HWMR – MEETING GOD’S NEED AND PRESENT NEEDS IN THE LORD’S RECOVERY (Week 4)
Prayer to Absorb God and to Express God by Praying to God as a Friend So That we Can Co-work with God
Psa. 27:4 One thing I have asked from Jehovah; / That do I seek: / To dwell in the house of Jehovah / All the days of my life, / To behold the beauty of Jehovah, / And to inquire in His temple.
The more we contact God, the more we will absorb Him, and the more we absorb Him, the more we will enjoy God and salvation. Let me say a word here to clear up our inaccurate concepts concerning God and His salvation. Psalm 27:1 says, “Jehovah is my light and my salvation.” This verse does not say that God shines on us but that He is our light, nor does it say that God saves us but that He is our salvation….By shining on us and saving us, God is accomplishing something for us. But by being our light and our salvation, God Himself is what we need. When we have God, we have light and salvation. Without God we have neither light nor salvation. (CWWL, 1956, vol. 3, “The Meaning and Purpose of Prayer,” p.223)
God is Spirit; hence, our contacting and absorbing Him do not depend on our words….We may not say anything when we come to God, but our whole being, including our heart, should face God. While we look to God, we may sigh and confess that we are incompetent, weak, unable to rise, unpresentable, and thirsty and that we lack words for the gospel and are not inclined to fellowship with the saints. We should lay our inner condition before God and even tell Him that we are short in every matter. No matter what our inner condition is, we should bring it to God. There is a hymn that says, “Just as I am” (Hymns, #1048). This means that we should come to God just as we are without trying to improve or change our condition.
Many believers have the natural concept that before they can pray and draw near to God, they must wait until their condition improves or until their inner feeling is strong. This concept is not according to the meaning of prayer. To pray is to come to God just as we are….We do not need to wait for anything, change anything, or prepare anything. Even if we are weak, confused, sad, and speechless, we can still come to God.
When we pray, we should behold His glorious face and linger in His presence to worship, praise, give thanks to Him, and muse upon Him. We should think of His works and His person and not look at our condition or our environment. By looking to God, waiting on Him, and musing upon Him, we can absorb Him into us. (CWWL, 1956, vol. 3, “The Meaning and Purpose of Prayer,” pp. 223-225, 227)
Life-study of Galatians (Message 5)
The Formation of Paul’s Apostleship
Gal. 1:15 But when it pleased God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace,
In 1:15 Paul also says that God called him through His grace. Paul was called to be an apostle through the grace of Christ, not through the law that came by Moses. This calling took place at the time of his conversion. We also can testify that we have been called by God. Actually, God’s calling of us began with His setting us apart from our mother’s womb. If we spend time to review our past, we shall see that God’s calling of us began with our conception in the womb. God arranged the time and place of our birth. Then He called us. How grateful I am to the Lord that He caused me to be conceived in the womb of one who was in Christianity, although she was not saved at that time. In this way God caused me to be born into Christianity, beginning His calling of me by setting me apart from my mother’s womb. Then one day, in 1925, God’s calling was accomplished in a full way when I believed in the Lord Jesus. None of us should have any doubt about being called by God. Rather, let us worship Him and thank Him for His calling. Everything related to us, such as our family and education, is according to God’s sovereignty and related to His calling of us.
In 1:15 and 16 Paul says that God was pleased to reveal His Son in him. The Son of God was unveiled to Paul and shown to him. This means that he received a vision of the living Person of the Son of God. Since Paul is a pattern of the believers and the Son of God was revealed in him, we also should have Christ revealed in us. When the Son of God is revealed in us, something divine is added to us. Selection and calling do not cause anything to be added into us. But the revelation of the Son of God in us causes divinity to be added to our humanity. God Himself is added into our being to become our life. He who has the Son has life (1 John 5:12). Hence, to have the Son of God revealed in us means to have God added to us to become our life.
After the Son of God was revealed in Paul, he “did not confer with flesh and blood.” This means that he did not confer with man, who is made up of flesh and blood. This confirms the fact that Paul did not receive the gospel from man (1:12).
