HWMR – Vital Factors for the Recovery of the Church Life (Week 8)
The Factor of Living an Overcoming Life in the Recovered Church to Consummate the Divine Economy and Become the New Jerusalem
Key Point – The Lord makes us pillars by transforming us, that is, by carrying away our natural element and replacing it with His divine essence
Rev. 3:12 He who overcomes, him I will make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall by no means go out anymore, and I will write upon him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which descends out of heaven from My God, and My new name.[In Revelation 3:12] the overcomer will be made a pillar built into the temple of God. Because he is built into God’s building, “he shall by no means go out anymore.” This promise will be fulfilled in the millennial kingdom as a prize to the overcomer. To overcome in the church in Philadelphia is not to get anything or to overcome other things; it is to keep what we have received in the Lord’s recovery to the end. If you do this, the Lord will make you a pillar in God’s temple. This reminds us of Jacob’s dream in Genesis 28. After Jacob had that dream, he set up the stone which he had used for a pillow to be a pillar. That pillar was for God’s building….The principle is exactly the same today. The Lord has set up a good number of stones to be pillars in His recovery….Once a stone has been set as a pillar into the building, it can never be removed, for it has been built in….If you have been built into the temple as a pillar, you could not leave even if you wanted to. (Life-study of Revelation, pp. 193-194)
The Lord makes us pillars by transforming us, that is, by carrying away our natural element and by replacing it with His divine essence. Therefore, the meaning of make in Revelation 3:12 is to constitute us into something, to construct us in a creative way. In the church life today the Lord is making us, constituting us, into pillars in the temple of God. The Lord’s work in the church is to work Himself into us as the divine flow to carry away our natural being and replace it with His substance that we may be gradually processed by His transforming element. As the result of this transforming work, we become pillars in the temple of God.
Even in today’s church life, the overcoming saints are pillars in the Triune God. Furthermore, these saints sometimes have the consciousness that the church is actually nothing other than the Triune God. This fact is indicated by the golden lampstands as a symbol of the church (Rev. 1:12, 20). Furthermore, the lampstand is the embodiment and expression of the Triune God. The gold of the lampstand signifies the nature of the Father; the form signifies Christ as the embodiment and image of God; and the seven lamps signify the Spirit as the expression. Therefore, the lampstand is the embodiment of the Triune God and also a symbol of the church. Hence, it is not too much to say that, in actuality, the church is the Triune God, because the lampstand is the church and also the embodiment of the Triune God. Now we can see that the pillars in the church today are pillars in the Triune God. In the coming age these overcoming believers will be pillars in the temple of God, which is God Himself. From this we see that being made a pillar involves the Triune God being mingled with and constituted into the faithful overcomers. (The Conclusion of the New Testament, pp. 1215-1216)
Life-study of Colossians (Message 31)
Col. 4:1`5 Greet the brothers in Laodicea, as well as Nymphas and the church, which is in his house.
Col. 4:16 And when this letter is read among you, cause that it be read in the church of the Laodiceans also, and that you also read the one from Laodicea.
This Epistle was sent from Rome to Colosse. In ancient times this was a long journey. In the geographical region between Rome and Colosse were many different kinds of people. However, in this region near the Mediterranean, the new man had come into being and was living in a practical way. Although travel was not convenient, there was considerable traffic among the churches. There is a lesson for us here. Although we enjoy all the modern conveniences and means of transportation, there may not be as much traffic among the churches today as there was at the time of Paul. Furthermore, I have to admit that I have never composed a letter containing as many personal greetings as there are in the book of Colossians. Think of how many names are mentioned in 4:7-17: Tychicus, Onesimus, Aristarchus, Mark, Barnabas, Justus, Epaphras, Luke, Demas, Nymphas, and Archippus. Paul also refers to the brothers in Laodicea, the church in the house of Nymphas, and the church of the Laodiceans. (The church in the house of Nymphas was the local church in Laodicea; it met in his house.) All these names indicate that with Paul there was a sense, a consciousness, of the new man.
This new man who was living on earth in a practical way was constituted of those who according to culture and social status were Greeks, Jews, circumcision, uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slaves, and freemen. However, as we have pointed out, the actual constituent of the new man is Christ and Christ alone. Because Christ is the unique constituent of the new man, there should be no differences among the believers who are part of this new man.
