Knowing Christ and His Body after the Spirit – Part 1

 

Two trees-one trunk

And the Two shall become ONE!  Photo by Michael Clark

 

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2Cor 5:16-17, ESV2011)

Have you ever thought that while walking on this earth with Christ, the disciples knew Him after the flesh instead after the Spirit? He had to deal with their myopic vision constantly. When they were out in a boat on a stormy lake, and He came walking toward them on the water, they were afraid and thought He was a ghost. Yet He had proven to them that He had spiritual power over the elements time and again. How about the time He was asleep in the bottom of their storm-tossed boat. The last thing He heard the Father say was, “Go to the other side of the lake,” and it was a done deal as far as He was concerned, so he slept while they battled the elements after the flesh. They finally woke Him and said, “Lord, don’t you care that we perish?” What an insult– and it was all because they did not have the Spirit abiding in them yet, so they could see things the way Jesus saw them. They were still fleshly believers.

How much of the way we relate to Him and one another is “after the flesh”? We are affected way too much by the outward appearances of events and one another. How often have we prayed, “Lord, why don’t you do something? Don’t you know that we perish?” Or how often do we also know one another after the flesh? Our speech betrays us. “That brother ought to get his front teeth fixed!” “That sister sure has poor taste in how she dresses!” Or, “That sister is sure beautiful! We need to put her up front on the worship team.”  Or, “Wow! Do you know how much money that guy has? He needs to be on the board of elders.” These are all examples of knowing people after the flesh.

The disciples, like most of the Jews, believed that He had come to set up a physical kingdom among them and did not see just how spiritual His kingdom is. To them He said, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you. (Luke 17:20-21, ESV2011). His kingdom is found wherever two or three are gathered together IN His name (in His very personhood), and these spirit led gatherings do not garner the attention of this world and its people. You can’t advertise them because you do not know when or where they are going to happen.  Jesus does not have a mega-church mentality with all its Hollywood glitter and Madison Avenue advertising methods. He is after spiritual quality among us, many sons and daughters born unto the Father, not mediocre crowds in the thousands (read John chapter six).

Yet, are we any different than those Jews who He spoke with back then? The majority of Christians I know think that everything spiritual must either take place in their church buildings or under the direction of their pastor or priest. When someone who understands where Christ and His kingdom dwells comes in among them the first thing they ask is, “Where do you go to church, if not, why not?” or “Who is your pastor?” And if you do not fit into the expectations of their club membership, you are rejected and not seen as one who belongs to Jesus. How carnal! The Jews rejected Jesus in the same way.

And when he came into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, From where has this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brothers, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? from where then has this man all these things? And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and in his own house.” (Matt 13:54-57, KJ2000)

They only knew Jesus after the flesh. How often has He appeared to us in a form we did not expect–in a homely sister or a handicapped brother and we rejected Him (see James 2:1-7). Jesus said, “What you have done to the least of these, my brethren, you have done unto me.”

When we insist that He must be worshiped in this or that physical place or we must be under the authority of this man or that, we are yet carnal. This is all an Old Covenant mindset. We will have a New Covenant way of thinking when we truly are His New Creation and all these “old things pass away and all things become new.”

  Jesus told that Samaritan woman who was making the same mistake that so many Christians make today about worshiping in special locations,

Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father… But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:21-24, ESV2011)

And Paul told the Corinthians who were all about their spiritual gifts, manifestations and their favorite human teachers:

…For where there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly and walking according to man? For whenever anyone may be saying, “I, indeed, am of Paul,” yet another, “I, of Apollos,” will he not be fleshly? What, then, is Apollos? Now what is Paul? Servants are they, through whom you believe, and as the Lord gives to each. I plant, Apollos irrigates, but God makes it grow up. (1Cor 3:3-6, CLV)

Yet, most of today’s Christians think they have to be under the covering of a man and the ministry if they are to grow. No wonder they are still in need of milk-toast sermons Sunday after Sunday and cannot receive strong meat (see 1 Cor. 3:1-2). It is also strange that many Christians today think that Paul’s teachings in First Corinthians are “strong meat.” Dear saints, he is addressing fleshly people all through this letter who have pulled down heavenly things and made them into works of the flesh!

Jesus made it clear that it is an evil and adulterous generation that seeks after signs. Why is it evil? Because demons can manifest all these “spiritual gifts” that people long after. Why is it adulterous to seek them in us or another man? Because our carnal affections are fixed upon other things or people besides our husband, Jesus Christ. This is spiritual adultery. Paul wrote:

“So, with yourselves, since you are so eager to possess spiritual gifts, concentrate your ambition upon receiving those which make for the real growth…” (1Cor 14:12, Phillips NT).

Now, Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus was addressed to people who walked after the Spirit.

But speaking the truth in love, [you] may grow up into him in all things, who is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body being fitly joined together and knit together by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (Eph 4:15-16, KJ2000- emphasis added)

Notice in contrast to how churches function today. Hear he speaks of “the whole body” doing the works of ministry and not just a few. Notice, also, that their only motivation is not self-aggrandizement or human idolatry, but rather selfless love working among them by the grace of God as they build one another up in His love.

