CHRIST AS OUR COMMON ELEMENT, LIFE, AND PERSON
FOR US TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER
But we have to know that if we want to have a certain living, we need a certain life. God created man with a life that desires to be in a community, but that life was damaged and poisoned. Look at the situation of human society today. On the one hand, people like to live together. But on the other hand, people have become very selfish. You want to live in a community, yet you always have problems with those in your neighborhood. You want to have schoolmates, classmates, roommates, and office mates, but eventually you fight with them. You even fight with your own brothers and sisters. Thus, on the one hand, because we have the God-created nature, we have the desire to live with others; on the other hand, because our human life was damaged and spoiled by Satan, in our fallen nature we do not have the proper life for communal living.
But now we have Christ. Christ is wonderful. He is the common factor, the common element, for us to be one in the communal life with love for one another (Rom. 12:10). I do not know the names of all the brothers, but I still love them very much simply because they are brothers in the Lord. There is a common element among all the brothers, and that element is Christ. Christ is the element which causes us to love one another. Also, Christ within us is the life with the ability for us to love one another.
Do you believe that human beings today can really love one another? It is impossible. If you put a large number of people together for even a short period of time, there will be arguing and fighting. But when we Christians come together and realize that we have Christ within us, immediately we have a wonderful love for one another. For Christians to love is easy, but for Christians to hate is rather hard. Generally speaking, young people are always disgusted with old people. But it is hard for a young man as a Christian to hate an older brother in Christ. As an older brother, I love the young brothers and sisters so much. This is because we all have Christ. There is something common within us. Whenever I meet someone and find out that he is a brother, something within me leaps because we have a common element, a common factor. We are able, capable, and qualified to have the communal life.
However, Satan not only damaged the old man in God’s old creation; he also tried and is still trying to damage the new man in Christ. Even to some extent, he has been successful in this matter. Many Christians have been damaged and divided by ordinances. This is why the Lord has brought us into His recovery where we are open to Him and to one another. I am convinced that the Lord is going to recover the proper church life to meet the need of many people. We need to tell the unbelievers that the way to have the proper communal life is to receive Christ and get into the church.
We brothers and sisters here in Los Angeles, in a sense, are communal. But in another sense, we are still short of the communal life. Hence, the Lord has to work deeper in us that we may have more love for one another. In John 13:34-35 the Lord told the disciples, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." What is the sign of our being Christians, of our being disciples of Christ? The sign is the brotherly love, the love among the brothers for one another. We have to love one another.
Furthermore, in John 15:16-17 the Lord Jesus said, "You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and I set you that you should go forth and bear fruit...These things I command you that you may love one another." The Lord has chosen us and charged us to bear fruit by our loving one another. If we love one another, many people will be brought in. If the young people among us love one another in Christ and with Christ, many young people will be brought in. The best way to have the gospel outreach is to love one another. The best way to bear fruit is to love one another. The best way to bring people in is to love one another.
But how can we love one another? We can love one another only by taking Christ as our person and our life. To say this is simple, but to put this into practice is not so simple. If four brothers come together to live in the same house as roommates, they all need to take Christ as their person. If any of them fails to take Christ as his person, he will become the biggest problem to the other brothers. As long as you take Christ as your person, you will be so lovable. Then there will be no problem. Do not put a demand on others. You have to put the demand on yourself and take Christ as your person and your life.
Brothers and sisters, from now on the Lord is going to do a new thing to release Himself from the confinement of fallen Christianity and to release His church from all kinds of ordinances. Furthermore, He will do a new thing in causing us to love one another even to the extent that we will be one in our living. Then people will say, "These are the disciples of Christ. This is what I have been looking for." This is what God is after, and this is also what human beings are after. This is the church life as the real communal life.
(The Life for the Preaching of the High Gospel, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)