1 Corinthians 1: 9

Colossians 1: 12-20

1 John 1: 7

JRW  I wondered whether we might get some fresh impressions in this reading of the enjoyment of fellowship.  The scriptures that we have read are well known and much has been said in relation to them.  Much has been said in relation to the principles that govern the fellowship, much instruction in relation to it, but my exercise is that we might know more of the enjoyment of it, and what can be enjoyed at the present time.  I think that if we enjoy something that will lead us to value it, and I think that what we value we will be concerned to protect.  I suppose that works out even in natural things, things that we enjoy.  We might think of the family relationships that we enjoy: the more we enjoy them the more we value them; the more we value them the more we will be concerned to protect them.

         I wondered if we might get some impression of that in relation to the fellowship.  So this verse in Corinthians is full of teaching and instruction, and there are many here who can help us in relation to that, but I felt that we might get some impression of the scope and the dignity of the fellowship, and the privilege that is ours as called into it.  The fellowship, as we have been taught, is universal and the “ye” that is here, “ye have been called”, although directed no doubt specifically to the brethren in Corinth, by extension would involve every believer: that is the privilege that is available to every believer, “called into the fellowship of his Son”.  What wonderful dignity marks it.  Again we might see that the fellowship is something which we enjoy, we should enjoy it here.  It is in a scene of contrariety, it is in a scene where His Son has been rejected.  The word was, “This is the heir; come let us kill him”, Luke 20: 14.  He sent His Son, and the consequence of that was that this world rejected Him.  Over against that, God in His faithfulness has seen to it that those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ are called into the fellowship of that blessed One, His Son.  Then he says, “Jesus Christ our Lord”, that is, that those who come into the enjoyment of it, which is our concern now, are those who recognise and own Him as their Lord.

         I wondered whether we might get an impression from Colossians as to the wealth of what is available to enjoy.  Paul here gives thanks to the Father for making us “fit for sharing the portion of the saints in light”.  He goes on to speak of the things which we can enjoy: he speaks of “the kingdom of the Son of his love”.  What enjoyment there is in being a subject of that kingdom.  He speaks of the greatness of what has been secured: “in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins”; these are things that we can enjoy.  And then he brings in the greatness of the One in whom everything is secured, in whom everything is settled; the One of whom it says, “that he might have the first place in all things”.  I think that is crucial, if we are to enjoy the fellowship and all that is available in it today; I think it is crucial that “he might have the first place in all things” to us. 

         I just touched on John, not to go into it too much, but, as we have been taught, Paul gives us the light and the structure of these things, and John gives the assurance and the encouragement, that even in a day of breakdown, even in a day when the love of the most has grown cold, the enjoyment of these things is possible.  For he says, “But if we walk in the light as he is in the light”.  I connect that a little with what the Father has done, “made us fit for sharing the portion of the saints in light”) “we have fellowship with one another”.  So that what goes on in the world around us has no bearing on that; as we walk in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship with one another.  Then, as we know, things come in, but there is that available in “the blood of Jesus Christ”.  There is sufficient in what God has provided through our Lord Jesus Christ, to meet every exigency, every detail, and every difficulty that might come in.  That is what is in mind, and I just wondered if it might help us to consider these things.

JBI  Yes, I am sure it is very important to be reminded of this, and to be well grounded in these wonderful privileges that are given to us of God.  It is God who is faithful.  You spoke of what is contrary, and God is faithful that we should come into this wonderful place, this wonderful area, where His love is known, and to share it with the saints.  I think that is important.

JRW  There is a lot in that expression that you draw attention to.  It stands on its own; it is absolute: “God is faithful”.  We could have just read that, and that is absolutely true, “God is faithful”.   And then it goes on “by whom ...”; so the One who has called is that One who is perfect; we can rely on that.

RDP  In the great matter of the calling, “called into the fellowship”, it is not exactly something which we own, is it?  I mean there are certain things we choose, but the thought of the calling is greater than that, a different aspect is it not?

JRW  I think so.  It confers certain privilege on those who have been called, does it not?  I think that is at the heart of my exercise really, that we might come to an appreciation and enjoyment of what we have been called to.  Our brother has made reference to God’s faithfulness, that is continuing.  The way man has gone makes no difference to it.  The fact that man has rejected His Son and cast Him out does not affect it: the faithfulness of God continues, and that enters into the calling, does it not?  We have been called into the fellowship, and it is no ordinary fellowship, it is “of His Son”.  You can say a bit more about that.

