HWMR – Crystallization-study of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth (Week 7)
God’s Raising Up of Deborah as Judge of Israel and as a Mother in Israel Who Practiced the Female Submission to the Man in Order to Keep God’s Ordination and Bring All of Israel into a Proper Order under God’s Kingship and Headship
Key Point – The first and greatest function of the sisters in the church is to be submissive; if the sisters can learn this lesson, the church will be strong, enriched, and renewed.
1 Pet. 3:5 For in this manner formerly the holy women also, who hoped in God, adorned themselves, being subject to their own husbands,
The first function of the sisters is to be submissive. This does not involve the doing of any kind of work, but it is a real function. Being submissive is much greater than any kind of doing. If the sisters are submissive, they are doing the greatest thing in the world. This is the greatest function on the side of the sisters.
First Corinthians 11:3 says, “Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of the woman, and God is the head of Christ.” In this verse we can see the divine order. However, in the entire world today, in every country, in all the schools, and in all the homes, what we see is not order and submission but rebellion upon rebellion. The entire world is rebellious toward God. The world is like a stormy ocean full of the winds of rebellion. In the church the situation should not be like this. The church is God’s chosen vessel to bear a testimony to the universe that is absolutely different from the world. The church is sanctified, separated from the course of the world and from the current of the age. As the church we are not in the flow of the world but in the flow of the New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1). In the local churches as the local expressions of the Body of Christ, there should be genuine submission.
To be submissive requires the supply of life, the enjoyment of grace, the working of the cross, and the denial of the self. We should never try to be submissive by our self. We should consecrate ourselves to the Lord not to do a work for the Lord but simply to be submissive. If the sisters take care of this one matter of being submissive, the church will be strengthened, enriched, and renewed. If the sisters in a local church are submissive, the church will be strong, living, rich, and prevailing. It is much more prevailing for the sisters to be submissive than for them to do any kind of work. This is the first lesson the sisters need to learn. This does not mean that there is no need for the sisters to fellowship with the church, but the sisters must know that their position and standing are to be submissive. (CWWL, 1968, vol. 1, pp. 83-85)
Life-study of Colossians (Message 47)
Rooted and Built Up in Christ with the Processed God
Col. 2:7 Having been rooted and being built up in Him, and being established in the faith even as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
Paul’s use of the words “being built up” in 2:7 do not refer in a direct way to the building up of the Body of Christ. Rather, this expression denotes an increase in our spiritual stature, which can be compared to a person’s increase in stature as he grows physically. The only way a child can grow physically is by assimilating nourishing food. In the same way, we grow spiritually by assimilating the rich nourishment of Christ. This is what it means to be built up in Christ, as mentioned in 2:7. First Paul tells us that we have been rooted in Christ. Then he goes on to say that we are being built up in Christ. No tree can grow up without first being rooted. The growing up of the tree is also the building up of the tree.
If we are lacking in spiritual stature, it is of no avail to speak of the building up of the Body. In Ephesians 4:13 Paul says, “Until we all arrive at the oneness of the faith and of the full knowledge of the Son of God, at a full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” The Body of Christ has a stature, and this stature has a full measure. We all need to grow until we arrive at the full measure of the stature of the Body of Christ. For us to be built up does not first mean that we are built up as the church, the Body. It means that we are built up in the Lord and experience an increase of stature. Hence, in Colossians 2:7 to be built up actually means to grow up. First we are rooted into Christ as the all-inclusive Spirit, and then we grow up in Him. We build ourselves up by growing up. Our being built up depends on our assimilating into our being the riches of Christ as the soil. Having assimilated these riches into us, we shall grow and be built up. When we are fully grown, we shall be built up. Therefore, to be built up simply means to grow up. In order to grow, we need nourishment. Our growth depends on how much nourishment we assimilate into us by being rooted in Christ. Because we are rooted in Him, we absorb into us the riches of the all-inclusive Spirit. Then we grow with the nourishment we derive from these riches.
According to 2:19, by holding the Head we grow with the growth of God. Out from the Head, the Body grows with the growth of God. God here is the processed Triune God, as in Matthew 28:19. Out from the processed Triune God as our source, the Body grows by absorbing the riches from the Head. The Body does not grow with biblical knowledge, but grows with the growth of God. In Himself, God is infinite, perfect, and complete. Therefore, in Himself God cannot grow. But in us God can grow and He needs to grow. We grow by the growth of God in us. Because we have so little of the Triune God within us, we need the addition of God for our spiritual growth. We grow with what we absorb from the Head.
The vital and crucial point is that we grow by absorbing the riches of Christ. In order to absorb His riches, we must be rooted into Him as the all-inclusive Spirit. Remember that this Spirit dwells in our spirit. The soil is not our mind, emotion, or will; it is the all-inclusive, processed Triune God dwelling in our spirit. The source of the riches we need for our growth is the processed Triune God in our spirit. Just as we go to a faucet to get water, so we must turn to our spirit to get the riches of the Triune God.
