HWMR – Crystallization-study of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth (Week 8)
The Intrinsic Significance of Gideon as God’s Valiant Warrior
Key Point – God gave Gideon three hundred men and made them one body, signified by a “round loaf of barley bread” tumbling through the camp of the Midianites for their defeat and God’s victory
1 Cor. 10:17 Seeing that there is one bread, we who are many are one Body; for we all partake of the one bread.
God gave Gideon three hundred men and made them one body. Individual victory is not proper. Gideon and those three hundred men moved together and acted in one accord. All of their flesh was cut off, so they could be one. This is the oneness in the Spirit and a living in the Body. (CWWN, vol. 11, p. 774)
A barley loaf…is a loaf of the resurrected Christ who can never be limited….You say that you cannot meet the situation. This is right. You surely cannot. But there is One who can—the One who is the barley. A barley loaf is within you; a little bit of the resurrected Christ is in you—that is good enough. (CWWL, 1961-1962, vol. 4, “The All-inclusive Christ,” p. 236)
Paul’s thought of the church being one bread [1 Cor. 10:17] was not his own invention; rather, it was taken from the Old Testament. The meal offering in Leviticus 2:4 consisted of cakes made of fine flour mingled with oil. Every part of the flour was mixed, or mingled, with the oil. That is blending. Paul tells us that the church is a bread, a cake, made of fine flour….John 12:24 says that Christ is the one grain of wheat who fell into the earth and died and grew up in resurrection to produce many grains, which are we, His believers. We are the many grains so that we may be ground into fine flour for making the cake, the bread, of the church. Here we can see the thought of blending in the Bible.[First Corinthians 12:24] says clearly that God has blended all the believers together. But where is the blending in the recovery? We may think that the coordination in the church is the reality of the blending. However, I must tell you that even the coordination in the church is not the reality of the Body of Christ.
To be in the reality of the Body of Christ, we need to be absolutely in the resurrection life of Christ. We do have some good coordination in the local churches. However, I would ask, “Is this kind of coordination carried out by the natural life or in resurrection?” To be in resurrection means that our natural life is crucified, and then the God-created part of our being is uplifted in resurrection to be one with Christ in resurrection. It is common today that in the local churches what we can see is mostly the “church” in its meetings, activities, works, and services. But we cannot see much of the reality of the Body of Christ in resurrection, that is, in the Spirit, in the pneumatic Christ, and in the consummated God. (CWWL, 1994-1997, vol. 1, “The Practical Points concerning Blending,” pp. 112-113)
Life-study of Colossians (Message 49)
Full Grown in Christ
Col. 1:27 To whom God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory,
We have pointed out that we should neither hate our natural being nor treasure it. To hate our being is to practice asceticism, a form of suicide. Instead of trying to hate the natural being, we should follow the Lord’s word to deny ourselves. To deny the self is to ignore the self, to forget it, to pay no attention to it. Suppose as you are walking down the sidewalk, someone stops you and begs you for money. Again and again, he pleads with you to give him money. You should neither hate this person nor love him. Rather you should pay no attention to his request. Eventually, realizing that he can get nothing from you, he will go away. This illustrates the attitude we should have toward the self. The self is greedy, always begging for things. Instead of either hating the self or loving it, we should simply refuse to pay attention to it.
However, if we would keep from paying attention to the self, we must concentrate on something better than the self. This is the reason we need a vision of the extensiveness of Christ, the vision presented in the book of Colossians. If we see this vision, we shall concentrate our entire being on the extensive Christ, who will then fill us and occupy us. Because we are filled with the extensive Christ, we shall have no need of Judaism, Gnosticism, mysticism, or asceticism. Our being will be occupied with the vast, unsearchably rich, extensive Christ. Spontaneously this Christ will come in to replace every aspect of our natural human life with Himself.
The book of Colossians presents a vision of the wonderful, extensive, all-inclusive Christ. Once we see this vision, our entire being will be attracted by this Christ and will be possessed by Christ and occupied with Him. Then gradually the extensive Christ who occupies our attention will replace every element of our natural human life. He will even replace with Himself our kindness, our humility, and our love for our parents. At best, our natural virtues can be compared to polished copper, but Christ is gold. He far surpasses in value anything we possess by nature. The more we experience the Christ who exceeds everything and replaces everything in our natural life with Himself, the more we shall be able to declare, “To me to live is Christ.” We shall not live humility, kindness, or patience. To us to live will be the Christ who has taken full possession of us and who occupies us and fills us with Himself. That such a Christ should replace all the elements of our natural human life is the message of the book of Colossians. If we understand this underlying concept, Colossians will be an open book to us.