RDP  The thought of calling is not very much used.  It used to be more used, did it not?  People had jobs, but certain people had callings; it seems to carry an imperative with it, and something that cannot be resisted.  So much of the Christian profession has deteriorated in what seems to be like multiple choice - this may suit you better than that might suit you, and so on, but God’s faithfulness seems to be in this matter of a calling, which is something you cannot refuse, you cannot resist.

JRW  I think that is helpful, and if we get that into our hearts that will increase our enjoyment of the fellowship and what it involves, because it is entirely of God,  and is what God in His faithfulness has called us to.  What you are saying helps, because every believer, everyone that believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, is expected to answer to that.  God had nothing less in His heart than that those that believe on the Lord Jesus Christ should enjoy what is available in the fellowship.

RDP  When we think of the fellowship, we perhaps think immediately of our meetings, and that is not of course a wrong thought, but this is a vast scope.  This is a very great thought, the faithfulness of God, the expression of it, the working out of it involves how the saints meet together, and so on.  It is good to grasp the divine thought, is it not?  God could have arranged it so that there were whole myriads of individuals, but He called all those who came to Christ, called them into the fellowship of His Son; there is something there which is in the ordering of God.

JRW  I think so, so that it does not depend on us meeting together.  We can enjoy these things as we are together, but it goes further.  It is something that is there, irrespective of whether we meet together, and I think if we can get something of that in our hearts and our souls it will strengthen us.  The fellowship is a wonderful association.  The basis for it is the acknowledgement of Jesus as Lord, and I can enjoy that in my soul as over against everything that is here.  That is why I say it is something that we can enjoy as over against what we find in the world today.

JM  I think you mentioned in your outline what the older brethren used to say, the fellowship of His Son is the dignity.  Really there is no organisation - and I use the word ’organisation’ because I cannot think of a better word - but there is nothing on earth that can compare with it, is there?  We need to value it, and the problem at Corinth was that they were lowering the level of it.  We need to keep the level of it up and enjoy it in its fullness.

JRW  Yes, I am glad you say that.  Much could be said about the reason for Paul writing in this way, and much has been said about it as you would know better than me.  The brethren in Corinth were losing sight of it; they were saying, “I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ”, 1 Cor 1: 12.  They were losing sight of the dignity of it.  But there are fellowships amongst men, and associations amongst men that do not have the dignity of this fellowship, and they are all linked in some way with the world that has rejected and cast out God’s Son.  I was thinking a lot of the parable where the man who planted a vineyard sends various ones and they are rejected, and then he comes to it, “I will send my beloved son”, and they say, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him”, Luke 20: 13, 14.  That is the situation in the world today, and as we seek to be true to the Lord Jesus, and own Him as our Lord, we will find that.

JM  There is a good deal of illnesses and difficulties with work, and all that kind of thing amongst us, and what is brought to light is the beauty and the value of the fellowship; there can be nothing greater than being in the fellowship of His Son, and that is actually working amongst us.  There is a good deal amongst us for concern, but you can see that the fellowship of His Son is actually at work amongst us, and that is what is encouraging, is it not?

JRW  Yes, and that is what we need to enjoy, is it not?  And I think practically that is the way in which it is enjoyed.  We speak of these blessed matters that we can enjoy in a spiritual way, but I think too there is joy in these things practically as it works out.

GMcK    I think it was a very good remark that it does not depend on me, it depends on Christ does it?  Colossians will go on to show that.  That is a good way of getting God’s view of it; it puts me out of the picture.  It is just a question of whether I am going to go in for it and enjoy it, but it does not depend on me, does it?  If you would say some more about that it would help us I think.

JRW  We come back to the faithfulness of God.  God is faithful, and, as I said, that stands on its own.  I think God’s faithfulness would see to it that what believers have been called to will be held available in spite of what the enemy would do.  The enemy is set against this.  I think we have seen that increasingly.  If you look at Christendom at large, which would profess to do things in relation to the name of the Lord Jesus, you will find that things are coming in absolutely contrary to Scripture, and contrary to His word.  That is how effective the enemy can be, and I think we need to see that on the other side there is the faithfulness of God, and there is the glory of the person of the Son, and these things are centred in Him, and as we find our enjoyment in Him we know that it is secure.  But say a bit more about your own impression.

