The Experience of Christ, by Witness Lee

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We human beings are not simple, but complicated and intricate. In chapter one of Philippians, a chapter on the fellowship in the gospel, Paul says that some preach Christ out of envy, strife, and rivalry (vv. 15-16). Some may say, "Last month I brought more people to the Lord than you did. Among those I brought to the Lord were a professor and an outstanding student." Even those in the same church may strive against one another in preaching the gospel. Furthermore, we may also compete with churches in other cities. Thus, after strife comes rivalry. Even in something as divine as the preaching of Christ, it is possible to have rivalry.

Those on the same campus engaged in preaching the gospel may have rivalry among them concerning who will be the leader. Those who cannot be first will at least desire to be second. How disappointed they would be to be last! Such rivalry is hidden within us. When we have such rivalry, we do not have fellowship in the gospel. In your schoolwork it is all right to be zealous to be first, but not in the preaching of the gospel. Rather, in the preaching of the gospel, you should be willing to be nothing. Those who preach Christ out of envy, strife, and rivalry certainly do not have fellowship in the gospel. If we do not have fellowship, we cannot have the experience of Christ.

I am very happy that the young people are zealous to preach the gospel on the campuses. But now I must ask whether or not in their preaching of the gospel they have the experience of Christ. This depends upon whether or not they have the fellowship in the gospel. It is not a simple matter to have this fellowship. It requires that we put ourselves, our ambition, our reputation, and our position aside. This is a real killing. The fellowship in the gospel kills the self, the flesh, and the natural man. It also kills our ambition, desire, preference, and choice. This is the reason that the fellowship in the preaching of the gospel causes us to experience Christ. Thus, according to the word of the Apostle Paul in Philippians, the first way to experience Christ is in the fellowship of the gospel.


The second way is through the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:19). Notice that in Philippians 1:19 Paul speaks not of the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Jesus, or the Spirit of Christ, but of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Not many Christians are familiar with the significance of this title. In Genesis 1:2 we have the term the Spirit of God. Other books in the Old Testament speak of the Spirit of Jehovah. The Spirit of Jehovah fell upon certain prophets. (The King James Version always renders this "the Spirit of the Lord.") In the New Testament we find the term the Holy Spirit. This term is not used in the Old Testament because it is related to the incarnation of Christ. At the time Christ was conceived in Mary, the angel said, "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee" (Luke 1:35). According to Matthew 1:20, the angel of the Lord told Joseph that what had been begotten in Mary was of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, firstly there is the Spirit of God, then the Spirit of Jehovah, and then the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God is related to God’s creation, the Spirit of Jehovah is related to God’s relationship with man, and the Holy Spirit is related to the Son of God becoming a man. John 7:39 says, "The Spirit was not yet." What Spirit was not yet? This refers to the Spirit of the glorified Jesus that was "not yet" until the time of Jesus’ resurrection. After Jesus’ glorification, the Spirit of God, which is the Spirit of Jehovah and the Holy Spirit, became the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

According to the Greek, in Acts 16:7 we find the term the Spirit of Jesus, and in Romans 8:9, the term the Spirit of Christ. If you read Acts 16, you will see that the Spirit of Jesus is related mainly to the preaching of the gospel. It was not the Spirit of God or the Spirit of Christ but the Spirit of Jesus that did not allow them to go into Mysia. The Spirit of Christ is found in Romans 8, a chapter on resurrection life. Therefore, the Spirit of Christ is related to resurrection. In Philippians 1:19 these two terms, the Spirit of Jesus and the Spirit of Christ, are combined in the term the Spirit of Jesus Christ. The Spirit of Jesus Christ is for the experience of Christ.

(The Experience of Christ, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)