The goal of the Gospel is not for us to go out, put up great buildings and fill them with immature converts! What we see working in most of these institutions is “the perpetual babyhood of the believer.” No, the goal of the Gospel is to build up the saints of God in His love and bring them into a full relationship with the Father and the Son just as just as Jesus prayed in His final prayer,

“I do not ask for these only [the eleven], but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one.” (John 17:20-22, ESV2011)

Are you ONE in the Father and the Son? Are you even ONE with another fellow saint of God? I mean really one as Jesus is one with the Father? Until we are one with one another as Christ is with the Father, there is no witness of the kingdom of God among men and this world will continue to slide into what men call “the post Christian era.” It is all so sad.

Oh, Father, please enlighten the eyes of our hearts with spiritual understanding to see ourselves as we really are, “poor, miserable, blind and naked,” and then to repent from our carnal ways so that we might build up one another in Christ’s body, the ecclesia of God, through your love for Christ as we are made one you both. Amen.

 

13 comments on “Knowing Christ and His Body after the Spirit – Part 1

  1. Wow!!! Michael, I am impressed by the truth of this wonderful, God-inspired article! 🕊🌠📃Excellent insights!! 🏆🏆🏆

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Susanne, Thanks so much for your verification. He awoke me at 2AM with this theme of knowing our Daddy, Jesus and one another after the Spirit and not after the flesh, going around and around in my head. I could not get back to sleep so I got up to prayed and then started writing what He was showing me. 🙂 I know that you also know these night watches in your life, dear heart. I will be praying that He grants you new revelations from heaven as well.🏆🏆🏆
      Yours in Christ,
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

      • You are very welcome, Michael. Yes, I have known these night watches, too. God’s leading is never predictable. That means in my case that I have two blog posts awaiting to be published, but no leading from God to do so yet. 😉 Often times He gives us revelation that needs to be experienced in our own life first before we can share it publicly.

        Yours in Christ,
        Susanne

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Susanne, this is so true! I have about 25 of these posts that I started and then have had to wait. Some of them are only a collection of related scriptures He was speaking to me through. I got out of bed at 3:33AM this morning, 🙂 so it looks like another one is on the way. You wrote, “Often times He gives us revelation that needs to be experienced in our own life first before we can share it publicly.” I am so grateful for the experiences that He has given us as we relate to one another and pray for one another. It has truly been life changing. Being transparent with one another, “speaking the truth in love,” as we have been doing over the last 5 years has shed His light on where He wants to yet change us. We are members one of another in Christ and it has taken me years to get to where I could be ready for such a relationship in Christ. So when John wrote, “If we walk in the Light as He is in the Light we have fellowship,” this has taken on such scope in our lives over these few years as He has used you to shine His light into my heart, and vise versa.
        Your sibling IN Christ, 🙂
        Michael

        Liked by 2 people

  2. oikoskrk says:

    Michael, we are of one heart, Spirit and purpose brother. I speak of the same things you do in my daily life and in my blog. I hope to see you again soon my dear friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Maybe I will see you guys in the spring when we go to B’ham to see our son and fam. It is starting to look like a family reunions with a bunch of nieces, nephews and cousins as well.

      Like

  3. Kenneth E Dawson says:

    So let it be so

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you Michael for this insightful article. For me it so bears witness to some thoughts I’ve had this last week as I’ve pondered the scripture, “28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Gal 2:28.

    As I look at the different nationalities and locations of visitors to your blog (many I believe have not met in person), and imagine we can relate to one another, it can only point to one thing – our connection is through a new nature, the third race, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, born from above, the one new man, Christ Jesus (Head and body).

    Amen to that prayer of Jesus you make reference to from John 17:20-22.

    Thank you once again.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This is a truth the Body of Christ desperately needs to hear. I so benefit from your teaching, Michael. Thank you! Thank you!

    A.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Yes, Anna, I think you are right. Most of the body is in a fog of false or shallow teaching. May the Spirit, our Teacher, break through to us all just as Paul wrote…

      “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,” (Eph 1:17-18, ESV2011)

      You are so welcome, my dear sister!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Gracias Michael por tremenda enseñanza. Que el Señor arranque lo que no es de Él en nosotros y podamos ver la carnalidad de nuestros caminos. Que ya no seamos más los “Peter Pan” espirituales y dejemos que el Señor nos lleve a Su madurez. Gloria a Dios por esta palabra.

    Un abrazo grande.
    ——
    Patricia wrote:

    Thanks Michael for tremendous teaching. May the Lord start what is not of Him in us and we can see the carnality of our ways. May we no longer be spiritual “Peter Pan” and let the Lord take us to His maturity. Glory to God for this word.

    A big hug.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Amen, dear sister. Though I am not sure what you mean by a “spiritual ‘Peter Pan.'” 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • jajajajaja, como Peter Pan fue un niño que nunca creció, entonces lo hice como una comparación para aquellos que no se dejan llevar a madurez por el Señor, estando dentro de ese sistema religioso y siguen siendo niños espirituales que dependen de sus líderes religiosos.

        Patricia wrote:

        hahahaha, as Peter Pan was a child who never grew, so I did it as a comparison for those who do not allow themselves to be brought to maturity by the Lord, being within that religious system and still being spiritual children who depend on their religious leaders

        Liked by 1 person

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