The Lord wants to work with circumcised people. An uncircumcised Christian is a Christian who is not able to yield to the Lord. An uncircumcised Christian is the one who resists doing God’s best things. He does mediocre things, those of infants, more or less malleable. But an uncircumcised man cannot do the best things of God. He will definitely resist at the very peak, at the hot spot he will resist the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, the Lord in the Old Testament showed the sign of the Covenant by the example of Abraham and his descendants. This is the sign of the Covenant – the circumcised foreskin of a man. It was a command. And the Lord said, “Everyone who is not circumcised in your house will be crushed, destroyed.” That is, circumcision is an order.
Today in the New Testament this is not literal circumcision, as the Jews did, and today Muslims do for their own reasons. But this is spiritual circumcision. And the requirement of circumcision remains the same, and the extent of the Lord’s command remains the same.
Of the uncircumcised it is said, “O, the House of Israel, people uncircumcised in heart! How much more will you resist the Holy Spirit?!” That is, uncircumcised people always resist the Holy Spirit.
They may go to church, they may speak good sermons, they may pretend Christian. But as soon as it concerns true obedience, it touches spheres of suffering and the cost of Christ, they will manifest immediately, because an uncircumcised man has an uncircumcised heart. He is not a man of the Covenant.
Lord Jesus Himself was circumcised, literally. And He continues to circumcise hearts. Apostle Paul teaches both Jews and Gentiles and says: “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil.3:3). We ought to be circumcised.
I remember a dream where two or three Angels circumcised me – they did it in an instance, I didn’t have a chance to do anything. Then I came to Israel and shared it with brothers. They said, “Well, you are truly our brother, circumcised like us”. – I said, “I’ve got a better thing, because you are circumcised by circumcision of flesh, but I am circumcised by spiritual one, Angels did to me, but your dads did it to you.
Today I am speaking about this circumcision, which refers both to men and women, circumcision of the foreskin of the heart. The foreskin is what is not needed. First He said to Abram to leave Ur of the Chaldeans and then He entered deep in to the very personal thing and said: “Now, we shall do this with you”. Abram says: “What do you mean? We had no such deal, You promised me a land”. God says, “No, I am unfolding the revelation. Now you do the circumcision, you and all men in your household. Whoever resists may go, otherwise that person shall be cut off from My people”.
Today many people are being cut off from the Apostolic Church, they are not able to stand through, they are blown off because these are different speeds; because this is different heat in the furnace; because goals and challenges of the Lord are different. It is a different level of walking for circumcised hearts. Therefore, we must be circumcised churches.
You can discern a circumcised person at once. He can easily humble himself the same moment. You can discern an uncircumcised person at once too. He rises the same moment. You touch him – he shows his teeth, something is not his way – he is turns inside out. But a circumcised person is strong, he walks in God, he is able to die easily to himself.
So, Apostle Paul says these words: “For we are the circumcision, who worship (serve) God in the Spirit”. A circumcised man serves by his spirit – this is a clearest sign of circumcision. There are preachers who serve with their soul. If only I switch from the spirit to the soul level now, you will laugh and enjoy, I will tell some stories, we’ll all feel very warm in the soul. But you will receive absolutely nothing. You will leave exactly the same as you came – that is going to be the result. You will feel well on the human level, but you won’t advance a bit in the Kingdom. Because you can advance in the Kingdom only by the spirit.
What Paul speaks here is God’s truth: “For we are the circumcision, who worship (serve) God in the Spirit”. Serving with the spirit of a man, like I am serving right now with my spirit and move revelation inside you. Now your spirit begins to tune and listen from heaven, the sacred food, hidden from this age – because this is serving God with your spirit and not with your soul.
The soul includes your intellect, knowledge, experience, but the spirit comprises revelation and the power of God. This is the first sign – that a circumcised man serves God with the spirit. And it is the spirit that truly builds up and moves forward. If we go on the Kingdom level today, further, deeper, closer to the Lord and higher up the radiant Mount Zion – this is only because someone served with his spirit. This is the only reason and there’s no other. If we don’t advance, it means there was no ministry of the spirit. There were words, impressions, emotions, but there was no spirit – do you understand?