Furthermore, there should be no differences among the churches, for example, no difference between the church in Laodicea and the church in Colosse. This is proved by Paul’s word regarding the reading of letters: “And when this letter is read among you, cause that it may be read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you also read the one from Laodicea” (4:16). What Paul wrote to the Colossians was also for the Laodiceans, and what he wrote to the Laodiceans was for the Colossians. What fellowship, oneness, harmony, and intimate contact this implies!
In 4:7 Paul says, “All that concerns me, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow-slave in the Lord, shall make known to you.” Paul had charged Tychicus to make known to the Colossians all that concerned him. If Paul did not have the consciousness of the new man, he would not have regarded it necessary to give Tychicus such a charge. Rather, he may have thought to himself, “Why should I tell those in Colosse the things that concern me? They are in Asia Minor, and I am here in Rome, far away from them.” Paul, however, had the sense of the new man.
Those in Colosse also had the consciousness of the new man. If they were not conscious of the new man expressed at that time in the Mediterranean area, they would have considered Paul’s affairs his own personal business and would not have been interested in hearing of them. But both the saints in Colosse, and Paul and those with him, were members of the one new man in actuality.
Life-study of Colossians (Message 32)
Living Christ as the Constituent of the New Man
Col. 3:15 And let the peace of Christ arbitrate in your hearts, to which also you were called in one Body; and be thankful.
Co 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to God.
If we would live Christ as the constituent of the new man, we need to be ruled by the peace of Christ (3:12-15) and inhabited by the word of Christ (3:16-17). The peace of Christ must arbitrate within our being, and the word of Christ must dwell in us richly. As Christians, we have different backgrounds and different concepts. These differences lead to disagreements among us; therefore, there is the need for an arbitrator. This arbitrator is the peace of Christ. It is crucial that the peace of Christ be allowed to preside in our hearts and to speak the final word regarding any controversy among us.
If we remember the background of the book of Colossians, we shall realize that among the believers in Colosse there were various parties. One party was in favor of Jewish observances, whereas another favored Gnosticism. These different preferences gave rise to conflicting opinions. For this reason, Paul told them to let the peace of Christ arbitrate in their hearts. The arbitrator should not be their opinions, concepts, choices, or preferences; it should be the peace of Christ, to which we are called in one Body.
We have pointed out that the peace of Christ is the very peace to which Paul refers in Ephesians 2:15, where we are told that Christ “abolished in His flesh the law of the commandments in ordinances, that He might create the two in Himself into one new man, making peace.” This peace is the oneness of the new man, the Body. By abolishing the ordinances, Christ has created the different peoples into one new man. Now within us as members of the new man there is something which Paul terms the peace of Christ. Hence, the peace of Christ is the very oneness of the new man composed of different peoples. Apart from the work of Christ on the cross, there can be no oneness among the different peoples. But through His death Christ has made peace; that is, He has produced oneness. This oneness of the new man is now within us. This oneness, the peace of Christ, must now be permitted to arbitrate in our hearts. It should function as a referee to settle the disputes among various parties. We need to set aside our opinion, our concept, and listen to the word of the indwelling referee. There is no need for us to quarrel or to express our opinion. We should simply let the peace of Christ make the final decision.
Suppose several young brothers are living together in a brothers’ house. Whenever they have problems living together, they should not argue. Instead, they should allow the peace of Christ to arbitrate in their hearts. They should let this peace be the referee who makes the final decisions. In this way, they will live Christ as the constituent of the new man.
We also need to allow the word of Christ to inhabit us, to dwell in us, to make home in us. We must be willing to set aside our concepts, our opinions, and give place to the word of Christ. If we want the word of Christ to inhabit us, we need to empty our entire inner being. All of our inward parts—our mind, emotion, will, heart, and spirit—must be empty, available to be filled with the word of Christ. This word should not only dwell in us; it should also inhabit us, making its home in every part of our inner being. Oh, may every room and corner of our being be inhabited by the word of Christ!
If we would live Christ as the constituent of the new man, the peace of Christ must be the arbitrator in our heart, and the word of Christ must be the content of our inner being. We pray that all the saints in the Lord’s recovery will give place to the arbitrating peace of Christ and to the inhabiting word of Christ.