In order to become more deeply rooted into the processed Triune God, we need to exercise our spirit, not our mind, emotion, or will. However, our environment does not favor the exercise of the spirit. On the contrary, everything in our environment works to keep us away from the spirit. For example, throughout most of the Lord’s Day, a brother’s wife may be very pleasant to him. But just before the Lord’s table meeting, she may speak an unkind word to him. In his reaction to her unkindness, he is immediately drawn away from the spirit. In the midst of such a situation, the brother needs to exercise his spirit and call on the name of the Lord Jesus. By this exercise of the spirit, he will become more deeply rooted into Christ as the soil and automatically absorb more of the riches of the all-inclusive Spirit. This will produce more growth.
We need to continually exercise our spirit. This is the reason that toward the end of the book of Colossians, Paul charges us to persevere in prayer (4:2). However, if, instead of exercising our spirit, we exercise our mind, emotion, and will, Satan will keep us from enjoying the all-inclusive Spirit in our spirit. Satan, the subtle, evil one, uses the environment to keep us out of the spirit. Thus, we need to exercise our spirit continually by calling on the name of the Lord in order to become more deeply rooted into the all-inclusive Spirit. Then we shall absorb the riches of Christ, grow in Christ, and spontaneously be built up in Christ. As a result, we shall walk in Him. If we understand this, we shall know what it means to walk in Christ by absorbing His riches and by being built up with what we have absorbed. This is the practical experience of Christ we all need.
Life-study of Colossians (Message 48)
The Receiving of Christ
Col. 2:6 As therefore you have received the Christ, Jesus the Lord, walk in Him,
We thank the Lord that we all have received Christ initially. As we have indicated, this receiving is also continual; it is much more than once for all. Just as we breathe continually, we need to receive Christ continually, even for eternity.
In a previous message we pointed out that one condition for walking in Christ is to be rooted in Him. Being rooted in Christ is equal to receiving Christ. A large tree absorbs moisture through tiny root hairs. Absorption depends on being rooted; it depends on receiving. Do not try to receive too much of Christ at one time. What we need is a continual receiving. In principle, it is correct to say that the more we receive of Christ, the better it is. But in practice we should not try to receive too much at once. We eat our food a little at a time. In like manner, we receive Christ also a little at a time.
We have seen that the Christ we receive is the mystery of God and history of God. Probably, in our initial stage of receiving Christ we did not have this realization concerning Christ. But as we go on with the Lord, we realize that Christ is all we need. Since He is everything to us, we should continue to receive Him without ceasing.
Now we come to the extremely important matter of how to receive Christ. Receiving Christ requires the exercise of our spirit. In order for a transistor radio to receive radio waves, the receiver must be working properly. Likewise, although it is good to improve our behavior, the important thing is that we tune, or adjust, our spirit. Our spirit must be clean, open, and properly adjusted.
The unique way to exercise our spirit is to pray. As we exercise our spirit in prayer, our aim should be to contact the Lord, not first to pray for certain people or things. Simply contact the Lord and allow Him to burden you to pray for certain ones. Do not go to the Lord with your mind filled with things to pray for. If you try to contact the Lord in this way, you will close your spirit. We should come to the Lord with a spirit fully open, worshipping Him, praising Him, and thanking Him. Then we shall know what to pray for, and we shall have much to utter to the Lord in prayer.
As we receive such a heavenly transmission from the Lord, we not only receive the riches of Christ, but we also experience His fullness. This means we are filled to the brim. The fullness is related to the riches. However, we may have the riches without the fullness. Whether or not the riches of Christ become the fullness to us depends on whether or not we are filled with these riches to the limit of our capacity. If the riches exceed the demand, the riches are the fullness. But if they are less than the demand, they obviously are not the fullness. The riches of Christ, being universally extensive, are never less than the demand. Whatever may be our capacity to receive, the riches of Christ will exceed our capacity. The riches are always able to fill us to overflowing. A certain man may be very rich, even a billionaire. But if his wealth is only sufficient to give one dollar to every person on earth, his riches cannot be regarded as fullness. He does not have sufficient riches to make everyone abundantly wealthy. The riches of Christ, however, are universally extensive. They are sufficient to fill everyone to his capacity.
John 1:14 says that the Word became flesh, full of grace and reality. According to John 1:16, we all have received of His fullness grace upon grace. According to John 1, the One whom we have received is the eternal Word, the Word who was with God and who was God, the Word through whom everything came into being. In this Word is life. One day, this Word became flesh and tabernacled among us, full of grace. This is part of God’s history, an aspect of His mystery. The mystery of God is Christ, who is full of grace. No demand can exhaust His fullness; no capacity to receive of Him can exhaust His supply. Christ’s fullness can never be diminished by our need or by our capacity. The Christ we have received is a Christ of fullness. Therefore, we need to keep on receiving Him by exercising our spirit to have direct contact with Him. As we pray from our open, adjusted spirit, we shall receive the unlimited source as our supply. Then we shall have the fullness, and in this fullness we shall be rooted and built up. Then we shall walk in Him.