HWMR – Crystallization-study of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth (Week 9)
The Children of Israel Not Having a King and Everyone Doing What Was Right in His Own Eyes
Key Point – We need to realize that Christ is our King reigning in our hearts and recognize the kingship of Christ in the local churches, where we live under His kingship
1 Tim. 1:17 Now to the King of the ages, incorruptible, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
In 1 Timothy 1:17…“ages” actually means eternity. This word needs to be understood in relation to the decline of the church. When Paul was in prison, the churches began to decline, and the situation was very disappointing. Many were discouraged. Even some of Paul’s co-workers left him. But he had a strong faith with an absolute assurance that the very God in whom he believed, the One who had entrusted him with the gospel of glory, is the King of the ages, the One with the absolute authority for eternity, who never changes. No earthly king can be called the King of the ages….The God whom Paul served truly is the King of the ages, the King of eternity. The One whom we serve and who is being dispensed into us is the King of the ages. (The Conclusion of the New Testament, pp. 51-52)
We have to realize that, according to Hebrews 6:5, the age of grace, the New Testament age, is a foretaste of the coming age….Thus, what we are enjoying today is a foretaste of the coming kingdom in the age of restoration. Thus, today we have to realize that Christ is our King. He reigns not only in our hearts but also in the tent of David. In the Old Testament, when the tent of David was set up, when David’s kingdom was fully established, that was a great consolation and joy to the Israelites. In the coming age, when Christ reigns in the tent of David, that will be a greater consolation to Israel. Christ reigning in the tent of David signifies consolation, encouragement, and restoration….For Him to reign in us in the tent of David means that He reigns in us with a kingdom. [Isaiah 16:5 says that] Christ’s throne will be established in lovingkindness. Lovingkindness means tender affection. All of us can approach His throne because lovingkindness is there.
Christ sits upon His throne in truth. Truth here means truthfulness and faithfulness. Christ is not only loving and kind but also truthful and faithful. He is the worthy One. As the One sitting upon the throne in the tent of David, He is the real David. He judges and pursues justice. To judge is to adjust and correct in order to make peace. Christ is the unique Judge in the whole universe. In our natural being, we do not treat others justly. The husbands do not treat the wives in justice, nor do the wives treat the husbands in justice. But Christ is perfectly just with everyone and pursues justice in all of His judgments. He is also the One hastening righteousness.
Isaiah 16:5 shows that with Christ there is lovingkindness, truthfulness, faithfulness, justice, and righteousness. Today Christ reigns in us in the tent of David, bringing in the kingdom with lovingkindness, truthfulness, faithfulness, justice, and righteousness. If we are under His ruling, His reigning, we will be the same as He is in these virtues. When Christ reigns in the millennium, even the brightest things “will be ashamed” [Isa. 24:23]. But even today we can enjoy Christ reigning in us as a foretaste of His reign in the coming age. (Life-study of Isaiah, pp. 283-285)
Life-study of Colossians (Message 51)
Have Been Rooted in Christ and Being Built Up in Him (1)
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.
Having been rooted in Christ and being built up in Christ are both related to walking in Christ (2:6). If we would walk in Christ, we must meet two conditions: we must be rooted in Him, and we must be in the process of being built up in Him. On the one hand, we have already been rooted in Christ; on the other hand, we are being built up in Him. When these conditions are met, we shall be able to walk in Christ. In experience we all need to know what it means to be rooted in Christ and to be built up in Him.
As a result of being rooted in Christ and absorbing His riches into us, we grow in Him, just as trees grow by absorbing nourishment from the soil. In order for a tree to grow, it must receive some substantial nourishment. The nourishment in the soil becomes the substance by which a tree grows.
Not many of today’s Christians realize what genuine growth is. True growth is not the result of acquiring more doctrinal knowledge. It is the result of turning to the spirit, remaining in the spirit, and absorbing the nourishing element of Christ. Only by assimilating this element can we grow spiritually. The more this rich element is added into our being, the more we grow.
Colossians 2:19 says that by holding the Head the Body “grows with the growth of God.” To grow with the growth of God is to grow by having God Himself added into us. This takes place only when we are rooted in Christ as the soil. God Himself with His element and substance is the rich nourishment in Christ. If we remain rooted in our spirit, we absorb this element, and this causes us to grow with the growth of God. We grow with the addition, the increase, of God into us. This is altogether a matter of the genuine experience of Christ in our daily life.
We have seen that if we would walk in Christ, we must be planted and rooted in Christ, the divine Spirit in our spirit, and remain in Him. Whenever we find ourselves out of the spirit, we need to turn back to the spirit and stay there. By remaining in the spirit, we are rooted in Christ in a practical way and thereby absorb the rich nourishment into our spirit. As this nourishment flows into our inner being, it causes us to grow with the growth of God. Growth takes place as God is added into us, for the rich nourishment in Christ is actually God Himself. From our experience we know that as we are rooted in Christ, we grow and, spontaneously, we then walk in Him.
