Weekly Ministry (Oct 4 – Oct 10, 2021)

HWMR – Crystallization-study of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth (Week 6)

The Intrinsic Significance of the Book of Judges and the Apostasy of Israel in the Worshipping of God

Key Point – Whereas Joshua is the book of Israel’s history full of marvelous victories over the inhabitants of Canaan in the presence of Jehovah, Judges is the book of Israel’s history full of miserable defeats under their enemies in the forsaking of Jehovah.

Judg 1:2 And Jehovah said, Judah shall go up. I have now given the land into his hand.

In writing the books of history, Samuel put Judges after Joshua to show us what kind of life Israel lived toward her Husband. For some reason, she did not have a heart to be the wife of Jehovah. As a wife, she forgot her Husband, left her Husband, and acted according to her own desires. Eventually, Israel became a harlot. At the time of Hosea, Israel was a harlot in the eyes of God (Hosea 1:2; 2:2). Having fallen into the sin of adultery, she did not have a definite husband. In addition to Jehovah as her Husband, she had many other men….In the book of Judges there is a terrible picture of a wife forsaking her Husband and not even acknowledging His existence. This is an ugly picture of a harlot, a wife who forsook her Husband and went after idols. In the beginning Israel had a bridal love toward God, but after her marriage she lost her position as a chaste wife to her husband. She forsook God and went to idols. Every idol was a “man,” and Israel became full of idols. Jeremiah 11:13 says that according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem the people had set up altars to burn incense to their idols. Ezekiel 16:24 tells us that Israel made “an elevation in every open square.”

In the book of Judges, a particular saying is repeated a number of times: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did that which was right in his own eyes” (17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25). But God was the King! According to the principle in the Bible, the husband is the head of the marriage and the head of the family. In creation God ordained that the man would have this authority; therefore, he also has the kingship. In typology and in figure, God is the unique man. We all are females because we, the church, are the corporate wife to Christ. Since God is our Creator and our Lord, He should also be our King.

Joshua is the book of Israel’s history full of the marvelous victories over the inhabitants of Canaan in the presence of Jehovah. Judges, on the contrary, is the book of Israel’s history full of miserable defeats under their enemies in the forsaking of Jehovah. (Life-study of Judges, pp. 1-3)

Life-study of Colossians (Message 45)

The Extensive Revelation of the All-Inclusive Christ

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.

What kind of Christ can replace our culture? The Christ who replaces culture is the extensive Christ, not the limited Christ known by most Christians. All real Christians believe that Christ is God incarnated as a man, that He died on the cross for our sins, that He was resurrected, that He ascended to the heavens where He is now sitting as the Lord of lords and King of kings, and that He will return to earth and establish His kingdom with the believers as co-kings. Although all this is true, it is a narrow, limited view of Christ. Such a limited Christ will not in actual experience become the replacement for our culture. Can such a Christ become our food, clothing, and dwelling? The Christ who can replace our culture and become everything to us is the all-inclusive, extensive Christ.

Recently, after hearing a message on how culture replaces Christ in our experience, a brother testified strongly that he wanted to drop all his culture. However, it is not possible for us to do this. If we try to do it, we shall simply develop another type of culture, a culture-dropping culture. But should someone say that there is no need to drop culture, this concept will lead to yet another type of culture. Instead of trying to deal with our culture, we should simply live Christ.

Just as culture has become the replacement for God, so Christ can become the replacement for culture. We have seen that after man lost God through the fall, man’s culture replaced God in his life. Christ’s redemption not only redeems us from so many negative things, but also redeems us from culture. Instead of trying to be free from our culture, we should simply be reconciled to Christ and take Him as the factor which gives our life meaning and purpose. We should pray, “Lord Jesus, from now on I will take nothing other than You as my goal and purpose. Lord, You only are my standard and the factor which gives my existence meaning and purpose. I don’t want to live out anything other than Yourself. Lord, I want to live You and You alone.” When we live Christ, we are spontaneously delivered from culture, and automatically the Christ by whom we live replaces culture. This is the revelation in the book of Colossians.

