HWMR – Crystallization-study of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth (Week 12)
Taking the Way of Life in the Lord’s Recovery
Rom. 8:6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.
The proper understanding of death is that it denotes separation from the enjoyment of God. This means that if we do not have the enjoyment of God, we are in death. Likewise, if we are separated from the enjoyment of God, we shall die….In Romans 8:6 death is separation from the enjoyment of God. Life is the opposite, for it is the enjoyment of God. When we have the enjoyment of God, there is no separation between us and God, we are in life, and life operates in us.
In distracting the believers from the tree of life, Satan seeks to separate us from the enjoyment of God as our life. For centuries the subtle serpent has been using teachings to keep God’s chosen people from enjoying Him as their life. For the most part, these teachings are related to knowledge, good, and evil. But such teachings result in separation from God.
The best way to discern a matter is to discern according to life or death. We need to ask questions like this: Does this teaching help me to enjoy the Lord more and bring me into life, or does it cause the poison of death to be injected into me? You may find that if you accept a certain kind of teaching or preaching, taking it into you, immediately your inward enjoyment of the Lord is cut off. Some things function like insulation that stops the flowing of the divine electricity. Therefore, we must learn to discern, to differentiate, matters by life and death.
Thank the Lord for the secret of real discernment. This secret is to discern a preaching or teaching by whether or not it helps us to enjoy the Lord and gain more life supply. If anyone’s preaching cuts us off from the enjoyment of the Lord, that preaching must be of the serpent, of Satan….Many of those who have left the Lord’s recovery have neither the life supply nor the enjoyment. This is an indication that they have taken in something that is not of the Lord. The genuine ministry of the Lord always strengthens us in the enjoyment of Him as our life supply.
Anything that cuts you off from the enjoyment of the Lord is of the serpent. But anything that causes your enjoyment of the Lord to increase is of the Spirit and of the New Testament ministry. (Life-study of 2 Corinthians, pp. 468-470)
Life-study of Colossians (Message 57)
Having Died with Christ from the Elements of the World and Having Been Raised with Christ to Live with Him in God
Col. 2:20 If you died with Christ from the elements of the world, why, as living in the world, do you subject yourselves to ordinances:
The compound, life-giving Spirit is an all-inclusive drink containing many elements. By drinking the Spirit, we spontaneously take in all the elements included in the Spirit. The effectiveness of Christ’s death is one of the elements in this Spirit. This is what enables us to experience Christ’s crucifixion. As the Head, Christ today is the all-inclusive Spirit in our spirit. In order to hold Him as the Head, we must be in spirit.
In Colossians 2 Paul speaks of being rooted and of holding the Head, and in John 15 the Lord Jesus speaks of abiding in the vine. Abiding in the vine is equal to being rooted in the soil, and being rooted in the soil is equal to holding the Head. On the one hand, Christ is the vine in which we abide; on the other hand, He is the soil in which we are rooted. But He is also the Head. Christ is the vine, the soil, and the Head. We abide in Him as the vine, we are rooted in Him as the soil, and we hold Him as the Head. In every case the principle is the same: we absorb Christ’s riches into us. As branches, we absorb the life juice from the vine; as plants, we absorb the riches of the soil; as members of the Body of Christ, we absorb the nourishing element from the Head. By absorbing the riches of the Head, the Body grows with the growth of God (2:19). As we have indicated, the riches we absorb include crucifixion, being buried, and being raised up with Christ. When we hold Christ as the Head, we absorb all these elements into us.
In 2:20 Paul says, “If you died with Christ from the elements of the world, why as living in the world do you subject yourself to ordinances?” The Greek word rendered “if” may also be translated “since.” Since we have died with Christ, we should not live in subjection to ordinances. It is a fact that we have died with Christ. But although Christ died more than nineteen hundred years ago, our participation in this death takes place moment by moment in the present as we are enjoying Christ, holding Him as the Head. Our experience of Christ’s crucifixion is not once for all. On the contrary, it is a moment by moment matter. Perhaps last night you experienced Christ’s crucifixion. But today you are not happy with your husband or wife, so you purposely come down from the cross in order to argue and vindicate yourself. You have been provoked, and you can no longer bear to remain silent. Last night you were in the death of Christ, but now you are very much alive in yourself. In one of his hymns, A. B. Simpson says, “Oh! It is so sweet to die with Christ.” Last night this was sweet to you, but now you do not wish to remain in Christ’s death. This indicates that whenever we are not in the spirit, we are not in the experience of the death of Christ. But when we are in spirit, we are dead with Christ. Whenever we are not in the spirit, we are in ourselves, living according to our natural life. From our experience we know that when we hold Christ as the Head in spirit, we have the experience of being crucified with Him. At such a time, we can declare to all, even to the Devil, that we have died with Christ.
