HWMR – Vital Factors for the Recovery of the Church Life (Week 7)
The Factor of Blending for the Reality of the Body of Christ
Key Point – The Lord’s recovery is to build up Zion – the overcomers as the reality of the Body of Christ consummating in the New Jerusalem
Rev. 14:1 And I saw, and behold, the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him a hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.
According to the Bible, when God wants to do something, He first chooses a small number of people as a base and then works the same thing into the majority of the people. Jerusalem typifies the church. Within Jerusalem, there was Mount Zion. One typifies the whole body of the church, while the other typifies the
overcomers of the church. Jerusalem is large, while Zion is small. The stronghold of Jerusalem is Zion. Whenever there is something that has to do with God’s heart desire, Zion is mentioned. Whenever there is something that has to do with the failures and sins of the Jews, Jerusalem is mentioned. God always allowed Jerusalem to be trodden down, but He always protected Zion. There is a New Jerusalem, but there never will be a new Zion, because Zion can never become old. Every time the Old Testament speaks of the relationship between Zion and Jerusalem, it shows us that the characteristics, the life, the blessing, and the establishment of Jerusalem come from Zion. Today God is looking for the one hundred and forty-four thousand amidst the defeated church, who will stand on Mount Zion (Rev. 14). God always uses a small number of believers to pass on the flow of life to the church and to revive the church. As the Lord has done once before, so these overcomers have to pour out their blood before life can flow out to others. On behalf of the church, the overcomers take the stand of victory and also suffer tribulation and despising. Thus, the overcomers of God…have to pay the price and allow the cross to cut off all the old creation and deal with the gates of Hades (Matt. 16:18). Are you willing to endure heartache to gain the heart of God? Are you willing to let yourself be defeated so that the Lord can be the Victor? (CWWN, vol. 11, pp. 761-763)
Life-study of Colossians (Message 29)
The Living of the Saints in Union with Christ: Ruled by the Peace of Christ and Inhabited by the Word of Christ
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.
Col. 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.
The word of Christ includes the entire New Testament. We need to be filled with this word. This means that we should allow the word of Christ to dwell in us, to inhabit us, to make home in us. The Greek word rendered dwell means to be in a house, to inhabit. The word of the Lord must have adequate room within us so that it may operate and minister the riches of Christ into our inner being. Furthermore, the word of Christ must dwell in us richly. The riches of Christ (Eph. 3:8) are in His word. When such a rich word inhabits us, it must inhabit us richly. The word of Christ should have free course within us. We should not simply receive it and then confine it to a small area of our being. On the contrary, it should be given a free course to operate within us. In this way the word will inhabit us and make home in us.
I appreciate Paul’s skill as a writer. He emphasizes, on the one hand, the peace of Christ and, on the other hand, the word of Christ. Some of us may think that as long as our spirit is living, everything is all right. Perhaps you have not realized the need for the peace of Christ to arbitrate within you and for the word of Christ to make home in your heart. If we let the peace of Christ work in us and the word of Christ dwell in us, we shall be proper Christians. Instead of our preference, we shall have Christ’s arbitration. Instead of our opinion, concept, thought, and estimation, we shall have Christ’s word.
Certain saints love the Bible and read it daily. But in their living it is their concept, opinion, and philosophy that move within them, not the word of Christ. They may study the Bible, but they do not allow the word of Christ to dwell in them. Neither do they permit it to move, act, and have its being in them. As a result, what prevails in their being is their philosophy, not the word of Christ. Although they read the Bible, God’s word remains outside of them. It is crucial for us to let the word of Christ enter into us, dwell in us, and replace our concepts, opinions, and philosophies. We need to pray, “Lord Jesus, I am willing to let go of my concepts. I want Your word to have ground in me. I am willing to forget my opinion and philosophy. I want Your word to be prevailing in me. I do not want my concepts to prevail any longer.”
We cannot separate the word of Christ from His arbitration. The arbitrator settles a dispute by speaking a word. We need to bring our case to the arbitrator and listen to his word. This means that we need to allow the peace of Christ to arbitrate in our hearts and the word of Christ to dwell in us. Then we shall be filled with singing and giving of thanks.
Life-study of Colossians (Message 30)
The Living of the Saints in Union with Christ: Expressing Christ in the Human Life, Praying with Perseverance, and Walking in Wisdom
Col. 4:2 Persevere in prayer, watching in it with thanksgiving,
Col. 4:3 Praying at the same time for us also, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ (because of which also I am bound),
In Colossians 4:2-4 Paul turns to the matter of prayer. In verse 2 he says, “Persevere in prayer, watching in it with thanksgiving.” To persevere is to continue persistently, steadfastly, and earnestly. In prayer we need to be watchful and alert, not negligent. Such watchfulness should be accompanied by thanksgiving.
The most important matter in the maintenance of our physical life is breathing. Breathing is even more important than eating and drinking. We can go for days without eating or drinking, but only a few minutes without breathing. Prayer is spiritual breathing. To pray is to breathe.
When some saints hear a word about prayer, they immediately ask how to pray. We should forget about how and simply pray. For example, a child learns to walk by walking. Few parents teach their children to walk. In the same principle, we learn to pray by praying.
In 4:2 Paul charges us to persevere in prayer. This means that we should not merely continue in prayer, but we should strive to continue. Almost everything in our environment is contrary to prayer. In order to pray, we must go against the tide, the current, of our environment. If we fail to pray, we shall be swept downstream. Only prayer can enable us to go against the current. Therefore, we need to persevere in prayer, to pray persistently.
Day by day we need to exercise ourselves to pray. We should even set aside certain times each day for prayer. Do not excuse yourself by saying that you do not have the burden to pray. Pray even when you seem to have no burden, or when apparently you have nothing to say to the Lord. You have much to say to others. Why not go to the Lord and tell Him the very things you tell them? If you do not know what to say to the Lord, pray like this: “Lord, I come to You, but I don’t know what to say, and I don’t know how to pray. Lord, teach me to pray and tell me what to say. Lord, in this matter have mercy on me.” If you do this, you will find that often when you pray in this way, some genuine prayer will come forth. When you feel that you are burdened to pray, your prayer may not be genuine. But when you go to the Lord in prayer even without a burden, telling Him that you have nothing to say, you will find yourself refreshed in the Lord and able to pray genuinely. When we open to the Lord and admit that we do not know what to say to Him, we breathe in fresh spiritual air, and we are preserved in the Lord’s grace.