord has said, and seen what the Lord has done and how he can have the teaching in his head and then when it comes to it, the real test of the man, the real test of the man: he cannot stand up to it, he collapses. "We had hoped (with our Bible in our hands) we had hoped... and are in despair." Isn't that searching?
Well, these are only cases to prove the case: the devastation of that one humanity under every kind of test is essential, listen: is essential to the other Humanity which Christ is. How different He is! How different He is, another Humanity altogether, another kind of Man in whom there is nothing of this at all, nothing of this.
The apostle once said to believers: "You have not so learned Christ"; in other words, "If you had learned Christ, you would not be doing that, you would not be like that."
Now, get hold of the issue before we go further. What is it? Oh, it may not all come at once, it may not all come at once, it could not, this devastation. It is spread over a whole lifetime, but it has a beginning, mark you, a beginning. And this is the course of a truly spiritual life.
You'll mark spiritual progress and spiritual growth and spiritual maturity by this one thing: how little the individual thinks of themself. How little they are in the picture, their own picture and other people's picture as themselves. Or should I put it the other way: how much of Christ you meet in them and not themselves. That's the test: how much the Cross has devastated them in their own natural life. We say, "crucified men", but the very phrase has lost a good deal of its point. Let's be stronger: devastated men, devastated women, in their own selfhood. It's the essential and inevitable way to spiritual fulness, to Christ, and the fulness of Christ, which is something altogether different from what we are.
Well, now having said that, we are going further with this for a little while this morning. I want to take you over to that part of the New Testament which focuses on this whole issue more than any other part I think; which brings on the one side the exposure into view, and on the other side, what it is that Christ is.
I have often been asked the question, say in Romans 7, "Is that the history of a 'born again' man or an unborn again man?" I have had the question asked me since I have been here, and I proposed to postpone the answer until now.
"The first man is of the earth, earthy..." and so on. Is that an unconverted man, a man before he is born again, or is that a born again man? That's a born again man, make no mistake about it. Paul is writing to born again people in Corinth. He opens his letter with an address to the saints which are in Christ Jesus - saints by standing through faith in Jesus Christ. And all that is in those letters is addressed to Christians; but it's a horrible exposure of something about Christians, isn't it? I confess to you that I have more than once in my life, in reading that first letter to the Corinthians, asked myself: "Were these men, these people, really born again? Can we classify them as Christians?" Yes, yes. "To the saints by standing through faith, that are in Corinth. Now, all I'm going to say," the apostle would say, "is to you, to such."
The tragedy in Corinth was the tragedy of the carry-over of relics and remnants of the other humanity. There is something here, mark you, there is something here of the new Humanity, but there's been confusion in behaviour, confusion in relationships. And if you think that word is not justified, I want to remind you that they wrote to the apostle Paul on one occasion asking him ten, ten elementary questions about the Christian life, about what Christianity is. They were in confusion about the elementary things of Christianity.
I am not going to stay this week, I think, with all those questions, but there they are. There's confusion, terrible complications in Corinth. There is weakness; weakness in life, in a living testimony. There's shame, reproach. The apostle has to say some very strong and some very hard things to Christians because of a carry-over of the old humanity into a relationship with the new, without the clean cut.
Is that, is that why the apostle, after his introduction in the first letter, says: "I made up my mind, I determined, I resolved, to know nothing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." Oh, we are going to meet "Christ crucified" repeatedly through these two letters, at crisic points in their spiritual life.
"Christ crucified - that's the foundation on which we are going to build, you Corinthians, you who have carried over some of the old humanity into the realm of the new and find that the two things won't go together; immediately there is confusion and defeat."
Well, here we are in this letter, these letters to the Corinthians, and I have said that these, more than any other in the New Testament, represent the battleground of the two humanities; right there at the beginning of the first letter as a heading, carried right through.
The Battleground of the Two Humanities
That's with the Corinthians. May I mark one thing before I go further? And I'll keep carefully to my time. When Paul came to this situation, to deal with it in Corinth, and said in doing so: "In coming to you, I made a definite, positive, conclusive resolve to know nothing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified," what did he do? What did he do when he said that? What does that mean? "I am not coming to you people who are philosophically-minded and are so interested in philosophy, I am not coming with a new philosophy. I am not coming to you with a new religion. I am not coming to you with a new system of teaching. I am not coming to you with a new order and form and technique. I am coming with everything gathered up and focused in a Person. A Person! A Man, a Man. A Person."
You see the force of that? It is forceful. "No, I am not interested in any of these other things that you may be interested in. For me it is this Man, Christ Jesus, this different kind of Man and this Man Who is crucified to all the other kind of man: crucified to this world, crucified to old humanity, crucified to all these things that you think so much of, that are so important to you, crucified to the whole realm."
It's a Man, and a Man only, and a kind of Man, that is the point, the focus: gathered into a Man. Now from that point onward, the whole thing develops. On the one side that man that they have tried to bring over and are still nursing here at Corinth, on the other side this other Man. You'll read right on won't you, it's in Corinth: "If any man be in Christ, there is a new Creation, the old things have passed away; behold all have become new." The great divide of the Cross. Well, this is Corinth, and the old and new Humanity - the real battleground - and what a battleground it is!
If you are thinking objectively and historically, stop. Stop at once; come over your two thousand years, bridge that gap, get away from geographical Corinth or historical Corinth, and come right here. Right here! We belong to that same humanity by nature; by nature. By grace, we belong to another Humanity. But we, dear friends, this is where Christendom is all in confusion today and in defeat, so that we read in papers that Christianity has had its day, it isn't counting, it really doesn't matter, it has no impact upon world conditions and situations, and so on. That's the conclusion of the natural man because of what he sees in Christendom. We have to agree to a very large extent, don't we?