It is important to see that if we have not been built up individually, we shall not be able to be built up with others corporately. The building of the meeting hall in Anaheim illustrates this. The material used in the construction of the hall was first built up in itself; then it was used with other pieces of material to form the meeting hall. Redwood, for example, was used in the exterior. But a tender sprout of a redwood tree could not be used for this, could it? The redwood trees first had to grow and be built up in themselves by absorbing the riches from the soil. Only then could they become the proper building material. The same is true of us. We need to remain in our spirit absorbing the rich nourishment of Christ. As we absorb this element, we shall grow, and by this growth we shall then be built up. Then it will be possible for us to be built up with others in the Body.
If we would walk in Christ, we need to absorb His riches by being rooted in Him and to be built up as individual members of the Body. We need to sink our roots into Christ deeper and deeper so that we may absorb more of His riches. Then we shall grow and be built up in Him. Having fulfilled these two conditions, we shall then be able to walk in Christ.
Life-study of Colossians (Message 52)
Have Been Rooted in Christ and Being Built Up in Him (2)
Col. 2:19 And not holding the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied and knit together by means of the joints and sinews, grows with the growth of God.
In 2:19 Paul says that the Body “grows with the growth of God.” With God Himself there can be no growth, for He is complete and perfect eternally. Nevertheless, the Body still needs to grow with the growth, the increase, of God in us. The more God is added into us, the more we grow. This is what it means to grow with the growth of God.
In order for any living organism to grow, there must be some element which causes it to grow. We must have something with which and by which to grow. For example, if children do not eat, they cannot grow. The way we grow spiritually is to have God added into us. This means that we grow with the addition, with the increase, of God, by having God added into our very being.
The little word “with” in 2:19 is important. With what does the Body grow? Does it grow with doctrine or Bible knowledge? No, the Body grows with the growth of God. We grow with the increase of God within us. God in Himself is perfect and complete, but there is still the need for Him to increase within us.
As I was praying over 2:19, the Lord showed me that although He is eternally perfect and complete, I did not have that much of Him within me. I realized my need for God to grow in me, to have Him added into me. At that time I was enlightened to see the meaning of Paul’s expression in 2:19, “grows with the growth of God.” We all need God to be added into us more and more. We need to have Him grow in us, to increase in us.
As we consider 2:19, we must realize that the word God is not merely a term, and God Himself is not simply the object of our worship. God is rich in every way. He is rich in glory and in all the divine attributes. He is rich in love, kindness, mercy, light, life, power, and strength. Oh, God’s riches are endless! Now this rich God is adding Himself into us. This is implied by the phrase, “grows with the growth of God.” God’s riches are the element and substance by which we grow.
In 3:10 and 11 Paul speaks of the new man, where there “cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, freeman, but Christ is all and in all.” In the new man Christ is all the members, and He is in all the members. There is no room for the natural man. There is no room for Americans or Chinese, for British or French, for you or me. In the new man Christ is all. In the church as the new man, Christ is everything. This implies that He is every brother and every sister. This also implies that every brother and sister must be constituted of Christ. In the new man there cannot be Jewish members and Gentile members; there can only be Christ-members. If we would be constituted of Christ, Christ must be added into us more and more. We must be permeated with Christ, saturated with Christ, and have Christ organically wrought into our being. Eventually, we shall be replaced by Christ. Then, in reality, He will be all and in all. He will be every member, every part, of the new man.
The new man does not come into existence by taking Christians from various countries and bringing them together. That would be a new organization, not the new man. The new man comes into being as we are saturated, filled, and permeated with Christ and replaced by Him through an organic process. The new man is Christ in all the saints permeating us and replacing us until all natural distinctions have been eliminated and everyone is constituted of Christ.
Christ as all and in all in the new man should not be mere doctrine. Rather, the rich, substantial Christ must actually be wrought into us organically until He replaces our natural being with Himself. This can take place only as we remain rooted in Him and absorb His riches into us. These riches will then become the substance, the element, which will saturate us organically. Then Christ will become us, and we shall become constituted of Christ. This is not only to grow with Christ, but it is also to be built up in Christ.
Both the growth and the building depend on being rooted. This is why Paul uses the perfect tense to say “having been rooted.” Christ, the good land, is the portion, the allotment, of the saints. As the good land, He Himself is the rich, fertile soil. Having been rooted in Him, we must daily absorb the rich nourishment of Christ into us to be the element that causes us to grow. All day long tender roots should absorb the riches of Christ as the soil. The more we absorb these riches, the more we shall be saturated by Christ and organically replaced by Him. This is to grow and to be built up in Christ.