HWMR – MEETING GOD’S NEED AND PRESENT NEEDS IN THE LORD’S RECOVERY (Week 8)
Taking, Experiencing, and Enjoying Christ as Our King, Our Lord, Our Head, and Our Husband for the Building Up of the Body of Christ to Consummate the New Jerusalem
Ezk. 1:22 And over the heads of the living creature there was the likeness of an expanse, like the sight of awesome crystal, stretched forth over their heads above.
Whenever we have such a clear sky in our Christian life and in our church life, we will also have the throne, which is above the clear sky (Ezek. 1:26). The throne is the center of the universe, and it is where the Lord is. We often talk about the Lord’s presence, but we need to realize that the Lord’s presence is always with the throne. Where the Lord is, there His throne is. His presence can never be separated from His throne. The Lord’s throne is in the third heaven, but His throne is also in our spirit. Hence, the Lord’s throne is with us all the time.
As Christians and as local churches, we all should be under a crystal clear and expansive sky. Above this clear, expansive sky is the throne of the Lord. By having such a clear sky, we are spontaneously under the government of the Lord’s throne.
We should always be under the ruling of the Lord’s throne. Because we are under the throne, we do not need policemen and law courts to rule over us. The highest step in the spiritual experience of a Christian is to have the throne in our expanse, in our clear sky. To have the throne, or to arrive at the throne, is to allow God to have the highest and most prominent position in our Christian life. For God to have the throne in us means that He has the position to reign in us. Therefore, to reach the throne in our spiritual experience means that in everything we are completely submissive to God’s authority and administration. Then we are no longer a person without the throne, without authority, without government.
A believer who does not have a clear sky with a throne above it can easily be loose and careless in his daily living. On the contrary, a believer who has a sky that is crystal clear has the sense of being under divine government and restraint; therefore, he cannot be loose or careless in anything he says or does. A believer who has a clear sky above him is under an authority which restricts and restrains him in things such as speaking or a display of anger. This authority is a matter of the throne. A sapphire stone signifies a kind of heavenly condition which exists when God is present in a particular situation….A sapphire stone is blue in color, and blue is a heavenly color indicating the situation and condition of God’s presence. (Life-study of Ezekiel, pp. 112-114, 120)
Life-study of Galatians (Message 13)
Christ and the Spirit
Gal. 3:3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
In the revelation of God’s economy in the first two chapters of Galatians, the emphasis is on Christ. But in our experience of life as presented in the last four chapters, the emphasis is on the Spirit. Have you noticed that in Galatians 1 and 2 there is no mention of the Spirit? However, verse after verse speaks of Christ. Beginning with 3:2, the Spirit is revealed. The Spirit in chapter three is the very Christ in chapter two. Do not think that the Spirit is separate from Christ. In the chapters which deal with the revelation of God’s economy, we read of Christ, but in those chapters which unfold our experience of life, we read of the Spirit. On the one hand, Galatians gives us a revelation of God’s economy; on the other hand, it affords us a revelation of our experience of life. The former is objective, whereas the latter is subjective. In the objective revelation of God’s economy the emphasis is on Christ, but in the subjective experience of life the emphasis is on the Spirit.
As believers, we have received the Spirit, the all-inclusive life-giving Spirit, as the all-inclusive and ultimate blessing of the gospel. According to the understanding of many Christians, the One they received when they believed in the Lord Jesus was only Christ, the Son of God. Not many realize that the One they received was not the objective Christ, but the subjective Spirit. Because many are not clear concerning this, they talk about a so-called second blessing, or about receiving the Spirit apart from regeneration. When some Christians learn that another has believed in Christ, they proceed to ask him if he has received the Holy Spirit. However, to be a genuine Christian is to believe in Christ and to receive the Spirit. To be a real Christian is to believe in Christ, and to believe in Christ is to receive the Spirit. Nevertheless, those who regard Christ as separate and distinct from the Spirit may consider that it is possible to believe in Christ without receiving the Spirit. This is a serious misunderstanding! As we have pointed out again and again in this message, we simultaneously believe in Christ and receive the Spirit.