GMcK    I thought it was a very good view you were giving us, and I was just thinking as you were speaking that the enemy has been set, from the very beginning, against everything that holds Christ as its head - a Christ who is a Man in another place altogether.  In the beginning of the Acts that was what stirred up the trouble, was it not?  It has been that way ever since.  The enemy is set against anything that truly holds a Man risen from the dead as its head, that is true fellowship with Christ as its centre.

JRW  I think the more we are convicted as to the condition of things in the world, and the more we are convicted as to the fact that the Lord Jesus is rejected here, the more we will enjoy the things you are speaking of.  That really brings us on to Colossians because you get there what we have been delivered from, not to dwell too much on that, but I think it is important, “delivered us from the authority of darkness”.  It is sobering as we look at the world at the present time in that regard.  We can see that persons, even many Christian persons, are morally under the authority of darkness.  Well, God’s desire is that we might be delivered from that, and Paul gives thanks here to “the Father, who has made us fit ..., and has delivered us ...”, so that it is not something we have done, is it?

RDP  Would you think in Acts, that the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ is tangible, you can almost see it?  I was thinking of what Peter said “as many as the Lord our God may call” (Acts 2: 39), and “and there were added in that day about three thousand souls”, v 41.  But then they were together, they had all things in common, and so on in those beautiful verses which describe it, v 46, 47.  But breakdown comes in, and the public view of it becomes submerged under a tide of man’s will and man’s mind, but that beautiful thing that was there was according to the calling of God.  Peter has said, “Be saved from this perverse generation”, Acts 2: 40.  That is like Colossians; the scene of things around us comes in, and publicly obscures and clouds the beauty of what God has, but it does not destroy it, it is still there, is it not?

JRW  That is where you can rely on the faithfulness of God.  We need to get that impression firmly embedded in our hearts because otherwise we would look around and see the breakdown, we would see the mixture, and we would see the activity of the enemy and his success, and we would think that these things are impossible.  But I think we should lay hold of the faithfulness of God, “God is faithful”, and the blessed truth of what He has called us to, and then, as is brought out here, the power that there is available.  It has often been said that there is not much mention of the Spirit in Colossians, only in verse 8 of this chapter, but the Spirit’s power no doubt lies behind what God is able to do in us; “delivered us from the authority of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love”.  I think these are the things that we enjoy as in this fellowship.

RDP-r  Does the word “into” - He has “called us into the fellowship” and “translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love” - suggest that there is something existent?  As individuals we might be attracted to Christ, but as to our fellowship, we are called into it; so we join in something that already exists.

JRW  I think that is most important.  So the question is, ’Where we are living?’.  We are moved really from one place to another.  I remember a preaching on that, the gospel of place, and I think it bears on what you say; we are brought into the fellowship of His Son, and we are translated into the kingdom of the Son of His love.  We change our ground.  Practically we are living in this world, and we have to get our living, we have to work, we have to fulfil righteousness, but where are we living?  Do we know what it is to be living in the kingdom of the Son of His love?  There is something very touching about that.

RDP-r  Well, I was thinking of what was said as to the calling, and Abraham was called out, he was directed towards a new place which God had in mind for him, and that suggests what we are brought into, something that is existing at the present time as a result of what God has formed, and the privilege of being brought into that.  I wonder sometimes whether we really appreciate the greatness of the One who has called us, and the right He has to command us in relation to these things.

JRW  Yes, that is very much in line with my exercise.  These things are available for us to enjoy.  They are available for us to enter into, and they are available for us to enjoy.  Could you think of such a God calling us into something that would disappoint or let us down?  It is impossible, is it not?  

         We have read in Colossians, but we could have read in Ephesians which is perhaps a little further on in our experience.  We get there where Paul says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ”, chap 1: 3.  I think that links with what you say, as we have an impression in our hearts of the God that has called us, the God that has made us fit, the God that has translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love; that must mean that there are blessings there for our enjoyment that surpass anything else.

DJW  Do you think we need a sense that the fellowship exists?  The fact that the Father has made us fit, that is a thing that is to be known, but, do you think that the enjoyment of it for us is in the second epistle, the communion of the Holy Spirit, chap 13: 14?