We must admit that even we in the Lord’s recovery, who love the Lord very much and seek Him, actually live much more by our culture than by Christ. For example, certain sisters may refrain from using makeup not because they are living Christ, but because they are conforming to the common practice in the church life. Some may claim that they do not use makeup because of their love for Christ and the church. This may be true. However, to love the Lord Jesus is one thing, and to live Christ is another. We may do many things because we love the Lord and yet, in those very things, we may not actually live Him.

In the church life it is possible to live by certain habits or customs, in other words, by a certain culture developed in the church, instead of by Christ. For example, a certain brother may feel that he should not attend movies. However, what keeps him from going to the movie theater is not that he is living Christ; it is that he is living according to a certain practice common in the church life. We need to have the assurance that our reason for not doing certain things is that we live Christ. We need not have a rule about staying away from movies. We should simply have the experience of living Christ in the church. If we truly live Christ in the church, then when we refrain from doing a certain thing, it will not be because we regard that thing as wrong; it will be because we are living Christ. Our need today is not only to love Him, but also to live Him.

Life-study of Colossians (Message 46)

Walk in Christ, Having Been Rooted and Being Built Up in Him

Col. 2:6 As therefore you have received the Christ, Jesus the Lord, walk in Him,

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.

If the saints contact the Lord and spend time in the Word with much prayer, they will become deeply rooted in Christ. If a sister does this for a period of time, her shopping will be done in Christ, not in something other than Christ. I do not have any confidence in a change of behavior which results from making a decision after hearing a message. My confidence is in what issues from becoming deeply rooted in Christ through contacting the Lord and spending time in the Word with much prayer. When we are rooted in Christ, there is no need for us to make up our minds about certain things, for spontaneously we shall walk in Him.

In a previous message we raised the question of how plants can walk. Colossians 2:7 speaks of being rooted. This refers to plants. But 2:6 speaks of walking. This refers to persons. Then are we considered plants or persons? The answer is that for our daily living, we are persons, but for our being rooted in Christ, we are plants. In 1 Corinthians 3 Paul says that we are God’s farm, God’s husbandry (v. 9, Gk.). Furthermore, Paul says that he planted and Apollos watered, but God gives the growth (v. 6, Gk.). Thus, in the matter of growth, we are like plants. But in our daily walk we, of course, are not like plants; we are people. We may say that we are people-plants: people in walking and plants in being rooted in Christ.

The only way to become deeply rooted in Christ as the soil is to contact Him as the soil and to daily absorb the water in the Word. The more we contact the soil and absorb the water, the more we shall grow. First we grow downward, then upward. After we have grown downward for a period of time, we shall automatically cease to walk in things other than Christ. Instead, because we have been deeply rooted in Christ, we shall live, walk, act, and have our being in Christ.

Paul’s concept is that Christ, the all-inclusive and extensive One, must become the replacement for every factor and element in our human living. Therefore, we must walk in Christ. But walking in Him requires that we be rooted in Him. Just as we have been rooted in culture, we must now become rooted in Christ. Having been rooted in Him, we shall spontaneously walk in Him. While we walk in Him, the expression of Christ will be built up in us. Eventually, this expression will become the Body, the corporate church life, the habitation of God in spirit on earth today. If we claim to be walking in Christ but lack the expression of Christ, our claim is false. Walking in Christ requires that we be in the process of being built up in Christ. This means that while we are walking in Him, the expression of Christ must be built up in us.

According to our experience, we know that when we contact the Lord and daily get into the Word with much prayer, we fulfill the condition of walking in Christ, for we are rooted in Him. Then as we walk in Him, daily the expression of Christ is built up in us. This makes it possible for others to see Christ lived out of us. Eventually this living out of Christ will produce the corporate expression of Christ, the church life. This is the proper way to have the Christian life.