CHRIST BEING ALL AND IN ALL
When Paul wrote the book of Philippians in his old age, he still confessed that he did not have an adequate knowledge of Christ. In Philippians 3:10, he clearly told us that he was still pursuing to know Christ. Whether we are spiritual or not depends on whether we are pursuing Christ all the time. We are not spiritual because we are short of Christ. We do not have any spiritual increase or spiritual weight because we are short of the knowledge of Christ. We have no spiritual insight and are short of love and holiness because we are short of Christ.
Christians do not lack so many different things; what they lack is Christ Himself. First Corinthians 1:30 says that Christ “became wisdom to us from God: both righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” We all must realize that Christ is our wisdom, our righteousness, our sanctification, our redemption, our life, our power, our light, and our everything. In God’s eyes every spiritual matter, every spiritual reality, is just Christ Himself.
All of our spiritual lack and shortages are due to the fact that we are short of Christ. You are short of zeal because you do not have enough Christ, I am short of love because I do not have enough Christ, and he is short of faith because he does not have enough Christ. It is useless to exhort people to have zeal, love, or faith. All we can do is minister Christ to them; then they will spontaneously have zeal, love, and faith. When Christ comes into us, we have wisdom, light, and the way because Christ is all and in all (Col. 3:11). Apart from Him we can do nothing, and apart from Him everything we do means nothing in God’s eyes.
If what a person ministers to the church is not Christ, and if the shepherding he renders to the saints is not Christ Himself, then even though he may receive praise from man, he will not receive praise from God, whether he is a deacon, an elder, or a serving one. Even though he may receive man’s approval, he will not receive God’s approval. This is because all that is done outside of Christ is counted as nothing in God’s eyes. Only when we are in Christ and allow Christ to pass through us and to flow out of us will all that we do count. Whether it is in our gospel preaching, in our visiting the saints, in the elders’ shepherding, or in the deacons’ serving, only when Christ passes through us and is expressed through us will anything be valuable. Spiritual value is Christ Himself; only what is of Christ is valuable.
NEEDING TO FELLOWSHIP WITH THE LORD IN EVERYTHING WE DO
Perhaps some will ask, “How do we allow Christ to pass through us and come out of us?” In order to allow Christ to pass through us and come out of us, our fellowship with Him is indispensable. John 15 mentions our abiding in the Lord; this abiding in the Lord is our fellowship with the Lord. We need to fellowship with Him in everything we do. Whether we are preaching the gospel or visiting someone, we must be inwardly connected with the Lord. Once the electric lamp is connected to the electricity, it shines, and once the electric lamp is disconnected from the electricity, it ceases to shine. In the same way, Christians should not have any problem in their fellowship with the Lord. We must be inwardly connected and joined to the Lord continuously. At every moment and in every matter we must pay attention to our connection and union with the Lord. When we are connected and joined to the Lord, we are fellowshipping with the Lord. Then when we go to preach the gospel, the gospel will be released through us; when we go to visit the saints, Christ will be released through us.
We all know that if we are connected to the electricity, whenever we contact someone, the electricity in us will flow to that person. In the same principle, if we want Christ to pass through us and to reach others through us, we must be those who are in fellowship with Him. We ourselves know whether or not we are connected and joined to Christ. If we are not connected or joined to the Lord, we will be unable to give Christ to others. However, if we are in fellowship and contact with the Lord, whether we are elders or deacons, whether we are going to preach the gospel or going to visit people, once we contact them, Christ will be released through us, and they will gain Christ. We must firmly grasp this basic principle.
Hence, before a person begins to preach the gospel or minister the word, he must first have fellowship with the Lord and contact Him. In this way, when people listen to him, they will sense that his speaking is living. It is only by fellowshipping with the Lord on the one hand and by speaking the message on the other hand that his message can be living. In preaching the word a person should not depend on his eloquence, utterance, and knowledge; neither should he simply tell people about the Bible. While preaching the word, the preacher must be connected and joined to the Lord. His words, utterance, knowledge, and reading of the Bible are only an outlet for Christ to flow out from him. As a result, after hearing the message, the speaking, and the words of the Bible, people will receive the Christ who is in the message, in the speaking, and in the Word.
All spiritual matters are just Christ Himself. Visiting the believers is Christ Himself, preaching the gospel is Christ Himself, and preaching the word is Christ Himself. Every spiritual matter is simply Christ Himself. If Christ is not the center and the reality, the word itself will be empty, the visiting will be false, and the gospel will be dead. For us to serve God, we must be connected and joined to Christ. Only when we have fellowship with Christ inwardly can we minister Christ to others. Hence, whether we are preaching the gospel, visiting the believers, or serving as an elder, we must always be connected to Christ whenever we serve.
(The Crucified Christ, Chapter 13, by Witness Lee)