JRW  I think that is right, now say a little more as to knowing that it exists, because our brother has touched on the fact that in the beginning of Acts, in inaugural days, it could be identified in certain places.  It was possible at some time to bring together every one that was called into the fellowship, but how do we know it exists today?

DJW  I would like your thoughts on it, but do you think the 2 Timothy road is the only way to it?  It is a question of walking in the light, persons pure of heart.

JRW  I think that is good, the 2 Timothy road is the only way to it: “every one who names the name of the Lord”, chap 2: 19.  That is important because it is the “fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord”.  The bond of fellowship is Himself; it is composed of those that own Him as Lord, and there is obligation on such, and responsibilities on such, to withdraw from iniquity: these are writings that bear on the day in which we are.  The road to it however does not exactly demonstrate that it exists.  How would we demonstrate that it exists?

DJW  Well, to me it is just a question of accepting God’s word, but the way of finding it is the exercise.  You were speaking about privilege, and I think that is an important matter of the fellowship; we have each got something to contribute.

JRW  Yes, and I think we know that it exists when we come into it.  I mean if you wanted to know that there was a place such as London, and a place such as England, and the queen was the head of it, the simplest way to prove to yourself that it exists would be to go there, would it not?  And you would find it is exactly as you have been told; yes, London is the capital of the country, and the queen lives at Buckingham Palace, and she heads up the state.  Well, I think finding the kingdom is a bit like that, and as we respond to the call which our brother has spoken of, as we own the Lord Jesus as our Lord, as we withdraw from iniquity and follow the road which we have spoken of, we will find that we enjoy entrance into the kingdom of the Son of His love.  Now a kingdom must have a king, and the King of this kingdom is the Son of His love.  That is a very touching expression, and I suppose much could be said to touch our affections in relation to it.  The apostle goes on to speak of the glory of the One who is King.

JBI  We speak together of the glories of Christ, which is very enjoyable, and something that you find is well worth coming along that road to, do you think?

JRW  That is most important; the very notion of fellowship cannot be enjoyed by a person on his own, and I think what you say is most important, these are things which we can enjoy together.  So I think our brother said that it does not depend on meetings, and that is right.  The fellowship exists and is not dependent on the meetings.  However, it is there at the meetings that we enjoy it with one another, do you think?  And I think it is important to see that what we are speaking of, and the enjoyment of this kingdom, the enjoyment of fellowship, and the enjoyment of all that is ours in the Lord Jesus Christ, is available to everyone that believes on Him.  We would desire that when the brethren gather together far more might come and enter into what we are enjoying together.

RDP  I hope what I said about depending on the meeting is not wrongly construed, because in the early Acts they delighted to be together, they shared something which the world had never known.  They shared the fellowship, they enjoyed it, they enjoyed one another’s impressions of it, but the enjoyment of fellowship did not depend merely upon being together in the sense that if a person is cut off from practically being with other believers, like John on Patmos, that did not mean to say that he is out of the fellowship of God’s Son; he still enjoyed it.  It is important to see the faithfulness of God.  As you said at the beginning, we could have a reading on the faithfulness of God.  We see His faithfulness in creation; He says that while the earth remains, certain things will remain.  We cleave to that.  Now, in relation to the fellowship of God’s Son, God is faithful.  If He has called us into it, it will not only always be available to us to enjoy, but the resources necessary to enjoy it, and to fill out His thoughts as to it, will also always be available; the resource is there.

JRW  Is that not what comes out in Colossians?  In the section we have read and elsewhere we find the moral road to it, but Colossians assumes the believer is still here on earth, with all the pressures, and exigencies, and difficulties, and trials that are around, and yet able in the midst of that scene to enjoy the most precious heavenly things.

RDP  So that the fellowship has a protective sense, and the kingdom has a protective sense, but this is the kingdom of the Son of His love.  This is beyond safety; you have got it for enjoyment.  The kingdom of the Son of His love suggests Solomon; it is the blessings that have all been secured for one line and are now being set out and enjoyed.  It is a unique expression, is it not?

JRW  Yes, that is confirming because my exercise really was in relation to enjoyment.  The side of safety is there, of course.  I suppose if we were not safe there would not be any enjoyment.  We could speak about Nehemiah and the way in which they built the wall to keep the enemies out, and all of that is involved, but I think what you are saying is that what comes out here, is the side of enjoyment.  And then I think the more we enjoy it, the more we will value it.  So we would not go outside this kingdom, would we?  We would not elect to walk out of the gates and go off independently after having had an experience of the enjoyment that is available there and all that there is for us in it?  We would want to stay there and protect it would we not?

