1 Corinthians 2: 1-2, 7-13; 12: 7-13
Acts 19: 1-7
Ephesians 1: 13-14; 2: 18-22; 3: 20-21
Revelation 22: 16-17
CKR In this reading I desire that we may consider the oil in the cruse. I will just read the verse again in 1 Kings 17 verse 16 that is the theme for these two readings. “The meal in the barrel did not waste, neither did the oil in the cruse fail, according to the word of Jehovah which he had spoken through Elijah”. It did not fail, and let us say right at the beginning that the dispensation of the Holy Spirit will conclude in triumph and in glory. In Acts 2 we have the coming of the Holy Spirit and the distinctive nature of that as indwelling the hundred and twenty who were in the upper room. It says that, “it sat upon each one of them”. This shows the distinctive nature of the coming of the Holy Spirit upon individuals so that the Holy Spirit becomes, typically speaking, the oil now in the cruse. Acts 2 shows the resource and power for the filling out of a dispensation the like of which has never been and will never be repeated. But then we begin to see as the truth opens out in the book of the Acts that the oil in the cruse really works out as the Spirit is known in localities, and Paul is given the light from God not only to open the truth of the assembly, but also to open up the place and resource of the Holy Spirit as known in local assemblies. While other epistles could have been read in the interests of our enquiry, we might consider it in relation to Corinth and to Ephesus, and then to see beautifully the culmination of the whole matter is that “the Spirit and the bride say, Come”.
I trust that we will see that in 1 Corinthians 2 there is both the meal and the oil, and I read Acts 19 because I think we see there that before Paul writes to Ephesus, he establishes a basis that the meal was there and understood as related to the Lord Jesus. I think in Acts 19 Paul was establishing that the meal was there, and then he expands on the oil in the epistle. But initially we have in Acts 2 the unique nature of the coming of the Holy Spirit. As we saw in Luke 1 and 2 in the earlier reading, the distinctive coming in of the incarnation of the Lord Jesus was a holy matter. Now we have the incoming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2.
EJM It says they were in “the upper chamber”, Acts 1: 13. Do you think the conditions were provided for the incoming, just as in Luke 1 they were in the hill country?
CKR I think so. We finish Luke with the company going back from Bethany into the temple, and there they were “praising and blessing God”, Luke 24: 53. The Lord Jesus had gone into glory, ten days ensued, and this company is waiting. We see in Acts 1 these characteristics, giving themselves to prayer and staying in the upper room. The number twelve was fulfilled in chapter 1 of the Acts (v 26), and then there was the coming in of the Holy Spirit. What a momentous moment this was, a Man has gone into heaven and God is now here in the presence and resource of the Holy Spirit of God.
DBR “It sat upon each one of them”. We are reminded in the type that the oil could not be put upon the flesh of man (Exod 30: 32). With the leper, it was where the blood was Lev 14: 14-17. This is a redeemed company.
CKR I think that is right, so that the hundred and twenty were really divinely prepared souls for the reception of the Holy Spirit. As you say, the blood was put on the tip of the right ear, and on the thumb of the right hand, and also upon the great toe; and on top of the blood was put the oil. Cleansing has been accomplished and the anointing of the Spirit is given. As He is acknowledged and known there will not be failure. Divine power is known on the earth.
RB And the Spirit is maintaining in the testimony, right down to this very moment, that same character of greatness that was seen in Christ, is He not?
CKR Exactly. All that went up into heaven when Jesus went up. Then it came down here in the grace of the anointing when the Spirit came from a glorified Christ and indwells souls. What a wonderful moment this is for heaven when there were souls on earth that had received the gift of the Holy Spirit of God.
GCMcK The tongues that sat upon each one of them were “parted tongues”, it says; so there was a link then involved in the coming of the Spirit among the disciples, do you think?
CKR Say more.
GCMcK Well, it was not an individual tongue on each of them, it was “parted tongues, as of fire”. It seems to suggest that they were together in sharing in this same blessed privilege.
