GROWING TO BE THE FIRSTFRUITS
AS THE OVERCOMERS AND
THE HARVEST RIPENED FOR REAPING
The Bible teaches us that when we believed in Christ, the Spirit, the consummated Spirit who is the life-giving Spirit and who is the pneumatic Christ, came to sow God as a life seed into us. On that day this life seed began to grow. Eventually, this life seed will grow to be the firstfruits as the overcomers in Revelation 14:1-5, and then the harvest ripened for reaping in Revelation 14:14-16. In a wheat field there are the firstfruits, those that ripen first. According to the Old Testament typology, the firstfruits were to be presented to God in His sanctuary for God’s enjoyment (Lev. 23:10-11; Exo. 23:19). After the firstfruits there is the harvest. In Revelation 14 the firstfruits are mentioned at the beginning of the chapter, and the harvest follows near the end of the chapter. This is God’s crop. God is the life seed sown into us, and we are the field. The seed and the field grow together. Without the seed, nothing can grow; but without the field, the earth, the seed cannot grow. Thus, in the growth of a seed two elements, the seed and the earth, meet together, mingle together, and grow together.
As believers in Christ, we should not be concerned about matters such as how to have a good marriage. If we want to have the best marriage, we must be regenerated, and we must grow in this divine seed. This divine seed is growing within us. Every day He is growing, first to grow in us to make us the firstfruits, the overcomers, who are signified by Zion in the Old Testament. Among the Old Testament types there is God’s holy city, Jerusalem, which is common and general. Within this city there is a high peak called Zion (Psa. 2:6; 125:1). Zion is the highlight of Jerusalem. Today the church is the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb. 12:22), and the overcomers are Zion as the high peak, the highlight. If all the believers are common and general, the church will be merely Jerusalem without a high peak, without Zion. Such a situation is not beautiful. Jerusalem’s beauty is with Zion. Zion is the beauty of the holy city (Psa. 48:2; 50:2). Likewise, the overcomers are the beauty of a local church. In each local church there must be a group of believers who ripen earlier to be the firstfruits. These believers are Zion in that church. Although it is wonderful to have the church in many localities, we like to see the beauty, the highlight, the high peak, the body of overcomers, in all the churches. Overcomers are what the Lord is after today. The Lord is after the overcomers to stand up, to ripen early.
HAVING BEEN PLANTED AND WATERED
FOR GOD TO CAUSE THE GROWTH
There are two main ways to grow trees. One way is to sow a seed. If we sow the seed of a peach, a peach tree will grow up. The second way is to plant the sapling of a peach tree into the earth. This sapling will grow to be a peach tree. In the Bible it is the same. First, the Bible tells us that God has sown Himself into our spirit as the life seed to grow a tree, a miniature of the tree of life. The tree of life was unique in Genesis 2:9, but today the tree of life grows in all of us, causing each of us to be a small tree of life. As small trees of life, we need to grow. We, the believers in Christ, have all been regenerated by God sowing Himself into us as the life seed. From that day a life tree came out.
Then, in 1 Corinthians 3:6 Paul said, "I planted." At times we may say that we sow Christ into people through the preaching of the gospel. At other times we can also declare that we plant Christ into people. To plant a sapling into a field is a quicker way to grow a tree than to sow a seed. Paul planted Christ. In verses 6 and 7 he said, "I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth. So then neither is he who plants anything nor he who waters, but God who causes the growth." Planting and watering are two steps for God to give the growth. If Paul would not plant and Apollos would not come to water, there would be no way for God to give the growth.
We need to be sowers and planters, sowing and planting Christ into many vacant sinners. Today there are many sinners who do not have Christ. They are empty, vacant, waiting for Christ to be either sown into them or planted into them. If we have some dear friends who are still not believers in Christ or are believers in Christ in name but not in reality, these kinds of friends may have a feeling of emptiness within them. They may feel that their living on this earth is empty and is vanity of vanities. If they would pray, "Lord Jesus, I do not want to be empty anymore. I want to take You; I want to receive You," immediately they would be filled by Christ as either a seed or a plant. Sometimes they will be blessed to receive Christ not only as a small seed, but as a large plant planted into their being. This will cause them to feel that they are filled with Christ. They will be happy and will tell others that they are no longer empty, but they now have something within them, that is, Christ. Now Christ is growing in them. Then some "Apollos" in the church will go once a week to water them. This watering plus the planting gives God an opportunity to grow in them.
When people have Christ, Christ will be their improvement. If they do not have Christ, they will have no improvement. I came to the United States in 1958. Since that time I have been observing how America has gone on. According to my observation, America is degrading. Today’s America is different from the America of thirty-five years ago. America is degrading because it is short of Christ. What America needs today is not finance but Christ. America today is on the top in science, education, politics, and military strength. However, America is short of Christ. America needs to be on the top in Christ. We need to have more Christ. If every morning we will remain with Christ for fifteen minutes, we will receive the benefit. We will give Christ a way for His growth in us. The need of today’s America is Christ—the practical Christ, the real Christ, the living Christ, the Christ either as the seed or the living plant sown or planted into us.
(The Organic Union in God's Relationship with Man, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)