JM  As our brother says, it is the antitype of Solomon, the kingdom of the Son of his love.  Is not love the dominant thing in the fellowship, and where else would you experience love such as this, such as there is in the fellowship?  Nowhere else could you have such an experience of love.

JRW  We have often said that to know it persons must experience it.  There is pervading love in all of this; the Son of His love would suggest that.  And I think the young ones know what it is to grow up in an atmosphere of love.  It starts in the household.  Our brother has spoken about meetings, and I think love found in the meetings starts in the household.  There is love in the households of the saints that springs from what we are speaking of here.  The way in which the parents enjoy the experience of the kingdom of the Son of His love pervades the household, and the young ones grow up in that atmosphere.  And then they come amongst the saints, and they find it there too.  You will not find it in the world, the world where the Lord Jesus is rejected, where the Son of His love is despised, where the mention of His Name causes persons to blaspheme.  This is where you find it, and I think it is something that exists concretely.  I think in our experience it does, it exists, and we can enjoy it.

DJW  You referred to the household.  Does that link with Acts 16, the jailor and his house; they really in principle came into fellowship, the fellowship of God’s Son.

JRW  Yes.  We had helpful meetings at Buckhurst Hill with Mr Bruce Grant, and he said that the way into it was “believe on the Lord Jesus and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house”, Acts 16: 31.  The jailor came into the joy of that practically; he was saved.  I think that is most important.  Here the apostle speaks about the side of redemption, and the forgiveness of sins, and what we can enjoy in that way; yet what then comes before him is the greatness of that blessed One.  It is the greatness of the Son of His love, the greatness and glory of the one in whom all these things are centred, culminating, as we remarked earlier, “that he might have the first place in all things”.  In this kingdom it is He who must have the first place, and practically, if we are to enter into the enjoyment of it, I think it is imperative that we have a sense in our hearts of the greatness of the Person, and we give Him the first place.

JM  And He is the one who gives character to this fellowship does He not?   It all flows from Him.

JRW  Absolutely, and it would be difficult to find language better than the apostle uses here: “by him were created all things, the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones, or lordships, or principalities, or authorities: all things have been created by him and for him.  And he”, emphatic, “is before all, and all things subsist together by him.  And he”, emphatic, “is head of the body” and then “that he”, emphatic, “might have the first place in all things”.   When something of the glory of the Person enters into our hearts I think we need to give Him the first place.

RDP  Do you think the alternative word helps?  The alternative word to ’fellowship’ is ’communion’.  It refers to it here, and later in Corinthians we get “The cup of blessing which we bless”, chap 10: 16.  There you have the communion.  It really involves Christ, does it not?  It is really saying that you have Christ.  That is what is given to the believer as called out of the world, as called out of the perverse generation: we have Christ for everything.  Communion seems to me to be a very warm word; there is a closeness, a warmness, and a responsiveness about the word.

JRW  I think that is confirmed by the scripture we have read because, after the apostle speaks as to what the Father has done for us, and that He has translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, it seems as though He cannot now speak enough of that blessed One and His love.  I suppose that too is where our enjoyment lies. 

JBI  It is interesting that it is God’s pleasure expressed here.  In verse 19, “for in him all the fullness of the Godhead was pleased to dwell”; think of how the Father loves to have His Son expressed.

JRW  Yes, I think that is most touching, and the very revelation of God Himself is centred in Him, everything that God desires to make known to His creature in relation to Himself has been made known in Jesus, and everything is centred in Him.  I feel very measured by it.  We should come to a point where we find nothing outside of Him; I feel very measured by that, but I am sure that is God’s intention, in His faithfulness, that we should be brought to that: there is nothing outside of Him.

DJW  Is the fellowship therefore not only for us, but for God’s pleasure?  I was thinking of the way the Lord looked around in a circuit on His own, Mark 3: 24.  Does that not convey something of His joy in those that are His? 

JRW  I think that is right.  God really is going to head up all things in relation to His own glory, and I am sure what you say as to divine pleasure is important.  Say a bit more about that.