So this is serious. Only circumcised people are able to serve with their spirit.
The second sign is “who glory in Christ Jesus”. We may glory in ourselves. Well, it doesn’t take much to spot out a man who glories in himself. But to glory in your neighbor is something more “refined”. Do you hear? I can glory in my neighbor now, which means I am not circumcised. Because one should glory in Jesus alone!
Sometimes we do glory in one another, measuring ourselves by each other, as Paul says, unwisely, but all the glory belongs to the Lord. And it’s not that we shouldn’t honor each other, speak well of one another… But the whole of the glory comes from Him, a man is just an instrument, a vessel. Man is simply a means, through which God moves. When we see the matter this way, and see the man this way, through whom God’s work was done, then we are circumcised. This is why it is written, “the ones who glory in Christ Jesus”.
The Lord is the One who does things. If there’s any good in us, it is the Lord doing it. It’s not like “O, pastor Nikinor, you did to me such a good thing!” I always feel embarrassed, when they grant me such respect. I once watch how people applauded one preacher: they rose up and kept applauding purposely for so long. It was already way too much, but he bowed his head and accepted it all so “humbly”. I don’t think this is the way… Better not do it. You may thank a man – that is good and proper, there is ethic… but don’t glorify the man, don’t take away his reward, don’t spoil him. It is already difficult for him in ministry and you come tempting him like satan. Praise weighs down a true man of God. Let us rather give praise to the Lord and glory in Christ Jesus! That smells combat divers, that’s good. This is the Word of God.
And the third sign is “have no confidence in the flesh”. This is no easy thing either. We, pragmatics, plan things, begin doing them only when it gets clear that we have planned well – having confidence in the flesh. “Gas is enough, money is enough, tickets are bought, things are connected…” Sometimes the Lord lets us go, but sometimes He puts us to shame, and we fail, though we have calculated all things – He simply doesn’t bless you. You did everything right: you prayed, asked the right things from the Lord, got intercessors engaged, but the Lord simply decided not listen to anyone. The intercessors are good, but He won’t hear them because of bad you. So we have to learn to have no confidence either in the flesh or our mind or our strength or other people, but have confidence in the Lord and hope on His grace.
These three things that we just went through are not the reasons that lead to circumcision, but they are the signs of a circumcised man.
Examine yourselves if you are circumcised, and do this. Go to circumcision, get in the line and get circumcised. The Lord will do that to you. Some are already being circumcised: you are in such circumstances that you wail, but if you humble yourselves and go forward, right against the knife, you will receive the circumcision.
If you flee another time from this room (this isn’t your first time there, but you keep running away), the Lord will not chase you. But you will have to return to this room, in order to receive certain new blessings of a better order, the best of God’s, as we say, there is.
There’s average of God’s, which is free for everyone, but there is the best of God’s, which can’t be free. You have to pay for it. As the Scripture says, “Buy from Me gold refined in the fire”. “Buy” means pay the price. “Gold refined in the fire” is the precious faith. It’s not just Christian faith, but the most precious faith. I know what I am talking about. There’s the common faith – we go to church, believe in Jesus, that He will save us. But there is the most precious faith, when you believe the way that only a few on the planet believe. That’s the precious faith that doesn’t reveal itself to all, but to those who are circumcised.
Therefore, I invite you to this room of circumcision. There are many pastors uncircumcised, whom I meet all over, and they don’t even know they are uncircumcised. Many of them govern churches being uncircumcised, having circumcised people in their churches. That’s an unpleasant paradox, and people really languish in such churches. Their level of knowing God is higher than that of the pastors’. Their hunger for the Word and the reservoir of their spirit for nourishment is deeper than with the pastors. But uncircumcised people can’t shepherd circumcised ones. Therefore, I invite you to this room of circumcision.
