Weekly Ministry (Mar 20 – Mar 26, 2022)


Living with the Divine Trinity (1) – Living with Christ as Emmanuel and Having the Resurrected Christ Living in Us

Mt 1:23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel” (which is translated, God with us).

When we experience Jesus, He is Emmanuel, God with us….If we would experience [Jesus], we would immediately say, “This is God! This is not God far away from me, or God in the heavens, but God with me.”…Jesus is our salvation. After we experience this salvation, we say, “This is God with us to be our salvation.” Jesus is our patience. But when we experience Him as our patience, we say, “This patience is God with me.” Jesus is the way and the truth, but when we experience Him as the way and the truth, we say, “This way and this truth are just God with me.”

Whenever we are gathered together into the name of Jesus, He is with us (Matt. 18:20)….This is Emmanuel, God with us. The presence of Jesus in our meetings is actually God with us.

Jesus is with us all the days, even “until the consummation of the age” (28:20). “All the days” includes today. Do not forget about today. Many Christians think that Jesus is present all the days, except today. But Jesus is with us now, today! Jesus is not only among us; He is in our spirit. Second Timothy 4:22 says, “The Lord be with your spirit.” This Jesus who is with our spirit is Emmanuel, God with us.

According to Isaiah 8:7-8, the enemy may try to take over the land of Immanuel. Do not think this word is only for the children of Israel. Today our spirit is the land of Immanuel. Thus, we ourselves are the land of Immanuel. The enemy, Satan, with all his army will do everything he can to take over this land of Immanuel, that is, to take over our spirit and our being.

Isaiah 8:10 tells us that because God is with us, the enemy can never take over the land of Immanuel….Perhaps during the past week Satan tried twenty-one times to take you over, but he failed every time. You are still here because of Emmanuel, because of God with us. (Life-study of Matthew, pp. 75-77)

Life-study of Galatians (Message 21)

Baptized Into Christ, Putting on Christ, and All One in Christ

Ga 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

We have seen that at the end of Galatians 3 Paul tells us that we have all been baptized into Christ. This is the main factor in our being the sons of God and the sons of Abraham. It is also the factor by which we are included in the seed of Abraham, and in addition the factor which brings us into the enjoyment of the blessing of God’s promise through faith. Because we have been baptized into Christ, we now enjoy an organic union with Him.

Concerning baptism, the New Testament reveals that we have been baptized into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19), into Christ (Gal. 3:27), into the death of Christ (Rom. 6:3), and into the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). We need to exercise our entire being in order to have a proper understanding of such a wonderful baptism. Regrettably, many Christians today do not have an adequate view of baptism. Some Christians argue about the method of baptism or about the kind of water used. Some reduce baptism to a dead ritual. Other Christians go to another extreme and associate baptism with speaking in tongues. Rarely among today’s Christians do we see baptism practiced in a proper, genuine, and living way, with the believers baptized into the name of the Triune God, into Christ, into the death of Christ, and into the Body of Christ. Such a baptism, a baptism into the divine name, a living Person, an effective death, and a living organism, puts the believers into a position where they can experience an organic union with Christ.

Commenting on Matthew 28:19 in his Word Studies in the New Testament, M. R. Vincent says, “Baptizing into the name of the Holy Trinity implies a spiritual and mystical union with him.” The Greek preposition rendered “into” is crucial, for it points to this spiritual, mystical union. Moreover, Vincent says that the word “name” here “is the expression of the sum total of the divine Being….It is equivalent to his person.” Therefore, to baptize believers into the name of the Triune God means to baptize them into the very being, the Person, of the Triune God. The name denotes the Person, and the Person is the all-inclusive, processed Triune God as the life-giving Spirit. When we baptize people into the name of the Triune God, we baptize them into such a divine Person. To baptize anyone into the name of the Trinity is to immerse that one into all the Triune God is.

According to the Gospel of Matthew, baptism brings repentant people out of their old state into a new one, by terminating their old life and germinating them with the new life of Christ that they may become the kingdom people. John the Baptist’s recommending ministry began with a preliminary baptism by water only. Now, after the heavenly King accomplished His ministry on earth, passed through the process of death and resurrection, and became the life-giving Spirit, He charged His disciples to baptize the ones they discipled into the Triune God. This baptism has two aspects: the visible aspect by water, and the invisible aspect by the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38, 41; 10:44-48). The visible aspect is the expression, the testimony, of the invisible aspect; whereas the invisible aspect is the reality of the visible aspect. Without the invisible aspect by the Spirit, the visible aspect by water is vain; and without the visible aspect by water, the invisible aspect by the Spirit is abstract and impractical. Both are needed. Not long after the Lord charged the disciples with this baptism, He baptized them and the entire church in the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13) on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:5; 2:4) and in the house of Cornelius (Acts 11:15-17). Then, based upon this, the disciples baptized the new converts (Acts 2:38), not only visibly into water, but also invisibly into the death of Christ (Rom. 6:3-4), into Christ Himself (Gal. 3:27), into the Triune God (Matt. 28:19), and into the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). The water, signifying the death of Christ with His burial, may be considered a tomb to terminate the old history of the one being baptized. Since the death of Christ is included in Christ, and since Christ is the very embodiment of the Triune God, and the Triune God is eventually one with the Body of Christ, so to baptize new believers into the death of Christ, into Christ Himself, into the Triune God, and into the Body of Christ is to terminate their old life, on the negative side, and, on the positive side, to germinate them with new life, the eternal life of the Triune God, for the Body of Christ. Hence, the baptism ordained by the Lord in Matthew 28:19 is one that baptizes people out of their life into the Body life for the kingdom of the heavens.