We do know something else, we do know something else, but Christendom has got into that terrible plight today for this very reason: that the complete understanding of the cleavage, there's the cleavage which the Cross of Jesus Christ has made between the two humanities and there's no bridge tolerated by God between those two. The Cross has cut right in between these two humanities; and as I was saying, it may not all happen at once, but through a lifetime, the Holy Spirit will be teaching us, if we are teachable, if we are sensitive, if we are walking in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit will be teaching us: "That is you, that is not Christ (putting it in a phrase): that is you. That's your way of talking, that's your way of thinking, that's your way of going about, that's just you, that's not Christ."
Oh, it would take a long time; but, oh, it would be so profitable to study this other Man as He walked in this world and see the principles which governed His life, which were all heavenly and all spiritual and made Him absolutely incalculable in this world. Yes, like that.
Well now, coming to Corinth, and we haven't to move far into the letter, the first letter, before we find this tremendous distinction drawn - clearcut - and we are shown what belongs to the one side and what belongs to the other.
Chapter 2, chapter 2... oh, that Christendom had really had its eyes opened to chapter 2 of the first letter to the Corinthians. The two designations here of the two humanities are: the natural man, that's it, the natural man (and let me say again that is not necessarily the unborn-again man). I'm not going to enter into any argument about perfectionism, except the argument that if I were meant to be sinless, the Lord has taken far too long to bring it about! No, there's so much yet of what is natural about us, even after a long life of seeking to walk with the Lord, is there not? Why, I'm meeting it here and you're meeting it here. It's here! We meet one another, don't we? Ah yes, meet one another on that other ground.
Oh, if only, if only we, everyone, met fully, wholly, completely, utterly and finally on the ground of Christ, well, we wouldn't stay here or any place on this earth, we'd go to glory, that's how it's going to be there. It's not like that. There may be more or less of this, but Corinth shows and is used to show, it stands in spiritual history to show the tragedy of a carry-over from one humanity to another and not allowing the great transition to be clear cut. That is what it's here for. And so we have this dividing: the natural man, and "he that is spiritual".
He That is Spiritual and the Natural Man
And then there opens up the characteristics of each. I'm afraid to launch out into this, there's so much of it. You will come almost immediately on this: personality complexes. Personality complexes: that's the natural man. "I am of Paul." "I am of Apollos." "I am of Peter." "And I go one better than the lot of you, I (still I) am of Christ!" You tell me that we are not capable of that? Making even a servant of God, and 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 line of teaching that appeals to me, his interpretation, his personality. All like that; all like that.
And the apostle, or the Holy Spirit, puts that sort of thing in the category of the natural man because the effect of that is divisiveness in the Body of Christ. That's what the letter opens up with: divisiveness in the Body of Christ. Oh, don't talk about personalities; they may have been used to your help; you may owe a lot to the Lord because of them, but don't be constantly bringing them into view. Paul will argue back and say: "Who is Paul? Who is Apollos? Who is Peter? Only servants of God through whom you believed! Only servants of God to you." Let the instrument recede into the background, and let Christ come to the fore; be occupied with Him, talk about the Lord Jesus!
Ah, now, now we are found out, you know. There's a lot of it here in a conference like this: this man's name and that man's name, and this teacher and that teacher, and this one's line of things and that one, and we have our preferences and attachments. Drop the whole thing! Paul is saying, "Nothing but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." Through all that personality complex business, which in development only means division in the Body of Christ, and division is weakness and defeat.
Systematised Christianity has attached names to its various branches. Dare I? Dare I? Luther. Wesley. "I am of Wesley", "I am of Luther", that's what's going on, you know: "That's my line". That's your Christendom as you have it today. They're trying to get the better of all the complications that results from this sort of thing, for they're doing it along the wrong line. They're doing it from the outside, what is called "unity" instead of dealing with it from the inside. And after all, if only, if only we saw Jesus Christ (and here I am going ahead, I said I would not) if only we saw Jesus Christ we'd see what the church is.
Dear friends, I am going to say it now: the church, 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.
Revise your mentality about it when you talk about the Church, the Body of Christ. What are you talking about? Not an it, a something, as though it were a some thing in itself, and a teaching in itself. No, it's this Man with a Family: children, brothers and sisters, begotten of God - that's the Church.
Oh, how much ecclesiasticism we can have without the Family life. Is that true? That's true. No! No! No! 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, "till we all attain unto... the measure... of Christ," every one of us. Are you a church member? Is your name on the church roll? Wipe it all out, that mentality! You cannot join the Church. There's no roll, in this sense. How did my arm come to be part of my body? Well, someone said to my arm, "Would you like to join that body? If you will, we'll put your name on the roll." Now, if I can, by being ridiculous, you see, get the point: it grew from the inside, didn't it? It's a part of the whole organism! It has no life apart from the rest. It is dependent upon the whole. That's the Body of Christ. That's the Church. I'll have a lot more to say about that perhaps, we'll see.
Well, here you see the very first thing (and I am going to close now) the very first thing that you meet at Corinth is this carry-over of an old humanity in personality complexes. And the Lord says: "No". And the apostle says: "No. Not a bit, 'Jesus Christ.'" And we'll follow on if it's the Lord's will, tomorrow. The Lord search our hearts.
Now, Lord, this can very quickly and very easily be all covered over 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 solemnise our hearts in the presence of such great issues, 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 battle. So help us, God, for Thy Son's sake, amen.