HWMR – KNOWING THE TRUTH, BEING ABSOLUTE FOR THE TRUTH, AND PROCLAIMING THE TRUTH IN THE PRESENT EVIL AGE (Week 1)
Knowing the Truth, Being Absolute for the Truth and for Upholding the Absoluteness of the Truth, and Testifying to the Truth in the Present Age of the World
2 Tim. 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, an unashamed workman, cutting straight the word of the truth.
Today the whole earth needs the truth of the Lord that is in His Word. Regrettably, however, the Bible, the divine Word, has not been fully opened to the world….At the most, Christians are able to boast that the holy Word of God has been published into many languages and propagated over the whole earth. Yet they are not able to say that after reading the Bible, regardless of which language, they have been able to truly understand the deep mysteries within it….The mysteries of the truths in the Bible are very deep and profound. We need the enlightening of the Spirit of God to understand them, and we also need to spend time to dig them out (cf. 1 Cor. 2:10-14). The Lord’s recovery is the recovery of all the truths in the Bible that were lost….The Lord’s recovery depends upon the recovery of the knowledge of the truth.
The New Testament says repeatedly that we should know the truth. Moreover, when referring to this matter, Paul repeatedly says that we should come to the full knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Tim. 2:25; 3:7; Titus 1:1). This means that we must know not just a small part or one aspect of the truth but rather the truth in its entirety and in all its aspects. Paul also said that the church is the pillar and base of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15). This implies that the truth in the Bible is like a large building that is not one-sided but complete on all sides with a foundation and a roof. If we are going to spread the Lord’s recovery today, we must know the truth and be able to expound the truth. For this reason we must know every side of the truth without any biases or particular leanings.
The truth not only has many sides but also includes many crucial items. For example, the Bible speaks about God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the believers, the church, the kingdom, and the New Jerusalem. The Bible begins with God, then continues with God’s creation, man’s fall, God’s redemption, and God’s entering into man to be man’s life for man to be regenerated, sanctified, renewed, transformed, conformed to His own image, and ultimately brought fully into glory. In the midst of all these matters, the Bible also shows us the believers and the corporate church. This corporate church brings in the kingdom, consummating in the ultimate expression, which is the New Jerusalem in the new heaven and new earth. All these aspects are included in the truths of the Bible.
We must diligently learn all these things, obtain the knowledge of them, and be able to speak them clearly to others. (CWWL, 1984, vol. 5, “Truth, Life, the Church, and the Gospel—the Four Great Pillars in the Lord’s Recovery,” pp. 393-394)
Life-study of Colossians (Message 59)
One Position, One Life, One Living, One Destiny, and One Glory with Christ
Col. 3:1If therefore you were raised together with Christ, seek the things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.
It is very easy for us to understand the matter of the Christian life in a natural way. We see a sister who is gentle, quiet, and kind, and we think that because she has such characteristics she is full of life. Seeing a brother who is an eloquent and powerful speaker, we may take his power and eloquence as signs of life. However, in both cases what we see may be the natural life, not the life that Christ has, the life hidden with Christ in God.
A certain sister may be nice, gentle, and kind; however, all this may be in the natural life, a life that has not been crucified. This is proved by the fact that when she is insulted or mistreated, she breaks down and cries. Her tears indicate that she is living in the natural life. Her life is not a crucified life.
When the Lord Jesus was on earth, He always lived a crucified life. Although He was severely criticized and insulted, He did not weep for Himself. Instead, He could say, “Father, I thank You that this is according to Your will.” His life was a crucified life.
If a person is truly one in life with Christ, his life will be a crucified life. The life we have received of the Lord Jesus is not a raw, unprocessed life; it is a crucified life, a life that has been processed and thoroughly dealt with. If we truly know this life, we shall not weep when we are insulted. Instead, we shall thank the Lord and even praise Him in a genuine way.
Sometimes when we are in the flesh and others insult us, we may say “Amen” or “Hallelujah!” However, our “Amen” and “Hallelujah!” is fleshly. If we are truly living a crucified life when others insult us, we shall not say anything. Those who are on the cross say neither “Amen” nor “Hallelujah!” They do not say anything at all. The life we should live today should be such a crucified life.