After we believed in the Lord Jesus, many of us immediately conferred with others. If we recall our experience, we shall realize that much of this was of no avail. As soon as I was saved, I turned to various people for help. However, I was only frustrated by them and cooled down. Some of you may have spoken to certain preachers or ministers, only to find that you were discouraged by your contact with them.
When young believers contacted me thirty years ago, I had a great deal to say. But it is much different today. Now when others contact me, I simply tell them to pray and to seek the Lord, to bring everything to Him for His leading. I do not want to be the flesh and blood with which others confer. We should neither confer with flesh and blood, nor should we be the flesh and blood with whom others confer. Let us leave others and their situation to the Lord.
Some of the leading ones may be concerned that such a word will cause the saints not to seek the proper fellowship. Furthermore, they may think that this will ruin the leadership. But would it not be wonderful for all the saints to be trained not to confer with flesh and blood? How good it would be if we all brought ourselves with our needs and problems directly to the Lord! If we would be today’s apostles, we should follow Paul’s pattern in not going up to Jerusalem to confer with others.
Life-study of Galatians (message 6)
Paul’s Faithfulness and Peter’s Unfaithfulness to the Truth of the Gospel
Gal. 1:16 To reveal His Son in me that I might announce Him as the gospel among the Gentiles, immediately I did not confer with flesh and blood,
In Galatians we see that Paul was faithful, honest, frank, and bold. At the same time, he also displayed a spirit of meekness. He refers to such a spirit in 6:1, where he says that those who are spiritual should restore the one overtaken in an offense in a spirit of meekness. In writing this Epistle, Paul was endeavoring to restore the Galatian believers who had been overtaken by their weakness. No doubt, in their subtlety the Judaizers had taken advantage of the weakness of the Galatian believers. Therefore, Paul exercised a spirit of meekness in order to restore the ones who had been overtaken. On the one hand, he was bold; on the other hand, he was meek in spirit. Regarding this, we all need to learn of Paul.
Throughout the years, both in the Far East and in the West, I have learned that much that passes for meekness is actually the playing of politics. Paul certainly was not meek in this way. For example, in 2:4 he speaks of “false brothers, brought in secretly, who stole in to spy out our freedom.” In making such a statement, Paul surely was not political. In his choice of terms he was bold and frank.
Those who take the lead in the churches must learn to be honest, faithful, frank, and bold, yet all of this with meekness. We should never play politics. However, if we are short of grace and lack the wisdom to handle a particular situation, we may need to be silent. But we must never be political.
In dealing with the problem in Galatia, Paul faced a situation which was serious and very touchy. In 4:20 he said that he was perplexed about the Galatians. He was puzzled, not knowing how to deal with these distracted believers. But even though Paul was puzzled, he did not play politics. On the contrary, he was still frank, honest, and bold.
Playing politics is a form of lying. In the eyes of God, politics is more evil than an outright lie. This is the reason that the international political situation is so evil, so deplorable, in God’s sight. Many diplomats and ambassadors are experts at lying in a subtle way. Some have even been trained to behave in such a manner. The church is altogether another realm, another kingdom. In this realm, the realm of the kingdom of the heavens, there should not be any lying; neither should there be any playing of politics. In John 8:44 the Lord Jesus said that the Devil, Satan, is the father of lies. Since playing politics is even worse than lying, it must also issue from the devilish father of lies. Because the playing of politics is so evil and devilish, negotiations can never bring peace among the nations. How can there be peace among nations when the representatives of those nations lie and play politics? In the church, the earthly embassy of the heavenly kingdom, there should be no playing of politics.
Paul, a good example of a heavenly ambassador, was not political in dealing with the Galatians. He spoke the truth in a frank way. You may feel that Paul was extreme in his frankness. Who else would use such a term as “false brothers”? Would you dare to call someone a false brother? Would you write a letter in which you speak of false brothers who have stolen in to spy out our freedom? Probably none of us would dare to be as frank as Paul was. Furthermore, in 3:1 he addressed the believers as “foolish Galatians.” How bold, honest, and genuine Paul was! The Galatian believers certainly were foolish to turn from Christ to the law. They surely were foolish in following the Judaizers. Therefore, Paul addressed them in a bold and frank manner. Let us learn from him to be faithful and bold and not to play politics. If we lack grace or the wisdom, we may be quiet. But if we speak regarding a particular situation, we should not be political.