The Experience of Christ, by Witness Lee

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Verse 17 says, "But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice, and rejoice with you all" (Gk.). In this verse Paul seemed to be saying, "You Philippians are offering something to God. I would like to pour myself out as a drink offering upon your sacrifice." The thought here is quite deep. According to Leviticus, God ordained that His people offer Him daily five main offerings: the burnt offering, the meal offering, the peace offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering. However, in the first six chapters of Leviticus there is no mention of the drink offering because at that time the children of God did not have the adequate experience of Christ. In other words, at that time Christ was not in them as wine. When you pour yourself out as a drink offering, you need to have a great deal of wine within you. This means that much of Christ has been received into you. The drink offering is not only the objective Christ, like the Christ offered to God in the burnt offering or meal offering, but the subjective Christ who has been taken into us. To pour out the Christ we have experienced is to pour out the wine of the drink offering. As the lamb, Christ could be only the objective burnt offering, not the subjective drink offering. Therefore, Christ must be the wine we drink in so that we may pour Him out as the drink offering.

Paul seemed to be telling the Philippians, "How good it is that you are thinking the one thing and enjoying Christ. This enables you to have something to offer to God as a sacrifice. I would like to pour myself out as a drink offering upon your sacrifice. This means that I would like to pour out the Christ I have experienced upon your experience of Christ." This is what we in the church life need today. All the saints need to think the one thing in order to have the full enjoyment of Christ. Then when they come together, they will be able to offer Christ to God as a sacrifice. Moreover, the church also needs the apostles and the leading ones to have the abundant experience of Christ subjectively to pour out as a drink offering upon the saints’ offering. What a rich church life this is! When the children of Israel entered the good land, they had a great deal of wine to drink. Thus, they had the wine to pour out as a drink offering before God. This means that their experience and enjoyment of Christ had become much higher than it was the wilderness. In the church life, we have not only the Christ experienced by the saints and offered to God as offerings, but also upon these offerings the pouring out by the leading ones of the Christ they have experienced. This means that the enjoyment of Christ is poured upon the enjoyment of Christ. This produces a sweet-smelling savor to God. This is the church life that issues out of the full enjoyment of Christ. On the side of the Philippians, it was the sacrifice offered to God. On the side of the Apostle Paul, it was the drink offering. Both are the result of the enjoyment of Christ.

The result of the pouring out of the drink offering upon the offering of the saints is rejoicing. This is the experience of Christ for the church life. The leaders rejoice with the saints, and the saints rejoice with the leaders. We rejoice with one another, and we rejoice together. Because there is rejoicing, there is no murmuring, reasoning, weeping, or suffering. We all need to say, "Lord, recover us to such a high degree. Raise our meetings to such a standard that whenever we come together, many sacrifices will be offered to God and much wine will be poured out by the leaders upon the offerings of the saints." This is possible only by our thinking the one thing and by being one in soul.

(The Experience of Christ, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)