CKR “And it sat upon each one of them”. There is a restful touch in that. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that is coming upon them, because this was distinctive and it was a unique experience. Here we have the unique matter of, “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit”. Human beings are now vessels imbued with divine power.
RB When the Lord speaks about the Spirit in John’s gospel, He first introduces them to “another Comforter”, John 14: 16. Is that not a great thing in the testimony at the present time?
CKR As He had comforted His own, so the Holy Spirit would become “another Comforter”. It brings in the nearness and service of the Holy Spirit which is something I am sure we would all desire to know more of.
RB Is that why, when Peter speaks about the suffering position, he says, “the Spirit of glory and the Spirit of God rests upon you”, 1 Pet 4: 14.
CKR Quite so. Think of the restful complacency, which is a great matter to contemplate, of a divine Person dwelling and resting upon the hundred and twenty individually.
JDG They become witnesses of Christ glorified. They had been witnesses of Him on His time on earth. The Spirit comes as a witness too according to John 15, but here the whole thing is unified, one body, one Spirit.
CKR Quite so. That is a great truth that God desires will bind human hearts and lives together. It is not on the surface, but is deep and has its source in the power of a divine Person here in the Spirit.
RG It says later on, “This Jesus has God raised up, whereof all we are witnesses. Having therefore been exalted by the right hand of God, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit …”, Acts 2: 32, 33. “This Jesus” - that is the same Jesus that we had in the first reading, and now He is in this exalted position, and from there the Spirit is coming to bear witness to Him, do you think?
CKR So, “he has poured out this which ye behold and hear”. Think of divine feelings and divine resource all coming out; heaven’s feelings being expressed now with delight, giving completeness and support for the testimony to the Man who has glorified God on the earth and now gone into heaven. And what is now being secured and developed in this dispensation is a vessel which is like Him and for Him.
JS Before this happened the Spirit had spent ten days with of this Man in glory.
CKR These are days that we know little of. They must have been blessed days in heaven. The revelation of God had taken place in Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But this is a different aspect, the holiness of their own relations with Jesus in Manhood in glory, having glorified God and having gone back into heaven. What a matter for our contemplation! Then the Spirit comes forth from that. It is a scene of victory and glory.
JS So that persons were given the ability to speak. The Spirit’s knowledge of Christ personally would enter into that speaking, do you think?
CKR That is right. This scripture is at the threshold of the Spirit’s mission for this dispensation which is to bring the features of that realm where Christ is glorified to human hearts who have received the gift of the Spirit. So that the light of heaven and Christ glorified is now filling the hearts and minds and affections of such souls.
TM In the scripture in 2 Kings 4 you have the vessels, the empty vessels, then you have, “And the oil stayed”, 2 Kings 4: 7. Is that like what we have here “sat upon each one of them”?
CKR Well, it is sufficient. The Holy Spirit is sufficient for the filling of the vessels. We see fulness in this incident, not only to fulfil responsibility but also to live in sonship on the rest.
RT There is an impression of irresistible power in the way things are put here, clearing away all that had been before, and clearing away man completely to make way for a new system.
CKR In Elisha’s case it was a new cruse that had to be got, 2 Kings 2: 20. Here is a beautiful sphere of divine power and glory on earth as the dispensation is ushered in in such a wonderful way. The dispensation, what is determined as a whole period of time now about two thousand years, was inaugurated when Christ went into heaven and was glorified, and the Holy Spirit came. It is a wonderful matter to realise that that divine Person has been here since and will be here until the rapture. So that is the period of time that we are considering, and that “the oil in the cruse” will not fail.
RT It has all come out of heaven with no earthly connection apart from what the Lord left when He was here in manhood.
CKR That is beautiful! And it will go to heaven finally, breaking with what it was as here on earth provisionally because it is destined for heaven. These are wonderful matters and yet we experience them now in the time scene. Every one of us who has received the gift of the Spirit may have the leading and influencing of power of a divine Person. We have a new source of power.