The one life we share with Christ is also a resurrected life. Nothing, including death, can suppress it. Furthermore, in resurrection there are no tears. Suppose a sister begins to cry when she is criticized for the way she cleaned a room in the meeting hall. Is this the resurrected life? Certainly not! In the resurrected life there is no place for weeping. But if this sister lives a resurrected life while she is cleaning in the meeting hall, she will not be troubled if someone criticizes her work. This is another difference between the resurrected life and the natural life.
If our natural life has not been dealt with, our service in the church will not last long. If we serve in the natural life, we shall be easily offended, and eventually we shall stop serving. But if our life in serving is a life that is crucified and resurrected, nothing will be able to defeat it.
Furthermore, the life Christ has is a life hidden in God. As we have pointed out, only the divine life can be hidden in God. I appreciate this word hidden (3:3). The life Christ has is not a showy life; it is a hidden life. If you serve by this life, you will not want to be seen by others. On the contrary, you will prefer to serve in secret. Our natural life is the very opposite of this, for it is fond of making a show. Today’s religion appeals to this element in the natural life. For example, it is a common practice in raising funds to give public credit to those who donate large amounts, whereas little or no mention is made of those who donate a small amount. Religion nourishes the natural life, but in the church the natural life is put to death.
Life-study of Colossians (Message 60)
Christ as All the Members and in All the Members in the New Man
Col. 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is being renewed unto full knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,
Col. 3:11 Where there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all and in all.
In the new man Christ is every member. Concerning this, Paul says in 3:11, “Where there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, freeman, but Christ is all and in all.” This means that in the new man there is no place, no room, for any natural person. There is no place for regional, cultural, or national distinctions. For example, in the new man there cannot be Chinese or Americans, Californians or Texans. Likewise, in the new man there is no room for Jew or Greek, for religious ones or nonreligious ones, for cultured ones or uncultured ones, for freemen or slaves. There is no room for any race, nationality, culture, or social status. In the one new man there is room only for Christ. Christ surely is all the members of the new man.
Perhaps you are wondering how Christ can be all in the new man. For this to be a reality, we must take Christ as our life and live Him, not ourselves. If Christ is the living of all the saints, then only He will be in the new man. Those from America will no longer live an American life, and those from Japan will no longer live a Japanese life. All the saints, whatever their nationality may be, will live Christ. Then in a way that is real and practical, Christ will be all the members of the new man. Christ will be you, and Christ will be me. Because we all live Christ, not ourselves, Christ will be all of us, every member of the new man.
In the local churches we are not concerned with helping others improve their natural life. We would rather help them to crucify their natural person and bury it so that they may live Christ. The death of our natural person will usher us into resurrection, where we can take Christ as life. I can testify that the more I experience crucifixion with Christ, the more I take Christ as my life in resurrection and live Him.
In 3:11 Paul says not only that Christ is all, but also that He is in all. In other words, on the one hand, Christ is all the members, and on the other hand, He is in all the members. Since Paul says that Christ is all, why is there the need for him to say that Christ is in all? If Paul did not say that Christ is in all, only that He is all, then we may think that in the new man Christ is needed and that we are not needed. We should not think that, because Christ is all the members in the new man, we are nothing and are not needed. On the one hand, the Bible does say that in the new man there is no place for the natural person because Christ is all the members. Yet, on the other hand, Paul says that Christ is in the members. The fact that Christ is in the members of the new man indicates that the members still exist.
When we take Christ as our life and live together with Him, seeking the things which are above, we have the sense deep within that we are one with Christ and that Christ is us. But simultaneously we have an even deeper sense that Christ is in us. Therefore, it is true to say that Christ is both in us and that He is us. We are part of the new man with Christ in us. We continue to exist, but we do not exist without Christ; we are those indwelt by Christ. Now we can rejoice and say to the Lord, “Lord Jesus, when I take You as my life and live together with You, You are me. I am altogether one with You. But, Lord, I am still here, for You are in me. I am here, but I am here with You.” According to our experience, we all can give such a testimony. When we live Christ and are one with Him, we say, “Lord Jesus, this is not me—it is You.” However, at the same time, we have the sense that we are with the Lord and that He is in us.