DJW  I do not like to distract from your subject, but it seems to me when the Lord says, “where two or three are gathered unto my name, there am I in the midst of them”, Matt 18: 20.  That is His fellowship, and it seems to me the prime object is for His pleasure.  If He is getting His pleasure, I will get mine.

JRW  Yes, I think that is right, and this really leads on to the thought of testimony, because what is secured here as we find our enjoyment in these things is what is for God’s testimony.  So He speaks thus, does He not, in John’s gospel?  I am thinking of what you are saying as to the pleasure of God and His desires.  The Lord speaks twice in John in relation to the world believing and knowing. He speaks about what He is demanding for His disciples, the apostles that were there, but He then speaks of “those who believe on me through their word ... that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that thou has sent me”, John 17: 21.  And then, later on, “that the world may know that thou has sent me”, chap 17: 23.  I think there is testimony that comes to light in all of this, that would demonstrate the glory of the God that would bring all this to pass, do you think?

DJW  You referred to Nehemiah, and it reminded me that the choirs went round that wall; the service of God was really maintained, chap 12: 31.

JRW  Yes, I think that is right, and as there is what is provided for pleasure of God, our pleasure is really according to that.

RDP-r  Would you say that this is a very intimate matter, this fellowship?

JRW  Yes, go on.

RDP-r  Well, I was thinking that we, each one, have our link with the One who is the Centre of it, as well as having links with everyone that is in it.  We can prove something of the fellowship practically amongst ourselves.  I was thinking of what Paul says about those who “gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship (Gal 2: 9), which is very intimate.  Is that something we actually enjoy in the fellowship?  We would enjoy the warmth; we would feel the nearness to one another in relation to it.

JRW  Yes, I think that is really the bond of the fellowship; that is what pulls us together, the fact that we individually love the Lord Jesus Christ.  And we desire to give Him His place, as we have already said, “that he might have the first place in all things”; the first test is ourselves.  Then I suppose it relates to my household and family.  First of all does He have first place with me, do I own Him Lord in my own life personally?  I feel very tested on this, I am not saying it as being absolutely in the good of it, but I can see how stability and enjoyment will enter into it as I know more of it.  Then in my household, we have spoken about the households of the saints and the way the children can grow up, they feel safe, they feel loved, they feel that there is certain right rule and discipline in the house.  So they grow up in the light of the fact that He has the first place, He is supreme.  And then in the local meeting, in the assembly, as we speak.

RDP-r  There is nothing remote about it, is there?  You spoke about this country and the queen; there is a certain remoteness with regard to that, but there is not in this kingdom, this kingdom of the Son of His love; it is nearness, it is warmth, it is real.  This fellowship really is something that is tangible in that way.

JRW  And everyone has full access to the King.  I love the touch which has been on my heart for some weeks now, where someone was speaking in relation to the country, you might say the country of England; there are subjects laying down their lives for the country and queen; it is very painful.  But in this kingdom the King has laid down His life for every one of His subjects; how intimate that makes it, and that links on with what you were saying.

RDP  The sad thing is that there was danger in Colosse; Paul brings in possibly the greatest expression of the personal glory of Christ in Colossians 1, and the danger at Colosse was that man would intrude, and philosophy and vain deceit.  The Colossian error was described somewhere as the most subtle, JBS vol 5 p85.  It replaced Christ with another man.  That is possibly one of the dangers of our day.  God is jealous as to the greatness of “Christ, everything and in all” (chap 3: 11); that He must have the pre-eminence; He is to be the One.

JRW  Yes, I think we have seen that in our own experience, and we see it in the world at large, we see it among men, and the tendency there is to replace Christ with another man, but I think again you come back to the faithfulness of God.  He will see to it in a coming day.  He has given all things into the hands of the Son, and He will see to it in a coming day that everything must be in subjection to Him.  But our enjoyment practically is to enter into the spirit of that now.

PW  It was said of the Gadites in 1 Chronicles 12 that they separated themselves to David, v 8.  Do we have to hold to that attraction to Christ, otherwise everything will collapse?

JRW  I think that is important, and that is a test to us is it not?  Do I love the Lord Jesus enough?  I think that is a great question, and in many ways it is the driving force: those that name “the name of the Lord” withdraw from iniquity, 2 Tim 2: 19.  That must involve that I love Him, and that I desire to honour Him.  Do you think that what we get here, which we did not touch on too much, “in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins”; gives us some impression of the way that He has gone for each one of us, so that these things might be open to us?  That would cause us to love Him, would it not?