RB In chapter 16 you get that beautiful expression, “the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them”, verse 7. It is the Spirit really that is of that Man in the testimony, which is still going on today?
CKR Absolutely. It is maintained and it will not fail. I do not want to over-emphasise it, but that is what I would like to leave, that the meal will not waste and the oil will not fail. We need to get that thrust of victory and assurance into our souls.
GCMcK Speaking is the first evidence, is it? They “began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave to them to speak forth”. So the Spirit is still speaking. It runs down through the dispensation, “what the Spirit says to the assemblies”, Rev 3: 22.
CKR Quite so, and we have now spiritual things being communicated by spiritual means. If we can move on to Corinth, this is the way Paul brings out this truth. In his epistles to local assemblies he finds liberty to expand upon the place of the Holy Spirit.
DBR “Filled with the Holy Spirit”.
CKR It is not a partial filling. The reception of the Spirit by an individual, to my mind is a complete thought. The extent to which I give place to the Spirit is another matter, but the Holy Spirit fills and also forms the house of God. It is characterised by the influence and power and resource of the Holy Spirit.
So when we come to 1 Corinthians in chapter 2 I suggest that verses 1 and 2 are the meal, “For I did not judge it well to know anything among you save Jesus Christ”. I think that is the meal. The meal was introduced at Corinth in the word of the cross in chapter 1 (v 18). It was necessary to set aside all the display of man and to get Jesus Christ as the foundation, that order of manhood. Then he goes on in chapter 2 and on through the epistle to bring out the place and resource of the Holy Spirit. In chapter 2 the theme is the Spirit and the things that have been prepared for those that love God.
JBI The Corinthians had been building the wrong man, and this gave a devastating blow to that system, do you think?
CKR That is very good. Say more on that please.
JBI “Him crucified”.
CKR That is right. It shows that that character of manhood was displayed at man’s greatest point of humiliation. There was a moral glory that shone there. So it is “Jesus Christ, and him crucified”. It is the divine answer to the display of the first order of man that God has ended it in the crucifixion of Jesus. That character of manhood was able to sustain it, He was able to bear it. That is one glory of His humanity, and as a result of that we can come to “the oil in the cruse”.
DBR We speak about the natural man. We know he has been superseded. “But the natural man …”. The note is interesting, ‘the man animated merely by his created soul, without the teaching and power of the Holy Spirit’. Is this something very important for all of us?
CKR Yes. I thought that we would see the way the believer’s mind and being are influenced and formed as we come more and more under the influence of the Holy Spirit. It is not according to the first man, because that is gone, but it is according to the way that God is developing the features of Christ and the formation of the assembly.
DBR The natural mind is a dangerous thing. I thought it important for all of us to have a renewed mind. It is only by the renewed mind that we can properly evaluate things, do you think?
CKR Quite so. That comes into Romans 12: 2. So in a sense God is able to use your mind, but it is on a different approach and principle. It is not the result of man’s intelligence or man’s learning, but you are leaning upon the Holy Spirit. So there is such a thing as “the mind of the Spirit”, Rom 8: 6. My mind begins to think and desire after divine Persons and divine things.
DBR So that the renewed mind would be something that is effected in the believer by the Spirit. Do you think we would be encouraged to speak often and have to do often with the Spirit?
CKR Absolutely. I think you can see that in the way Paul opens things up. We did not have time to read all these references but he refers to sowing to the Spirit, walking in the Spirit, praying in the Spirit. These are all features that come into the epistles. Paul seems to find liberty, and feels the need in his teaching to bring in so many references to the Holy Spirit in the various epistles. It is a good study for us, including our younger brethren, to read the epistles and see where the Spirit is referred to and what verbs are used to give an indication that the oil in the cruse is functioning, and flowing through the mind and affections and being of the believer.