Paul says: “though I might also have confidence in the flesh”. Some people have such position, which makes it even more difficult. For example, you think: “I have graduated from some Bible courses – funny, but that’s a fact”. There are lots of courses, you’ve read many spiritual books, more than some others – you did self-education, studied Calvin and Wesley’s theology, Pentecostal theology – not all can do that. I had such a season in my life – when I read a lot of such books with notes, because it’s impossible to simply read that stuff, you don’t enjoy reading Maths textbooks. But I felt God wanted to deposit something important inside of me, the understanding of the foundational things, which I could operate with later on. Then they gave me Doctor’s degree – I am a Doctor of Theology. But that doesn’t mean anything.
In the spiritual Angels don’t see it. All your knowledge, degrees, respect matter nothing to them, some of them don’t even know I am a Doctor, because they don’t see a radiance from the Doctor’s degree. You don’t get a new color in the rainbow with your hat and diploma.
So, Paul says he has grounds to have confidence in the flesh: he was circumcised on the eighth day, of the tribe of Benjamin, blameless, had no woman, was not defiled by strange flesh – there was nothing that could deprive him of his exclusiveness. He was an exclusive young man, he targeted the highest level of Sanhedrin, he did have things to have confidence in. “If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so” – that is, in God.
“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ”, literal translation is “garbage that we throw” – we throw it so that there’s no bad smell, no bugs, no dirt and uncleanness, that morally it feels well in the house. And he says that all this advantage – it doesn’t mean that all those things are garbage – but, for Christ, he decided to count it all as garbage – “I count it loss”. “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord”.
We forget those things. We need to get sober again. This sobering is called one notion – the fear of the Lord. I tell you that fear of God and circumcision are twins, they go together. And if after this sermon the fear of God comes upon you it would be a greatest treasure, brothers and sisters. Solomon says in his Proverbs that the one who has the fear of the Lord is more excellent that the one having wisdom, and he did have wisdom, but still fell. The fear of God is higher than wisdom. It is the guarantor, but wisdom is not. Wisdom can make success and profit, but the fear of the Lord will keep you near to Jesus, will keep you in the eternity, in God.
Therefore, I’d rather be foolish and funny, but it is better to fear God than be wise and strong and stop fearing Him.
These are simple white and black things, no shades here, which could confuse. Yes and no. And it is said, let your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” – “no”. And the Gospel is black and white, and between them there’s the pleasure of the rainbow colors. Alpha and Omega comprises the truth.
“Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord”. Here comes the fourth level – knowledge. Paul rejected all things he could have confidence in FOR THE KNOWLEDGE! One may have the knowledge of God. But it is given BECAUSE OF rejecting all things, which you could have confidence in.
If you remove it all as rubbish, then instead you receive the knowledge. This is solid food, but it is true food. You remove your opportunities to have confidence in flesh and receive God instead. You receive your affirmed and recovered circumcision. And you walk on a completely new level, which is called knowledge.
Why does it have to be this way? Can’t you drive in to God with all your loads of boxes? The Lord say, “No. I am Jealous One. I want to be the Only One with you”. Do you understand?
Say, a young man wants to marry a girl, but she loves her past, where there is plenty of young men with whom she was, and wants to keep her photo album with all that past. What kind of real man would tolerate that? He would say, let’s do so that you come, and we get rid of all this stuff, out of your head, first of all, and you live a new life; or you can stay with your album.
The same way it is with our Lord.
If we have left our past behind, which He has forgiven, but return there now and then – that is adultery. Paul knew that and said those beautiful things in a few lines. He revealed sacred intimate things about himself, he revealed why he is an Apostle and why such Kingdom glory moved with him. He revealed the secret. You may not like it – that’s your problem. But Paul does reveal the truth, why he is an Apostle, why the knowledge of God moves with him so powerfully, why there’s the abundance of revelations, miracles, and what is most important, that great shalom in his heart and the deepest confidence of salvation. Paul had it all, he had Christ, and revealed to us how these things are gained.
Therefore, I strongly urge you to enter in circumcision and reject the advantages of the flesh, things you could have confidence in, shift to having confidence in God, for the excellence of the knowledge and for Christ Himself.