If we have the full assurance of understanding concerning the extensive Christ replacing every aspect of our natural life, we shall realize what it means to become full grown in Christ. In 1:25 Paul says that he became a minister according to the stewardship of God. The goal of Paul’s stewardship was to dispense the extensive Christ into God’s chosen people. This extensive Christ is a mystery, especially to the Gentiles. In 1:27 Paul says, “God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the nations, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” This mystery is full of glory, and this glory has riches. The glorious mystery full of riches is Christ in us.
Life-study of Colossians (Message 50)
Christ Replaced in Every Way
Col. 2:2 That their hearts may be comforted, they being knit together in love and unto all the riches of the full assurance of understanding, unto the full knowledge of the mystery of God, Christ,
Recently in a meeting a brother stood up to declare that he intended to drop his culture. Later I pointed out that the attempt to drop our culture will only produce another type of culture—a culture-dropping culture. There is no need for us to drop our culture. What we need to see is that culture is a replacement for Christ and that we should live Christ. The more we live Christ, the more our culture will be replaced by Christ. Formerly our culture was a replacement for Christ. But now as we live Christ, Christ replaces our culture with Himself.
There can be no doubt that Christ is fully revealed in the Bible. But who among the Lord’s people truly lives Christ? We need to ask ourselves how much we live Christ. Sometimes the saints talk about the best way to have the church meetings. However, our concern should not be with the way of meeting; it should be with the living of Christ. Do we care to live Christ in a genuine way, or do we just want to have a certain kind of meeting? The meetings of the church should not be a performance, but should be an exhibition of our daily living.
We thank the Lord for all He has shown us concerning the revelation of Christ in Colossians. Now we must go on to experience Christ and to live Him. What we need is not more doctrine, but more experience of Christ. Again and again, we need to be encouraged to live Christ day by day. Wherever we are, at home, at school, or at work, we need to live Christ. Paul could say, “To me to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21). How many of us can give such a testimony? When we are tested by the Lord concerning this, we need to humble ourselves and confess that we do not live very much by Christ. How we need to receive grace to live Christ day by day! If we live Him consistently and adequately, all the replacements for Christ will be gone.
If we have light concerning how Christ is replaced in our daily living, we shall confess to the Lord that instead of living Him we live so many other things. We may say to Him, “Lord, I confess that I have not lived very much by You. I live a clean life, even a pure life, but I do not live Christ. Although I have been careful not to sin and not to be wrong with others, I have not lived You.” Years ago, I spent much time to confess my failures and wrongdoings; however, at that time I did not confess my lack in living Christ. But recently most of my confession has concerned one thing—my shortage in living Christ. We all need to make such a confession to the Lord.
In the New Testament there is a unique commandment to unbelievers: Repent and believe in the Lord Jesus. Those who perish will perish because they do not believe in the Lord. Just as there is a unique commandment for unbelievers, so there is a unique commandment for believers: To live Christ. If you are not a believer, you need to repent and believe in Christ. But if you are a believer in Christ, you now need to live Christ. Unbelievers do many different things in place of believing in Christ. Likewise, believers may do many things instead of living Christ. The unique sin of unbelievers is their unbelief, their not believing in Christ. But the unique sin of believers is their failure to live Christ. We need to confess this sin and condemn it. We may be humble, honest, sincere, faithful, diligent, and, in many respects, very scriptural. However, if we do not live Christ, we are still under God’s condemnation. God does not want honest, sincere people—He wants us to be Christ-people, those who live Christ. A genuine Christian should be a Christ-man, not merely a virtuous man.
It is crucial for us to see that in our living there should be no replacements for Christ. In particular, we see from Colossians that Christ should not be replaced by any kind of culture. We all have a strong culture, both the culture we have inherited and the culture we have made and imposed on ourselves. To live by this culture is to live by something other than Christ Himself. When we live by our culture, we may not do anything sinful. On the contrary, our living may be very good, but it is not Christ. We must condemn the practice of living by such things as humility, love, and diligence instead of Christ. God’s desire is that we live Christ.