RB This is not doctrine. It is seen very practically with Timothy. It says that he cares with genuine feeling how the saints get on, Phil 2: 20. That is really the effect of these verses, is it not?
CKR Yes, that is right. It is the effect of desiring “the things of the Spirit”. That is another expression that comes into Romans 8: 5. So you begin to see that we are in the realm of revelation here, what God has revealed to us by His Spirit. It is a great privilege to be conversing over things today that God is revealing by His Spirit, “Things which eye has not seen, and ear not heard, and which have not come into man’s heart, which God has prepared for them that love him”. What treasures we have!
EJM In the household of Chloe and the house of Stephanus, Paul had spiritual affinities right away, do you think?
CKR Quite so. These were souls that appreciated the oil, and saw the danger of its functioning being impaired because of local conditions like division. So all of that is cleared by “Jesus Christ, and him crucified”. He then brings out, and begins to open up, the greatness and glory of what can be known of things of the Spirit in local companies.
AGM This is the normal service of the Spirit. It is very interesting that He searches “even the depths of God”. That is in the line of revelation. There is nothing knowable of God that God is not prepared to reveal, but it is by the Spirit.
CKR There are many matters to be considered in our times together which are basic and essential and helpful, and you often feel you are really touching deep things; and all of that is part of the filling out of the knowledge of the service of the Spirit in local companies. So there is a great advantage in giving place to the Holy Spirit collectively.
JDG There is a link here with Theophilus, is there not, just to link with your thoughts? “Things … which have not come into man’s heart, which God has prepared for them that love him”? It shows you how simple it is where there is true affection for divine Persons that we might wait for God unfolding His mind.
CKR That is right. So the Holy Spirit brings the love of God. It is shed abroad in our hearts, Rom 5: 5. A love for God becomes developed, and then entrance into spiritual matters flows from that as we consider and go in for these things.
JDG The work of God in the believer will respond to that.
CKR That is right. It is a wonderful matter that we touch on. New birth has taken place, and then the gathering together of all the work that has gone on, so that we are in the company of those that are “sanctified in Christ Jesus, called saints”, 1 Cor 1: 2. You have a company now secured which is an extension in the hundred and twenty worked out in local meetings. Paul has laboured, and this is a company that has been developing there.
And so in chapter 12 he begins to open that out even more. This is a very precious part of Paul’s first epistle to Corinthians. Headship and the Lord’s supper come in in chapter 11, and now we come in chapter 12 to the thought of the body.
GCMcK Is the body a distinctive feature of this dispensation?
CKR “There is one body”, Eph 4. I think it brings out the relation of a vessel down here that is linked to a glorified Christ. Colossians presents Him as Head of the body; so headship has to come first. That is what I thought as to 1 Corinthians 11, the supper moving affections, and souls gathered together; and then you come to chapter 12 where the Spirit and the services of the Spirit and the operation of the body are opened out.
GCMcK Of old there was Israel and the different families, but there is something very precious in the body here because the Holy Spirit is involved in baptising all into this one body. It seems to be a great feature of this time, do you think?
CKR Yes, and it is distinct, the body exists. That is why in Ephesians 4 it is the first concentric circle, “There is one body”, v 4. It is an entity.
JS Why do you think there are so many references to various things being by “the same Spirit”?
CKR One of the things about the body is to cut across any thought of independency so that the source is the same, “the one and the same Spirit”. We are drawing on the resource of the Holy Spirit of God.
JS It is very interesting, because these are different features of service, but there is a certain similarity in how things are coming out, and that is an important thing in our local gatherings, do you think?
CKR That is right. I think there is a blending together. So it is important that our links are right together - as under the Lord - so that as we come together we begin to function together. We are moving away from what is ministerial and are seeing the body beginning to function. It is the oil, it is circulating and flowing.
JS Do you think the matter of being baptised by one Spirit into one body would show how we can merge together with our brethren in our local gatherings?
