DEALING WITH LEAVEN—THE SINFUL AND NEGATIVE THINGS
We have pointed out that in the meal offering there is neither leaven nor honey. In 1 Corinthians both leaven—the sinful and negative things—and honey—the natural life—are dealt with.
In 5:6b-8 we have the dealing with leaven. “Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, even as you are unleavened. For indeed our Passover, Christ, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with leaven of malice and evil, but with unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” Here we see that leaven is not tolerated in the church life.
DEALING WITH HONEY—THE NATURAL LIFE
First Corinthians 15:10 indicates that in Paul’s experience the honey, the natural life, was dealt with. Recall that in this verse he says, “I labored more abundantly than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God.” Paul’s labor was not by the I, not by the natural life, not by honey.
Paul certainly was not a person with a weak character. Before he was saved he was very strong in character, taking the lead to persecute the saints. But after he was saved, he was made an apostle and he labored more than the other apostles. However, his labor was not in the natural life.
In the church life the natural life and the natural affection should be dealt with. This means that there should be no honey in the church life. We all like to be natural and live a natural life, but in the church life the natural life is not permitted. It must be put to death. The honey of the natural life must be killed by the salt, by the cross of Christ.
We should not put any leaven or honey in the meal offering. This means that in the church life we should not have the negative things or the natural life.
The church life is a corporate meal offering signified by the one bread in 10:17. “Seeing that we who are many are one bread, one Body; for we all partake of the one bread.” This bread, or cake, signifies the corporate life.
We enjoy this corporate life when we partake of the Lord’s table. Do you take the bread and the cup by yourself? Of course not! You partake of the bread and the cup with the saints. This is a matter of fellowship. This is the reason 10:16 says, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a fellowship of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a fellowship of the body of Christ?” Because this is a matter of fellowship, we partake of the bread and of the cup in a corporate way. This corporate partaking is a sign of the church life; it is also a testimony of the church life.
All the points covered in 1 Corinthians are related to the church life, to the corporate life. According to this book, for this corporate life we need to be a man who is oiled with the Holy Spirit, who lives a life under the cross with the resurrection of Christ as the frankincense, and who does not have leaven or honey. This is the church life as a meal offering.
The whole church life is a meal offering. In this meal offering the top portion is for God’s enjoyment, and the remainder is for us to take as our daily food in our service to God. We, therefore, are a meal offering as food for God’s satisfaction and for the nourishment of others.
God wants to have a meal offering in every locality. He desires that every local church be a meal offering that satisfies Him and that fully supplies the saints day by day.
Our hunger is satisfied not only by Christ but also by the church life. The church life satisfies us because the church life is a corporate meal offering, with the top portion for God and the remainder for us. Therefore, we are fed by and with the church life. The church life is the meal offering to be our daily supply. Hallelujah for the meal offering church life!
(Life-Study of Leviticus, Chapter 16, by Witness Lee)