Cor. 3; Heb.
"We desire each one of you to show the same
that ye be
sluggish, but... through faith and patience inherit the
"Walk worthily of the Lord... increasing in the
knowledge of God." - Col. 1:10.
"Holding fast the Head from whom all the body being
supplied... increaseth with the increase of God." - Col. 2:19.
"The Lord make you to increase and abound in love
one toward another." - 1 Thess. 3:12.
"We exhort you brethren that ye abound more and
more." - 1 Thess. 4:10.
"Speaking the truth in
love, may grow up in all things
into HIM, who is the Head, even Christ; from
the body fitly framed and knit together through that
which every joint supplieth, according to the working in due
measure of each several part, maketh the increase of
the body unto the building up of itself in love." - Eph. 4:15-16,
Lord's thought for His children is fulness; and
in connection with all the works of God there is always
the thought of fulness; that which the Lord desires for His
children is fulness, increase, abundance, growth,
development. When the Lord was on earth, He met the
need found in the multitudes of people with an abundance
and fulness, although having very little naturally with which
to meet it. We see His thought is abundance - "and they
all ate and were filled and they took up that which
remained over of the broken pieces twelve baskets full."
His utterances likewise are full
of this thought, "Give and it shall be given you; good measure,
pressed down, shaken together, running over," Luke 6:38. There is fulness and abundance.
If we but realised the possibilities of the Holy Spirit
resident within us in correspondence to the energy that He energises in us, how different things would be; "Having
the eyes of your heart enlightened that ye may
KNOW... what the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to that 'energising' of
strength of His might which He wrought in Christ when
He raised Him from the dead and made Him to sit at His
right hand in the heavenlies far above all." (Eph. 1:18-21. A.R.V.).
"I was made a minister according to that gift of the
grace of God which was given unto me, according to the
working [energising] of His power. (Eph 3:7).
Lord Jesus who shall fashion anew the body of our
humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of His
glory according to the working [energising] whereby He
is able even to subject all things unto
HIMSELF" (Phil. 3:21). "I labour also striving according to His working
in me in power " (Col. 1:29, A.R.V.)
"There are diversities of workings [energisings] but God who worketh [energiseth] all
things in all... but all these [energiseth] the one and the
same Spirit dividing to each one severally as He will"
(1 Cor. 12:6-11).
"It is God who energiseth in you both to will
and to work for his good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13).
The Lord's thought is to add, to give increase, to bring
But there is a side of responsibility where we are
concerned, and we need to ask whether the measure of
power working in us has to do with ourselves; as to how
much we limit those powers, energising, working in us?
Spirit in the power of the Lord Jesus is capable of
realising "far above all that we can ask or
think," but so often we limit the work by getting in His way. There is a tremendous stress in the
New Testament to our going on to the
Cor. 3, and Heb. 5 lay special emphasis on our
responsibility to go on.
The Golden Measuring Rod
The measuring rod of God has been set
midst of His people, and everything is brought to that
golden measuring rod set up in the House of God. To the
last detail all that has part in the House of God is brought
to that rod - the measure of Christ, and tested by it as to whether it is meet
for the Divine requirement.
The measuring rod is the Lord Jesus HIMSELF, HE
is the fulness of God, "In Him dwelleth all the fulness of
the Godhead bodily," (Col. 2:9) and everything has to be
brought to measure in the Lord Jesus (Col. 2:12 - "In
HIM ye are made full.") to be seen whether it comes
short; "Lest any of you should seem to come short"
(Heb. 4:1). "Lest any man falleth short of the grace of
God." (Heb. 13:15). "Wherefore, having the doctrine of
the first principles of Christ, let us press on unto full growth." (Heb. 6:1 A.R.V.).
God has a very full standard of completeness in
the Lord Jesus in relation to spiritual life, and truly for
the child of God there should be no other kind of life,
but all the life a spiritual life, where everything is
brought by God's Holy Spirit to God's measurement in
Christ. Are you coming short of God's measurement in
Christ for your business life? If there is anything crooked
in your business life the Holy Spirit will bring the
straightness of the Lord Jesus against that thing. Also
with the home life both personally and unitedly,
everything is brought by the Holy Spirit to God's degree
and standard in Christ Jesus and tested by HIM. And it is made manifest if there
is crookedness, and where there is a falling-short of God's requirement you get
conditions which make for unhappiness.
Likewise our secret prayer life, and reading of the
Word of God, all must come to the measuring rod of
God. Everything in the House of God, i.e., the Lord's
people, is brought by the Holy Spirit to God's
measurement in Christ, to be tested whether all is
Christ. The ministry of the Word should be to the
straightening out of all to the straightness of Christ.
Sometimes it is a cutting off, if we have gone beyond the
measure of Christ. We are not so much in peril of doing
this, but rather of falling short and not coming up to the "stature of the fulness of Christ." The Holy Spirit's
are according to the standard of God
in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let us look at some of the things which relate to the
increase of God. Firstly, and in some sense all
inclusively, it is a matter of spirituality.
"Whom having not yet seen ye love, in
now ye see Him not, yet believing ye rejoice with joy
unspeakable and full of glory." (1 Peter, 1:8). "He
endured as seeing Him who is invisible." (Heb. 11:27). "Enduring as seeing." This is a measure of spirituality.