CKR It is an important feature to be able to blend together and work together with your local brethren and then brethren generally. It is a feature that I am sure the enemy is set against but the Spirit and the Lord are here to support. We would seek to desire to get the benefit of that because “to each the manifestation of the Spirit is given for profit”.
RT Is it an individual experience, being baptised into one body? It has been connected with satisfaction. If we had the experience of it we would be satisfied with our place in the body. We would not bring in any trouble if we were baptised into it. We think of baptism as a negative thing but baptism has a positive side, has it not?
CKR So personalities are merging into the company. You are finding your place. We used to be exhorted to do that, when we were younger, to find our place in the body, to desire to find a niche. I trust everyone here feels they have a place in their local company where there is a service and a part you can fulfil, and only you can fulfil it. Your part cannot be filled out by anybody else, and you have a responsibility, and I have a responsibility, to fill out the part we have been given and to grow. The whole matter is developing and is for profit and blessing.
RT We “have all been given to drink of one Spirit”. That would bring in the satisfaction, would it not? We are enjoying, and we are animated by, the place we have been brought into.
CKR Quite so. I trust we feel that today. It is the blessing of fellowship as we begin to come together. We see brothers and sisters together. You look across a company like this, all different age groups and experience with the Lord and experience with the Spirit, and all of this giving us what the body is. The full extent of it takes in every believer who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, but Paul works through the truth of local companies in order to bring out the quality and character of this truth.
CCDR I was thinking that much of this comes from the Lord as Head as gifts. I was wondering, how that works out; do we need to look for greater expression of these things in the power of the Spirit?
CKR I think that is the case. Gift and its expression are needed, because the functioning and support of local companies all requires committal, and this allows the Lord to develop gift. All features of service are developed - it is not necessarily always service in ministry - as the filling out of matters brings in the grace of a word of wisdom and of knowledge as gone over here. We all need to supplicate the Lord and seek to be available and ready to do what we can.
CCDR I was thinking that the Spirit is here, and that these things should be known by us.
CKR They are known in measure but can be known more, particularly when you see younger believers coming on and services being taken up, and filled out in their own way. This shows that the Spirit, and the operations of the Spirit, are proved. There is blessing for God through all of this and increase for the testimony in a place or in an area.
TDB You referred earlier to Simeon and it says, “And he came in the Spirit into the temple”, Luke 2: 27. Could you maybe say how we apply that to ourselves?
CKR We ought to come to every occasion in the power of the Spirit, and exercised before the Lord. Perhaps we need to be more exercised before coming to every occasion so that we come not in the power of the flesh, or anything of that nature, but as coming under the influence of the power of the Holy Spirit so that our minds and our affections are ready to move in that direction. In this way we are ready to be used by the Holy Spirit, and substance and growth are the result. We start every meeting with a hymn. This helps to bring in the joy of the indwelling Spirit. You desire to sing with the spirit and with the understanding, 1 Cor 14: 15. As done in the joy of the Holy Spirit within you there is a great touch of victory about collectively singing.
JDG The Spirit rejoices at the expression of Christ in the vessel.
CKR Open that out for us please.
JDG It says in verse 12, “but all the members of the body, being many, are one body, so also is the Christ”. The Spirit is satisfied in that blessed Man as expressed here in this vessel.
CKR The enemy would love to think he has defeated it and caused it not to be, but the oil will not fail. The vessel will be gloriously complete, will it not?
JDG The public breakdown will not in that sense affect what the Spirit’s has done.
CKR It will not affect what the Spirit has done, and this becomes a stimulation for us.
NJH Does “having the glory of God” (Rev 21: 10) commence with the Spirit coming in at Pentecost?
CKR I was not sure whether to ask to read Revelation 21 or 22, but I think God shows His delight in the whole matter by investing the city with the glory of God. Say more on it.
NJH Instead of man’s glory marking the assembly, it is the glory of God. Is that right? It will culminate in the city coming down.
CKR Quite so. That brings in the anointing of this vessel.
