FELLOWSHIPPING WITH THE SAINTS IN SPIRIT
The third aspect is to have fellowship with the saints in spirit. We are members one of another, and we are brothers and sisters one to another. This is not a matter of friendship, nor a matter of a meeting of the minds, nor a matter of being fellow countrymen or fellow alumni. These relationships are of the flesh. Our fellowship is not in these relationships but in spirit.
Dear brothers and sisters, are the spirits of all the brothers and sisters opened? Is there fellowship among them? Can your spirit flow out to others? Can others’ spirit flow into you? If we say we manifest Christ and experience Christ, we cannot be silent to sinners, refraining from preaching the gospel to them, nor can we isolate ourselves from the saints, being closed to them in spirit. Our fellowshipping spirit should be opened toward all the saints. Instead of demanding, criticizing, and condemning others, we minister to them, receive them, love them, and have fellowship with them, including even the most immature ones. I do not make distinctions between those who are exalted and those who are lowly or between those who are spiritual and those who are not. As long as someone is a brother, I simply love him, and whatever supply or fellowship he affords me, I simply receive. We should not set up a spiritual standard and have fellowship only with those who can come up to that standard. Our spirit must be opened to have fellowship with all the saints without discrimination. We should open our spirit to enjoy others and let others open their spirit to enjoy us. We should never try to do a particular work or set up a small circle within the church. Instead, we should be impartial toward all.
Dear brothers and sisters, history tells us that those who maintain a special fellowship eventually become “childless old people.” You do not see them leading others to salvation, nor do you see them helping others to love the Lord. This is barrenness and abnormal development. This kills the Body. We must open our spirit to supply others and to receive supply from them as well. We can manifest Christ only by having fellowship without partiality.
SERVING GOD BY THE SPIRIT
The fourth aspect is to serve God by the Spirit. The first aspect covered in Philippians is that the Spirit is for our situations, another aspect is that the Spirit is for the gospel, still another aspect is that the Spirit is for fellowship, and the final aspect is that the Spirit is for service. We have these four aspects: toward the environment, toward sinners, toward the saints, and toward God.
We serve God by the Spirit of God. Before he was saved, Paul had many merits according to his flesh, but he said that now he served God, worshipped God, by the Spirit and not in the flesh. This tells us that whenever we come to worship God, to serve God, we must reject our natural being, our self, our soul, and our flesh. We must only be in the Spirit. Hence, the secret to being a Christian is to exercise the spirit and live in the spirit. We must learn this secret if we want to manifest Christ.
After speaking about these four aspects of the experience and manifestation of Christ, the book of Philippians gives us a conclusion in 4:23: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” Grace is the Lord Himself. This is similar to what 2 Timothy 4:22 says: “The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.” We need to worship God in spirit and enjoy Him as grace.
Colossians is a book on Christ being the Head of the church and having the first place in all things.
Who also has made known to us your love in the Spirit. Therefore we also, since the day we heard of it, do not cease praying and asking on your behalf that you may be filled with the full knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. (1:8-9)
Our love is in the Spirit, and our understanding is of the Spirit. Our understanding is for us to understand God’s will, which is concerning Christ, the church, and the mystery of God. Love is for us to live out what we comprehend in our understanding, and it is for others. This requires us to be in the Spirit. We need spiritual understanding to know and comprehend Christ, and this understanding should be in the Spirit. What we express as love should also be in the Spirit. This is the Spirit in Colossians.
(The Spirit in the Epistles, Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)