KM  In naming “the name of the Lord”, do we convey the savour of that Name?  That Name “is as an ointment poured forth”, Song of Songs 1: 3.  So what is in that Name could never be arbitrary in any sense whatever, and that ointment will be available in this kingdom which we are speaking about, the kingdom of the Son of His love.

JRW  I am sure that is most important to us, and a challenge to us, because it is more than just profession It is more than just saying the words; it is what we can convey in what we say and do.  As you say, it is the preciousness of that Name, the ointment poured forth, what we are enjoying in relation to it.  We speak of the young ones.  The young ones will see through profession, but they can experience something in their hearts of what we are enjoying, do you think?

PWB  I have been enjoying your thought.  It is as Christ is given His place that there is enjoyment of the fellowship.  Naturally when we establish something we always try to protect and preserve something in man’s way, but it is really preserved by enshrining Christ in the heart.  I was just thinking of John 12, “There therefore they made him a supper”, v 2.  We see there the enjoyment of fellowship, with Himself and with each other.

JRW  Yes, I think that is good.  We all must know what the Lord will support, we all must know what is expected, but my impression is that if we come to a valuation of the fellowship, if we come to a valuation of the kingdom, if we come to a valuation of the Person, then that will provide some protection; and we would not go outside of that.  We would not want to go outside of the kingdom of the Son of His love, because we know the enjoyment, and have a valuation of what has been secured there by Him.  So our brother has spoken of Corinthians 10, and that connects with the verse we read in the beginning, and we get there the communion of the blood of the Christ.  That of necessity means that everything in relation to this world is excluded.  He has died to this world; He is rejected here which of necessity means that everything of this world is excluded.  That is a test to me.  I think the more we enter into the enjoyment of it, and the more we have a valuation of it, the easier some of these things might drop away.  But I feel very tested myself.

PWB  I feel very tested myself, but the more we have Christ before us, the more those things will have no place; but we do not exactly get rid of the world by miraculously dying ourselves, do we?  We might seek to put ourselves into a set of rules and obligation and try and judge everything that is in us, only to find that we cannot do it.  But if you have Christ before you, how can you have anything of this world?  It is a world where also our Lord was crucified, Rev 11: 8.   The sphere of which we are speaking is where joy and love is, the kingdom of the Son of His love, and that is something that this world can never give.

JRW  The world where our Lord was crucified; the more we have a judgement of this, the more we see the world as a system that has rejected Him, cast Him out, and has no place for Him, the more we will enjoy what we have been called to.

JBI  It became very obvious for the man in John 9 that he just was not wanted by worldly associations, but he found his whole life in Christ.

JRW  Yes, that is a very good example.  What I find when we speak about a man like that is, the question is raised about me.  That is where the test is.  As we fix our eye on Christ, and we rely on faith which is of God, we find our way to it.

         It was not in mind to say much in relation to the verse in John, just to strengthen what we have been saying.  Much could be said in relation to his writings in this epistle, which would bear on what we have been enjoying, but John would show us that even in days of breakdown, even in days of tremendous breakdown, these things are possible; and it is possible to “walk in the light as he is in the light”; God has made us fit to share in that portion.  It is possible to have fellowship with one another and to enjoy these things even in such conditions.  There is available in the blood of Jesus Christ that which can cleanse from everything that might militate against us.

GMcK  I was thinking these are strong words, “we have fellowship with one another”.   We have it; can we all say that?  It needs us to experience it before we can say these words?

JRW  I think we do.  We can say it in a certain spirit of humility, and yet thankfulness; I think we do have it.  In the household we read Psalm 46 this morning, in relation to God, and we enjoyed the thought of God’s greatness and the way that He is able to cause wars to cease, and the Psalmist goes on to say “Be still, and know that I am God”, v 10.  All these things we can enjoy together as we have fellowship with one another.

RDP-r   Does this show the tremendous scope that is embraced in the thought of the blood of the Lord Jesus.  I was thinking that first of all it is the basis for God to come out in blessing, then it is the basis for the forgiveness of our sins, and then it is the basis for the maintenance of things for the pleasure of God.

JRW  I think that is good, we could have a reading on that too!


27th February 2010