NJH Moses anointed the whole tabernacle. Now, throughout the dispensation, should we have whole thoughts of the anointed tabernacle?
CKR And we want to hold to whole thoughts of the anointed vessel as this reflects the service of the Holy Spirit.
EJM There are at least two localities that we have no epistles for. I am thinking of Antioch and Berea: do you think we also see in them the fruit and operations of the Holy Spirit?
CKR I think that would be so, and in the Bereans you have the searching of the Scriptures. In Antioch they were ministering to the Lord and the Holy Spirit directs Barnabas and Saul as to ministry.
EJM The Bereans “were more noble” (Acts 17: 11), and that is really the fruit and effect of the Spirit. “The nobles of the people” are referred to in Numbers 21.
CKR It is a dignified thought.
I wanted to refer to Acts 19 on our way to the verses in the epistle to Ephesus. It is instructive that Paul insists, “Did ye receive the Holy Spirit when ye had believed?” He felt it essential to establish this amongst the twelve that were there. “And they said to him, We did not even hear if the Holy Spirit was come”. So he then introduces the importance of Jesus, “And … they were baptised to the name of the Lord Jesus”. I suggest he was bringing in the meal. The meal comes in at Ephesus before the oil comes into the epistle. I thought we should see how careful Paul was as he moved into another place. How important it is then that this truth is known and understood if we are going to experience the currency of the service of the Holy Spirit in relation to the inheritance as in Ephesians.
JS Do you think Paul is recognising the importance of both the meal and the oil if there is to be the production of a little cake that is of true assembly character?
CKR Paul is very careful when he moves to Ephesus to establish the ground at first. They had to come on to the ground of Christianity in its fulness. This involved being baptised to the name of the Lord Jesus, and then he lays his hands upon them and “the Holy Spirit came upon them”. Bringing in the name of the Lord Jesus might refer to the meal, then the reception of the Spirit to the oil. The greatness of the humanity of Jesus and what He demonstrated as a foundation for the service of the Holy Spirit.
And so when you come to the epistle to the Ephesians we see the service of the Holy Spirit opened out. The epistle looks at the Holy Spirit as the Earnest of our inheritance, the household of God is formed here by the Spirit, and the power that works in us yields glory to God in the assembly. We have stimulating and heavenly experience as we touch the things that God has prepared for those that love Him.
JS Do you think the glad tidings of our salvation here would really be the glad tidings of another place? Do you think the Spirit as “the earnest of our inheritance” is really the power to link us with another place that we can enjoy at present?
CKR It is very good to see that. So it is a fine expression, “the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the earnest of our inheritance to the redemption of the acquired possession to the praise of his glory”. Paul’s language is always superlative and full. You begin here with “ye have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise”. Another aspect of the reception of the Spirit is the sealing, the divine claim, but it is all in relation to the inheritance. We are talking about what is on the other side of death.
RG Do you think “who is the earnest of our inheritance” should attract us to go in for this, so that we are not waiting for it. It should be an experience now that is what it will be when we are with the Lord in spiritual bodies.
CKR Quite so.
RG From time to time we get a touch of it, but we should give ourselves to this, do you think?
CKR We need to give ourselves more to the Holy Spirit collectively and realise that we have a resource so that these things can be explored and enjoyed anticipatively; and we begin to long more than ever for our body of glory and for the day to come.
RB Is this the cake now? It is “make me …a cake”. Mr Raven’s ministry constantly reminds us not to fall short of divine purpose. The standard has to be maintained.
CKR The Holy Spirit will always be true to that. The Holy Spirit, as we give Him place, will fill us with heavenly thoughts and the glory of our blessings which are secured in Christ; and the place where that is particularly enjoyed is in local companies. Paul uses his letters to expand on this.
AGM There is one small word in this verse “to”; “the earnest of our inheritance to the redemption of the acquired possession …”. The footnote is ‘up to’. The Earnest will not fail.