In 4:2 Paul says, “Persevere in prayer, watching in it with thanksgiving.” If we would stay in the spirit, we need to watch and pray, even to pray without ceasing (1 Thes. 5:17). Only by praying without ceasing can we stay in the spirit. Many years ago I did not appreciate the Lord’s word about watching and praying (Matt. 26:41). But in recent years I have come to see the importance of this word. We need to watch whether or not we are in the spirit and to pray that we may be preserved in the spirit. Are you tempted to exchange words with your husband or wife? Watch! Do you intend to go shopping for a certain item? Watch to see whether you are shopping in the spirit or in the flesh. We need to be on the alert that we may stay in the spirit.
We also need to pray, “Lord, grant me the preserving grace to remain in the spirit. Lord, keep me in spirit.” If we stay in the spirit, we shall experience the death of Christ in the all-inclusive, compound Spirit. There is no need for us to reckon or even to believe that we have been crucified with Christ. All we need to do is to abide in the spirit by watching and praying. In the spirit we experience the death of Christ and are released from all the elements of the world.
Life-study of Colossians (Message 58)
Seek the Things Above and Set Your Mind on Them
Col. 3:1 If therefore you were raised together with Christ, seek the things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.
Col. 3:2 Set your mind on the things which are above, not on the things which are on the earth.
At this point we may ask how we can enjoy Christ and have Him constituted into us when He is in heaven and we are on earth. The answer lies in the fact that there is a transmission taking place from Christ in heaven to us on earth by means of the all-inclusive Spirit. By means of this transmission, the electricity from the heavenly power plant flows into us, just as electricity flows from the power plant into our homes and into the meeting hall. Hallelujah for the transmission from the third heaven into us! “There’s a Man in the glory Whose Life is for me” (Hymns,#505). Christ is the Man in the glory, but His life is for us. We all need a vision of the heavenly transmission from the glorified Christ into us. Furthermore, we need to stay open to this transmission so that it will not be cut off. Even a small amount of insulation will cause this transmission to cease. Between Christ as the fullness of God and the one new man, there is our experience of the heavenly transmission. May there be no insulation to hinder this divine transmission.
John’s writing is like Paul’s in this matter. John 1:16 says, “For of His fullness we all received, and grace upon grace.” The fullness of Christ is the very fullness of God. Of this fullness we have all received grace upon grace. Ultimately, the issue of our receiving of Christ’s fullness will be the New Jerusalem. The New Jerusalem revealed through John’s ministry will be the ultimate consummation of the new man revealed through Paul’s ministry. On the one hand, Paul begins with the fullness and goes to the new man; on the other hand, John goes from the fullness to the New Jerusalem.
In Hebrews, Ephesians, and Revelation there are windows through which we can see the things above. The first aspect of the things above is found in Hebrews 2:9. According to this verse, we see Jesus crowned with glory and honor. On earth, He was crowned with thorns. But on the throne in heaven, He is crowned with glory and honor. As the One crowned with glory and honor, Christ is far more precious than Judaism or Greek philosophy. To set our mind on such things is to set it on “the things which are on the earth” (Col. 3:2). Judaism and Greek philosophy are things on the earth. Let us look away from these things and look to the resurrected and ascended Jesus who is enthroned and crowned with glory and honor. Since we have been raised with Christ, we should seek the things above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God (3:1). Let us forget our natural virtues and look at the Lord Jesus. Instead of appreciating our natural attributes and character, we need to appreciate the One crowned with glory and honor. According to Paul, our attention must be concentrated on the Lord Jesus. We should not be attracted by anything else.
In Acts 2:36 we find another aspect of the things above. Here Peter declares, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Jesus, the carpenter from Nazareth, has been exalted by God to be the Lord over all and the Christ. How marvelous! If the believers in Colosse truly had realized this, they would not have been distracted by Judaism or Greek philosophy. Today Jesus is God’s Christ, God’s anointed One, the Lord of all.
In Ephesians 1:20-23 Paul says that God raised Christ from among the dead; seated Him at His right hand in the heavenlies, far above all rule, authority, power, lordship, and every name; has subjected all things under His feet; and gave Him to be the Head over all things to the church, His Body. The power exercised by God in raising Christ from among the dead has made Him Head over all to the church. Christ has been crowned with glory and honor, He is the Lord of all and the Christ of God, and He is the Head over all things to His Body, the church. To be sure, the vision of such a Christ should cause us to forget our natural virtues and characteristics, all of which are things on the earth, not things which are above.