With us faith is still largely measured by sight, and the
Lord is seeking to bring us to the place where we are
spiritual; the natural side of things does influence us so
much, and the Lord is trying to cut in between this
approving and apprehending by the senses.
Paul could not speak to the Corinthian believers but
as to carnal; yet this first letter to the Corinthian Church
is largely occupied with "spirituals"; "Now concerning spirituals, brethren," (1 Cor.
12:1). And yet
this declaration "And I, brethren, could not speak unto
you as unto spiritual" (1 Cor. 3:1). Now what has
happened? These Corinthian believers were
tremendously interested in the spirituals, yet they were
not spiritual, not really growing,
and to have these things on the gift side does
not represent maturity. Interested in
these spiritual gifts and probably possessors of
the manifestation side of things as the spirituals,
yet not spiritual.
Love, the Law of Increase
What are some of the laws of real spiritual
increase? LOVE, 1 Cor. 12. If I have all gifts, and have not love, I am nothing,
I am not spiritual. In the opening passages
note how "increase" is linked with "love." What
was the reason of the Thessalonian believers' quick
growth? Look at the testimony they bore. Paul found
he had no need to speak of them, for wherever he went
they were known. "From you hath sounded forth the
word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and Acaia, but in
every place your faith Godward is gone forth, so that we need not
to speak anything.'' (1 Thess. 1:8). What was the secret of their
increase? The letters to the Thessalonians are often thought to be the
elementary letters, but, the order in which God has sovereignly
arranged the letters of Paul, represents far greater facts than mere
chronological order. Romans begins with justification
by faith; Thessalonians ends with the coming
of the Lord, and with the coming of the Lord
you have got to have maturity. And Thessalonians represents coming, to maturity
in a very rapid way, a coming, to an "End Time" place
the word in much affliction
(1 Thess. 1:6).
The key to the Thessalonian position is LOVE; yes, spiritual increase is by
love. Along that way is growth and maturity. You can have all the gifts and be
Spiritual increase is not by knowing all these things, the way of
growth is not by faith's power externally manifested, but more by
endurance. Do you want to know the way of the increase of God? It is by LOVE.
What the Lord needs is an open pure spirit towards HIMSELF, and love toward ALL
saints, the Lord will bring into His greater fulness where there is a genuine
love one to the other - IN HIM. The sure way of being locked up and limited is
to have a closed heart to any of the Lord's children. LOVE is the way to
spiritual increase. The Ephesian letter in which there is the fullest unveiling
truth in the deepest teaching concerning the Church, the Body of Christ, there
is from start
to finish the golden thread of LOVE running
all through, this is significant when you consider
what the letter contains.
1 Cor 13 is the great chapter on love, and is put
over beside all the "gifts." Love is the real spirituality that is
spirituality. Love is the most difficult and the greatest of all gifts. "Ye
are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own affections." (2 Cor.
6:12). You are so narrow, so limited, like a closed hedge, pent up, cramped!
"Our heart is enlarged, ye are not straitened in us."
The measure of our spiritual life is no greater
than our heart; the knowledge that is in the head is not the measure of
spirituality, the way for your release, emancipation, increase, abundance is the
way of the heart. Spirituality is
not mental agreement on things stated in the Word, it is
the melting of one heart to another - to all saints. The devil
has locked up a number of the Lord's children as in a
padded room of their own limitations; frozen their love
by something between them and other children of God.
The way out is by increase of love; and we shall remain
locked, up until we are there!
In the book of Leviticus where the offering
to the Lord is introduced, we read "If any man of you bring an offering to the Lord"; then there
follows the nature of the sacrifice, what it is to be and what it is to be like, and
"he shall offer it of his own voluntary will." In Leviticus it is voluntary, "If any
man," "of his own voluntary will." In Numbers the offering is obligatory and dealing with another aspect of truth. In Leviticus it is a matter of the heart, a voluntary matter, a coming into the presence of the Lord in fellowship; it is the heart going out to the Lord, and wanting something for the Lord, that the Lord should
True spirituality is the measure of love of God shed abroad in the heart, all the spirituals rest upon and have their rise out of
Love. Not power, or knowledge, or different gifts, these are not the first
things, the first thing is love. That leads to the increase of God. There are
other things that lead to increase but love is
first and basic to
other. Any threat to fellowship among the Lord's people is the way of arrest in growth.
have something. That is fellowship, that is
worship. Then notice the character of the offering to be given, it must be that which
wholly speaks of the Lord, it must represent the Lord Jesus. Leviticus opens with the heart going out
voluntarily to God, that HE shall have something, and what He
shall have is His own satisfaction and be wholly according to Christ. Spiritually this is seen to
be a matter of love to the Lord, the desire to have all things according to Him.
"That He would grant you according, to the
riches of His glory, that ye may be strengthened
with power through His Spirit in the inward
man that ye being rooted and grounded in love may be strong to apprehend with all the
saints what is the breadth and length and height
and depth, to know the love of Christ which
passeth knowledge, that ye may be filled into
the fulness of God." (Eph. 3:16-19).
First published in "A Witness and A Testimony"
magazine, May-June 1931, Vol 9-3