ENJOYING THE RICHES OF CHRIST TO BECOME THE FULLNESS OF CHRIST
The power of Christ is one thing, but the riches of Christ are another. We not only must experience the power of Christ; we also must enjoy all the riches of Christ (Eph. 3:8). It is not only a matter of confessing our failures, repenting of our insulation, and applying the blood for all the negative things. We also have to learn how to enjoy the riches of Christ. Many people today have five or six meals a day, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a morning, afternoon, and evening snack. Even just to drink something is to take in nutrients. In the same way that we enjoy the riches of food day by day, we must enjoy the riches of Christ. We need to experience the heavenly power, the heavenly electricity, but if we do not enjoy the riches, we will be empty and hungry. Regardless of how much power we experience, we still need to enjoy the riches of Christ.
Ephesians 3 shows us that the church comes out of the enjoyment of the riches of Christ. In verses 8 and 9 Paul announces to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel and enlightens all that they may see what the economy of the mystery is. Then in verse 10 the multifarious wisdom of God is made known through the church. The church comes out of the enjoyment, the dispensing, of the riches of Christ. The riches of Christ include life, wisdom, light, power, love, patience, and humility. Whatever we need, Christ is. He is everything. When we enjoy the riches of Christ, they are dispensed into us.
The best way to enjoy the riches of Christ is to pray-read the word of God. All the riches of Christ are on every page, line, sentence, and word of the Bible. We should not merely exercise our mind to read and understand; this is the wrong way. Rather, we must learn to pray-read. The food on a dining table is for eating, not for understanding. When we come to the Bible, we should not try only to understand it. The Bible is not merely to understand; it is mainly for eating. Jeremiah 15:16 says, “Your words were found and I ate them, / And Your word became to me / The gladness and joy of my heart.” In Matthew 4:4 the Lord Jesus also said, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out through the mouth of God.” By these verses we can realize that the Bible is a book for us to eat. When we eat the word of God, we enjoy the riches of Christ. Ephesians 6:17-18 says that we must take the word of God by means of all prayer. To take the word of God by means of all prayer is to pray-read.
We must enjoy the riches of Christ, not only the power wrought in Christ. There is a difference between the riches of Christ and the power of Christ. If our spouse or roommate gives us a difficult time and causes us to become angry, we need power to overcome our temper. Just by calling on the name of the Lord we receive the power of Christ, which is like electricity transmitted to us. However, this is only one aspect. Another aspect is our enjoyment of Christ throughout the day, when the times are good. It is not that we only experience power when we have a difficult time, but that we take the Lord by eating the word daily, at least three or four times a day. We must learn to eat the Lord day by day. Through pray-reading the word of God we enjoy Christ.
When we experience the power and enjoy the riches of Christ, we are the proper church. The church is not merely a group of Christians. The church is Christ as power experienced by the saints and Christ as riches enjoyed by the saints. The more we are in His power and participate in His riches, the more we become the church, His Body, His fullness (Eph. 1:22-23).
THE GIFTED PERSONS BEING GIVEN TO THE BODY BY THE HEAD FOR THE BUILDING UP OF THE BODY
The apostles, prophets, evangelists, and shepherds and teachers are given by the Head to build up the Body (Eph. 4:11-12). This is different from today’s Christianity where many gifted persons are merely doing a work. The gifted persons were given to build up the Body.
We should pray-read the verses in this message until we enter into the truth and experience of the purpose of God; the cross of Christ, which produced the new man; the power wrought in Christ, which is transmitted to us that we may be the church; the riches of Christ for our enjoyment that we may be the fullness of Christ; and the gifted persons, who are given to the Body by the Head for the building up of the Body. Regardless of what the situation is in Christianity, we must be clear that God’s purpose is to have the Body of Christ, the church, as the fullness of Christ and the new man.
(Enjoying the Riches of Christ for the Building Up of the Church as the Body of Christ, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)