CKR Exactly. It is more than ‘till’, because it has the inheritance in view. As you say, it is “to the redemption”. There is no doubt about it. These truths should confirm us that the oil in the cruse will not fail. God is here in the Spirit in the saints, filling our hearts and minds and beings with the greatness and glory of an inheritance which He had in mind for us before we were ever here.
DBR You read in chapter 2: 18. Is that functional? I remember a touch somewhere in ministry that it was not exactly a statement of doctrine, it is a statement of living experience. Paul had learned that this is the way of approach, through Christ by one Spirit to the Father.
CKR What an answer to God coming out in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit that souls can prove access to the Father through Christ and by one Spirit.
DBR Do you think it is like the new and living way?
CKR Mr Raven said, ‘He really comes out from the heart of God to the cross, to reveal the love of God, and we go back the same way as He from the cross to the heart of God’, vol 14 p16.
NJH Was the woman in John 4 really presented with Ephesian truth, the inheritance then the approach to God?
CKR Quite so, the Father seeking such as His worshippers, John 4: 23. Think of the glory that vessels have been secured. She leaves her water pot because she can prove and come into the blessing of these things. Let us apprehend and enjoy these Ephesian truths.
NJH “Springing up into eternal life”, John 4: 14.
CKR Quite so.
DBR Again the Person of Christ and the Spirit are brought together there, “through him … by one Spirit”.
CKR We will never get away from the glory of the divine arrangement in this dispensation. There are two divine Persons serving together to secure the glory of God eternally.
RT It is access here - it is going in to stay? It seems as though they are going to come out again. We are “fellow-citizens of the saints”. We are brought into a system to stay there in the power of what we have been drawn into.
CKR “So then ye are no longer strangers and foreigners, but ye are fellow-citizens of the saints”. Jesus Christ suggests the meal once again, but He is also the corner-stone, and the whole building is fitted together so that there is “a habitation of God in the Spirit”.
RT The dignity of that would lay hold of us, that we are fellow-citizens of the saints. We have been brought into an august company to function in this character.
CKR If we begin to get a hold of this it will affect and dignify our walk, dignify our talk and our thoughts. It is a habitation of God that is in the Spirit. God’s dwelling-place in the current dispensation is in the assembly. As walking in the light of it we touch these blessings.
EJM In Proverbs 31, “Her husband is known in the gates”, v 23. That is Jesus Christ Himself, is it not?
You were saying Jesus Christ Himself is the meal. There is no other Man for this glorious vessel.
CKR Jesus Christ Himself is the Corner-stone. He is the Anchor, and the architectural dignity and quality of everything is secured by the Spirit. The habitation is “built together”. How close the saints are to one another! God is forming a vessel which is the aggregate of what has been formed in persons secured in the time scene by redemption and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. This is the divine dwelling.
JS It says, “in whom ye also are built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit”. Is that a reference to the saints at Ephesus.
CKR I think it is. This looks on to the whole millennial day. The habitation of God will be known through display, but it is “in whom all the building fitted together”. It is an entity. It is described as a house, “a habitation of God in the Spirit”, but divine Persons, Christ and the Spirit, are the Formers, and the Ones who hold everything together.
JS It is worked out really in practice in your locality, do you think?
CKR That is right. Therefore as we touch these things we need to see that there is the potential in local meetings despite breakdown. We always have to remember that we are in days of public brokenness, but the fact that the Holy Spirit is indwelling the assembly also gives us the resource to touch these things.
RB Is the Lord’s supper the evidence at the present day that the oil is not failing, because the young ones may ask us, ’This is happening and the next happening; what evidence do you have that the oil is not failing?’. Do you see it there?
CKR That is right, and it also shows that the meal is not being wasted. Souls are taking advantage of the weekly opportunity to remember the Lord Jesus. As there, we can reflect upon Him, feed upon Him as we consider all the beautiful characteristics that were brought out in Him. He, the despised One here, is the Object of our affections. Then the power of the Holy Spirit is known so that it is not a religious service that repeats itself week after week. It is a living vital touch that we prove through Christ that we have both access by one Spirit into the Father’s realm.
