The All-Governing and Dominating Vision:The Seeing of Jesus Our Lord (continued)
2. His Son - The End of the Old Economy and the Introduction of An Entirely New Economy (continued)
Peter has seen this, for in 1 Peter 3:3 and 4 he speaks to the dear sisters "whose adorning is not the plaiting of the hair and the wearing of the jewelry." What is the word "adorning?" "Adorning" in the original is "Whose world (cosmos)" - "whose cosmos" is the word "adorning." "Whose cosmos, whose world," whose realm and system of things is not this getting yourself up in making an impression. Oh, I am not holding any agreement with carelessness and slovenliness and that sort of thing, but the question is what "world" do you live in? - how do you appear to others, what impression do you make by these outward things? "No," says Peter, of the saintly women whose world is not that. That is not their world, that is not their cosmos, their system, but their "adorning" is "the ornament of a meek and a quiet spirit." So we see one system of externals is gone, and it is all now a system of the Spirit in the heart, a Heavenly thing for a Heavenly people.
Now some people have seen the principle, and they have tried to put it into effect by putting on a certain kind of raiment and becoming a sect who wear that kind of raiment. They have seen the principle all right, but you cannot fulfill a principle in that way. It is the Spirit that comes out and expresses itself. The end of an economy, its consummation and then the transition to an entirely new regime, the regime of the Man perfected and installed in glory as God's Model for this New Humanity. "According to Christ" is the phrase so often used. It is "according to Christ" or "not according to Christ." That is the test, the challenge, according to the perfected Man and Humanity installed in Heaven, God's Pattern, to which He is working.
He is working, and here we come back again to the place of the Holy Spirit in the Letters to the Corinthians, especially the First Letter. As we look through the letter, what is the full, ultimate, supreme function of the Holy Spirit? - "Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, ... though I give all my goods to the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, I have nothing." The supreme work of the Holy Spirit is the Character of Jesus Christ, not love as a thing. You can put on love as a thing. You can put that on, and it can be a pretension, a way of behaving and speaking. Beloved, people can come and put their hand on your shoulder and be treacherous behind your back by pointing out your faults to someone else. It must be "unfeigned love" the apostle says. "Unfeigned, unhypocritical, love of the brethren": it is the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
Are you not surprised when Paul has finished his letters, and he says, "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ ..." (this benediction has become so commonplace and lost so much of its contextual significance as applying and relating mo the whole Corinthians situation). What is the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ? "...though He were rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might become rich." That is the grace of the Lord Jesus, self-emptying; Paul will later say that to the Philippians.
The benediction, what is it? "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ." It is Jesus Christ all the time. "The love of God." How do you know it? In Jesus Christ only, never in any other way can we know the Love of God. "The fellowship of the Holy Spirit": the communion, the unity, - the removal of those divisions and that divisive spirit, ("I am of Paul, Apollos, Peter, and so on -").
"Have I Not Seen Jesus Our Lord?"
"He was Pleased to Reveal His Son In Me"
Now time does not permit me to start this morning on that next great thing: how seeing Jesus is the Source, the Character, of all ministry in this dispensation. But let us hold what we have heard this morning quietly before the Lord because it challenges us. How far are we here able to say with the effect of it, the revolution, the transformation, the transition: - "Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?" - "He was pleased to reveal His Son in me." And when that happened, my word, what a lot went. It just went and what a lot came. How different!
(continued with # 30)