Life-study of Galatians (message 22)

The Spirit of Sonship Replacing the Custody of the Law

Ga 4:5 That He might redeem those under law that we might receive the sonship.

In verses 4 and 5 Paul goes on to say, “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, come of a woman, come under law, that He might redeem those under law, that we might receive the sonship.” The fullness of time in verse 4 denotes the completion of the Old Testament time, which occurred at the time appointed of the Father (v. 2). In this verse Paul describes the Son as “come of a woman, come under law.” The woman is, of course, the virgin Mary (Luke 1:27-35). The Son of God came of her to be the seed of woman, as promised in Genesis 3:15. Furthermore, Christ was born under law, as revealed in Luke 2:21-24, 27, and He kept the law, as the four Gospels reveal.

God’s chosen people were shut up by law under its custody (3:23). Christ was born under law in order to redeem them from its custody that they might receive the sonship and become the sons of God. Hence, they should not return to the custody of law to be under its slavery as the Galatians had been seduced to do, but should remain in the sonship of God to enjoy the life supply of the Spirit in Christ. According to the entire revelation of the New Testament, God’s economy is to produce sons. Sonship is the focal point of God’s economy, God’s dispensation. God’s economy is the dispensation of Himself into His chosen people to make them His sons. Christ’s redemption is to bring us into the sonship of God that we may enjoy the divine life. It is not God’s economy to make us keepers of law, obeying the commandments and ordinances of the law, which was given only for a temporary purpose. God’s economy is to make us sons of God, inheriting the blessing of God’s promise, which was given for His eternal purpose. His eternal purpose is to have many sons for His corporate expression (Heb. 2:10; Rom. 8:29). Hence, He predestinated us unto sonship (Eph. 1:5) and regenerated us to be His sons (John 1:12-13). We should remain in His sonship that we may become His heirs to inherit all He has planned for His eternal expression, and should not be distracted to Judaism by the appreciation of law.

It is difficult to give an adequate definition of sonship. Sonship involves life, maturity, position, and privilege. To be a son of the Father, we need to have the Father’s life. However, we must go on to mature in this life. Life and maturity give us the right, the privilege, the position, to inherit the things of the Father. According to the New Testament, sonship includes life, maturity, position, and right.

In 4:6 Paul declares, “And because you are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father!” God’s Son is the embodiment of the divine life (1 John 5:12). Hence, the Spirit of God’s Son is the Spirit of life (Rom. 8:2). God gives us His Spirit of life, not because we are law-keepers, but because we are His sons. As law-keepers, we have no right to enjoy God’s Spirit of life. As the sons of God, we have the position with the full right to participate in the Spirit of God, who has the bountiful supply of life. Such a Spirit, the Spirit of the Son of God, is the focus of the blessing of God’s promise to Abraham (3:14).

In verses 4 through 6 the Triune God is producing many sons for the fulfillment of His eternal purpose. God the Father sent forth God the Son to redeem us from the law that we might receive sonship. He also sent forth God the Spirit to impart His life into us that we might become His sons in reality.

Basically sonship is a matter of life. The position and the right depend on the life. In order for us to enjoy God’s sonship, we need the Spirit. Apart from the Spirit, we cannot be born of God to have the divine life. Once we have been born of the Spirit, we need the Spirit in order to grow in life. Without the Spirit, we cannot have the position, right, or privilege of sonship. All the crucial points regarding sonship depend on the Spirit. By the Spirit, we have the divine birth and the divine life. Through the Spirit we grow unto maturity. Because of the Spirit we have the position, right, and privilege of sonship. Thus, without the Spirit sonship is vain, an empty term. But when the Spirit comes, the sonship is made real. We fully realize God’s sonship in life, maturity, position, and right. The Spirit of sonship cannot be replaced by anything. On the contrary, everything, the law in particular, must be replaced by the Spirit of sonship.