RT It has been said that you have to be an Ephesian to live in Corinth. We sometimes try it the other way around, but it is persons who are in the joy of this that can fill out the public position in reality, is it not?
CKR I probably should have read Ephesians first then and then read Corinthians!
RT You work up from Corinth to Ephesus, but really you have to enjoy the inside before you can be right in the public. Maybe that is our weakness, we are not enjoying our privilege to come out in the true character of it.
CKR Quite so.
GCMcK The “habitation of God in the Spirit” is not simply a statement that there is a dwelling-place for God here but that He is actually dwelling. It makes the matter very real, does it not, and should it not affect our spirits even in our localities that God would actually have a place there by the Spirit?
CKR It is God that is here. A Man has gone into heaven, but a divine Person is here in the Spirit for the whole dispensation. So the presence of God, the holiness of God, and everything that relates to God in His attributes and in His nature is here. We ought therefore to have respect for the gatherings of the saints and for each believer, because the Holy Spirit indwells persons. All of that comes into this.
DAB There was great unity amongst the brethren who assembled at the beginning of the Acts in the hundred and twenty; the term “with one accord” was used. Is what you are emphasising now the unity that can be enjoyed amongst us as the Spirit is made way for in a full and distinctive way?
CKR Quite so. I think we need to cherish some of these things more, and to work at it, and to seek the help of the Holy Spirit. I think that anything that causes disunity is a display of the man that was finished at the cross, but from this point of view then the Holy Spirit’s is a uniting service. The normal service of the Spirit is to draw souls together, and from that point of view to enhance and to dignify the saints in God’s sight but also in our sight.
DAB Not only is it a coming together and a fitting together, and here “the building fitted together increases to a holy temple in the Lord”, but “ye are built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit” is a blessed upward movement which engages our hearts with Him. So it is a heavenly ministry, do you think?
CKR That is right, and that is Paul’s ministry in its glorious heights.
TM In Acts 2 they were “all together” then it is “fitted together” and “built together”, and in chapter 4 it is the bond together. Is this word “together” very important?
CKR The word “together” refers to the fruit of the service of the Spirit. Right from early in Acts 1 it is brought in, but even in Acts 3, “Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer”, v 1. So two are coming together so that the bonding goes on. The whole matter is developed.
MM Are you seeing then that they are one. The Lord prays “that they may be one, as we are one”, John 17: 22.
CKR It is actually indwelling one vessel described as one body and one habitation.
Then in chapter 3 you have “the power which works in us”, with this leading to the greatness of the eternal thought that there will be glory to God “in the assembly in Christ Jesus”. You think of the power that is working in us in order to touch some of this. What great truths these are.
EJM As the apostle John “became in the Spirit on the Lord’s day” (Rev 1: 10) it was really a power that was working in him. He was banished and he was isolated, but there was a power working in him, do you think?
CKR What a matter to prove “the power which works in us”, causing you to respond and to feel part of all of this that there is glory to God in the assembly. What a triumph for God this is when you think of what was, that God has operated for His own glory and secured a vessel indwelt by the Holy Spirit, united to Christ, in Christ Jesus, in which there will “be glory … unto all generations of the age of ages”. The dispensation is complete but eternity is looked on to.
RB You now get a different view of the meal, “and to know the love of the Christ”.
CKR Quite so. It is inseparable. You have also the Christ dwelling, through faith, in your heart. A glorious Person is there as the One who is the Centre of our affections in this precious realm.
Then to finish, the “the Spirit and the bride say, Come”: a divine Person and a creature vessel in perfect unity saying together with one word, “Come”, looking on to the appearing. Let us be stimulated to say “Come” to Christ.
3rd May 2008
List of initials - see Issue No 20 (plus M Metcalfe, Buckie)