When certain Christians are asked if they have received the Spirit, they are not clear or do not know how to answer. They need to see that when we believed in the Lord Jesus, an organic union took place. At the very time of our conversion, a wonderful organic union between us and the Lord Jesus was accomplished. Because they are ignorant of the fact of such an organic union, they do not enjoy the Spirit as the ultimate blessing of the gospel. Instead of enjoying this blessing, they are distracted to regulations, doctrine, or to the study of the Bible in dead letters. Others may pursue what is called the second blessing or the outpouring of the Spirit with speaking in tongues. But in the four books which make up the heart of the divine revelation in the New Testament—Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians— nothing is said about tongues-speaking or about the outpouring of the Spirit. Instead, Paul places strong emphasis on the sealing of the Spirit, the earnest of the Spirit, and the foretaste of the Spirit. When we believed in the Lord Jesus, we were sealed with the Spirit. At the very moment the organic union took place, the earnest of the Spirit was given. In other words, when we believed in the Lord Jesus, we received the Spirit, and the Spirit became to us the ultimate blessing of the gospel.
The Judaizers were ignorant of this mysterious organic union with Christ, and the Galatian believers were not clear about it and were distracted from it. The same is true of many Christians today. Because so many believers do not realize what took place within them at the time they believed in the Lord Jesus, they are distracted and occupied with other things. Therefore, it is crucial for us to see what happened in us when we believed in the Lord. By means of an organic union we were grafted into the Triune God. Now all the Triune God is, has done, has accomplished, and has obtained and attained has become our portion. Because the Judaizers were troubling the believers in Galatia and because the believers themselves were lacking in understanding, Paul was burdened to write this Epistle. He was especially burdened to cover the matters in chapter three. Every believer must be clear that Christ and the Spirit are one. This oneness is a mystery for our enjoyment.
Life-study of Galatians (message 14)
Hearing of Faith Versus Works of Law
Gal. 3:5 He therefore who bountifully supplies to you the Spirit and does works of power among you, does He do it out of the works of law or out of the hearing of faith?
Faith was not to be found in the Old Testament; it came with Jesus Christ. When Christ came, grace came, and faith came also. Faith has come to replace law. Therefore, as believers in Christ, we are hearers, not workers. In the church meetings we gather together for the hearing of faith. Those who do not attend the meetings cut themselves off from opportunities for the hearing of faith. If we are cut off from the hearing, we are also cut off from the supply.
Do not stay away from the meetings because you think you will simply hear the same things over and over again. We need to eat breakfast every morning even though we may eat the same thing almost every day. If we refuse to eat because the food is the same, we shall not receive our necessary supply of food. In the same principle, we need to attend the church meetings in order to receive God’s supply. We can testify that it makes a great difference whether or not we come to the meetings for the hearing of faith. Time and time again, we may hear of Christ and the church, of Christ’s death and resurrection, and of how Christ has been processed to become the life-giving Spirit. But each time we hear these things, we receive the supply of the Spirit. Therefore, a proper Christian meeting is a hearing meeting, a meeting for the hearing of faith.
Those who speak in the church meetings should also be hearers, for they also hear the very things they are speaking. Those of us who speak in the church can testify that the more we speak, the more we hear. A proper speaker speaks first to himself and then to others. If you do not speak to yourself first, your speaking is not genuine. If we are genuine speakers, we should be the first to enjoy our speaking.
Meeting by meeting we come together for the hearing of faith. This faith is the appreciation, receiving, and accepting of God’s grace. Through faith we are joined to God’s grace, we partake of God’s grace, and we enjoy God’s grace. As we have pointed out again and again, this grace is the Triune God processed to become our enjoyment and everything to us.
How wrong the Galatian believers were to turn back to the law! God does not want us to be workers of law; He wants us to be hearers of His grace. As we hear His grace, grace spontaneously becomes our faith. Before faith came, God used the law to keep us, hold us, and retain us. But now that faith has come, we no longer need the law. With the law there is no enjoyment, no grace. But with faith there is an abundance of enjoyment, for faith is related to grace. Today we experience the hearing of faith. By this hearing of faith we continually receive the supply of the all-inclusive Spirit.