ENJOYING THE PRESENCE OF THE TRIUNE GOD
IN GATHERING TOGETHER
AND IN THE TEACHING OF THE WORD
Christ died on the cross, and He resurrected. In His resurrection He became a life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45b), and in His resurrection He resurrected us (Eph. 2:6) and regenerated us (1 Pet. 1:3). Before we were born, we were regenerated. We believe this because we have the will, the New Testament. The New Testament also tells us that Christ as the Spirit is now in us, and the Spirit who is in us is the very presence of the Triune God. In the divine Trinity, God the Father is the source, God the Son is the course, and God the Spirit is the flow. The flow of the Triune God is the reaching of God to us, and this reaching is the presence of the Triune God. From beginning to end, the New Testament speaks about the presence of the Triune God. Matthew 1:23 says, "Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." Incarnation issued in the presence of the Triune God with men. The first way to enjoy the Triune God’s presence is to be gathered into His name. Matthew 18:20 says, "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst." If we want to enjoy the Lord’s presence, we must come together. If we are scattered, it is difficult to have the presence of the Triune God. Whenever we are gathered into His wonderful name, His wonderful person is here. The Christian gatherings bring in the Triune God’s presence.
The second way to enjoy His presence is to be taught and to teach His Word. In Matthew 28:20 Jesus said, "Teaching them to observe all things, whatever I commanded you; and behold, I am with you all the days until the consummation of the age." Every day is a day for us to enjoy the presence of the Triune God, but the means for our enjoyment of His presence is His teaching. To be taught by others and to teach others His Word in a continual, mutual way brings in His presence. The gatherings and the teaching of the holy Word bring in the presence of the Triune God. When we put the Bible aside, we do not have His presence, but when we gather around His Word, we have His presence.
John 14:16-17 says, "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, that He may be with you forever; even the Spirit of reality, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him; but you know Him, because He abides with you and shall be in you." The other Comforter is actually the same One who spoke with them. When He went away and came back to them, He came as another One. The Lord was with the disciples in the flesh, but He came back as the Spirit. Now this Spirit is with us and in us (v. 20). His being with us is not only an outward reality, but also an inward presence. Verse 20 says, "In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you." The first appearance of the returning One to the same group of disciples was in John 20:19-25, when they were gathered together. The gathering of the disciples brought in the presence of the consummated Spirit as the consummation of the Triune God. From then on He was with them all the time, day by day. Whenever we are gathered together, we have the presence of the Triune God, and the presence of the Triune God is the Spirit, who is always with us.
ENJOYING GRACE AND PEACE THROUGH THE SPIRIT AS THE PRESENCE OF THE TRIUNE GOD
Acts 9:31 says, "So the church throughout the whole of Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it was multiplied." The comfort rendered to the church by the Holy Spirit was the Spirit’s presence. If the Spirit were not with the church, the church could not enjoy His comfort. Comfort is an indication of the Spirit’s presence. When we stay at home and worry about our problems, we cannot enjoy peace and grace, but when we come to the gatherings of the church, all our concerns are overcome. We have peace and comfort in these gatherings because the comforting Spirit, who is our very peace, rest, and comfort is there.
The writers of the Epistles often began and ended their Epistles with a greeting related to grace and peace (1 Cor. 1:3; 16:23; Eph. 1:2; 6:23-24). Grace and peace being to us implies the Spirit as the presence of the Triune God. In Revelation 1:4-5 John said, "Grace to you and peace from Him who is, and who was, and who is coming, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth." John’s greeting with grace and peace was from the three of the Trinity. Our grace and our peace come from the Father as the source, through the Son as the course, and by the Spirit as the flow reaching us. The reaching of the divine Trinity becomes grace and peace to us.
(Messages to the Trainees in Fall 1990, Chapter 13, by Witness Lee)