MANIFESTING CHRIST IN OUR ENVIRONMENT
THROUGH THE BOUNTIFUL SUPPLY
OF THE SPIRIT OF JESUS CHRIST
Philippians gives us four aspects concerning the experience of Christ. The first aspect is in our environment, in our circumstances. The apostle said that whether through life or through death he was bold, as always, to have Christ magnified in his body. He also said that he had learned, in whatever circumstances he was, to be content and that he could do all things in Christ. This shows that the apostle experienced Christ in any kind of environment. How? He said that it was through the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
Thank God that in the New Testament there is the phrase the Spirit of Jesus Christ. The Spirit of Jesus is related to the Lord’s incarnation. After His death and resurrection, we have the Spirit of Jesus Christ. This Spirit has many elements, including the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, humanity, human living, the effectiveness of death, and the power of resurrection. Hence, the bountiful supply of such a Spirit is all-inclusive.
The Greek word for bountiful supply is a particular term as an allusion. In ancient Greece, the choragus, the leader of a stage chorus or dance, was responsible for the needs of all the members of the chorus in their living and in their performances. The choragus was responsible to supply whatever they needed. When the apostle Paul wrote the book of Philippians, he used this particular term to describe how bountiful and rich the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ is, which is truly an all-inclusive, bountiful supply. Hence, in any circumstance His supply is sufficient for us. Whether in life or in death, whether in poverty or in wealth, whether in abasement or in exaltation, in whatever circumstance, He supplies. In Him is the all-inclusive, bountiful supply that enables us to meet any kind of environment and thus experience Christ, live Christ, and manifest Christ.
Dear brothers and sisters, I believe we all know this doctrine, so now let us apply it. For example, a sister may have a husband who gives her a difficult time at home. The more she thinks about the situation, the more difficult it is. The more she tries to deal with the situation, the more helpless she becomes. The more she tries to reason with her husband, the more reasons he has. None of these ways work. What then is the proper way? It is very simple. When she is having a hard time, when she is being oppressed, she should turn back to her spirit. In her spirit is the Spirit of the Lord Jesus, the all-inclusive Spirit as the all-effective dose. She should not focus on her husband or the difficult situation. There is no need to try to reason with him or look for an outward remedy. She should simply turn back to her spirit to contact the Spirit. This Spirit who is in us gives us comfort, sympathy, support, and strength to offset all kinds of oppression. This Spirit also has the transcending power that enables us to mount up with wings. Then we can praise, we can soar, we can sing Hallelujah, and we feel that we are on the throne. After such a contact, there may still be difficulties, but we will not sense the hardship because we are transcendent. The Spirit of Jesus Christ sustains us within to go through suffering. He is the Spirit who suffered persecution and the Spirit who passed through death and entered into resurrection. The moment we contact Him, we are strengthened within.
PREACHING THE GOSPEL TO SINNERS
BY EXERCISING THE SPIRIT
The second aspect is to manifest Christ to sinners in preaching the gospel. This is to be in one spirit, with one soul striving together for the advancement of the gospel, as referred to in 1:27. If we want to manifest Christ, we must not forget the preaching of the gospel, and we must preach by exercising the spirit. For Christ to be magnified in any circumstance we need to preach the gospel to sinners by exercising our spirit. Without preaching the gospel, we will be short of one aspect in our experience of Christ.
From now on, we should actively advance the gospel on the whole island of Taiwan. We have been here for over a decade, and we have received enough edification and nurturing from the Lord. We also have a good foundation in the administration and building of the church. Now we should stir up the whole church to go out and strive together for the preaching of the gospel.
We should give messages to prepare the hearts of the brothers and sisters. We need to teach them how to invite guests and pray for the gospel. We also need to instruct them how to make a list of the names of their relatives, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and any other acquaintances. They should see how many of those on the list are saved ones and how many are unsaved ones, and then learn to pick up the burden to invite the unsaved ones and preach the gospel to them. Furthermore, we need to train the brothers and sisters how to have gospel visitations and bring the ones who have believed to be baptized in the church. If we would actively promote this, I believe that within two years the number of the brothers and sisters on the whole island of Taiwan will increase at least onefold.
You should not have the notion that since you pursue Christ and know Christ, you can neglect the preaching of the gospel. No! By reading the book of Philippians you can see that even though it stresses our experience and manifestation of Christ, it especially brings up the matter of gospel preaching. Philippians 1 says, “He who has begun in you a good work will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus” (v. 6). What is the good work? The good work is to strive together to preach the gospel with one soul. Do we want to manifest Christ? We cannot manifest Christ by closing our door or by taking care of our own interests in seclusion. We need to manifest Christ in front of thousands of sinners, and we need to release Christ, minister Christ, and preach Christ from our spirit to the sinners. This is the genuine manifestation of Christ.
In 1949 when we were in Shanghai, almost all the brothers and sisters had some gospel tracts with them wherever they went. It seems that this practice is rare today. Some people who may be either truly spiritual or falsely spiritual say that these activities are human works. If these are human works, then may I ask you: What are divine works? Where are the works which they call “divine works”? Oh, we need to smash these concepts! How can we manifest Christ unless we preach the gospel to hundreds and thousands of sinners? As the Body of Christ, the church must take care of all aspects. We should have the zeal for the gospel. Today some have been speaking in tongues for months, yet they have not been able to save even one person, so what is the use of their speaking in tongues? We may be inarticulate in presenting the truths, but we can fellowship with the Lord in spirit, we can love Him, and we can also love the souls of sinners. If we earnestly preach our Lord from our spirit to the sinners, then we are those who truly know Christ and truly manifest Christ. I beg you to rise up and preach the gospel from now on.
Our preaching of the gospel is also a matter in the spirit. You must contact the spirit if you want to preach the gospel. Otherwise, you will not be able to lead people to salvation. If you present the truths to others according to your mind, you may be able to make them understand, but you cannot make them alive or cause them to be regenerated. To help others to be regenerated, your spirit must be living. Some brothers are very smart and intelligent, so when they preach the gospel, they use their reasoning. Instead of exercising and contacting the spirit, they argue with others by reasoning. After a great deal of argument, they are able to defeat their listeners. However, being defeated does not equal being saved. I have seen many who were defeated but remained unsaved. However, I have also seen another kind of story. There are two or three brothers who are simple-minded, and even though they are not good with words, they are burning in spirit. When they lead others to believe in the Lord, they do not care about preaching the truths logically. Instead, they simply help people to pray. After a time of prayer, even a person with a hardened heart can touch the spirit and be saved. Therefore, preaching the gospel is not a matter of exercising our intellect but a matter of exercising our spirit to touch others’ spirit.
Dear brothers and sisters, the power of the gospel lies not with the good presentation of the truth but with the release of the spirit. You must use your spirit to touch others’ spirit. If you are bustling in your mind but cold in your spirit, even though you are able to present the truth clearly, no one will be saved. In preaching the gospel, first, you must have “thick skin”; second, you must have a simple mind; and third, you must have a burning spirit. Even if others scold you and hate you, you will still preach the gospel. If you show great zeal toward others, once they touch the spirit, they will be saved. Only in this way can you manifest Christ in the preaching of the gospel.
(The Spirit in the Epistles, Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)