EATING AND REJOICING
Deuteronomy 12:7 also says, "Ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the Lord thy God hath blessed thee." This indicates that the children of Israel not only ate before the Lord; they also rejoiced before Him. Eating and rejoicing go together. As the children of Israel enjoyed the produce of the good land in the presence of God, they rejoiced. Apart from the riches of the land of Canaan, they had nothing to eat and therefore no reason to rejoice. Both the eating and the rejoicing were dependent upon the riches. Often when we are invited to a dinner or to a feast, we rejoice when the food is set on the table. In the same principle, the riches of Christ are the factor, the cause, of our rejoicing in the place of God’s choice.
FOUR CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PROPER CHURCH LIFE
In the foregoing chapter we pointed out four characteristics of the proper church life: the name, the habitation, the enjoyment, and the rejoicing. The fact that the church is God’s habitation, God’s dwelling place, indicates that His presence is in the church. God does not simply visit the church or dwell there temporarily, as if it were a motel. As the house of the living God, the church is God’s home, God’s habitation. Therefore, God’s presence is in the church. In the church we enjoy the riches of Christ and we rejoice in the Lord. This is the proper, genuine, and normal church life. Here we have the Lord’s name and presence. We come to the church to meet Him, to see Him, and to enjoy His presence. Here we enjoy the riches of Christ with God. As we enjoy these riches, we rejoice in the Lord.
Many of us can testify that in other places we did not have the reality or actuality of the Lord’s name and presence. Furthermore, we did not have the enjoyment of the riches of Christ or the rejoicing. For the most part, these four characteristics cannot be found in today’s centers of Christian worship. Outwardly, the name of Christ may be there; but in reality the Lord’s name is not to be found there. Furthermore, the presence of the Lord is not in such places. A. W. Tozer makes this point emphatically in an article entitled "The Waning Authority of Christ in the Churches." According to our experience, we can also testify that in the various Christian centers of worship there is no enjoyment of Christ and no rejoicing that comes from this enjoyment. However, in the place chosen by God, the church, we have the Lord’s name, His presence, the enjoyment of the riches of Christ, and the rejoicing in the Lord.
(The Genuine Ground of Oneness, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)