The Kingdom, by Witness Lee

More excerpts from this title...


The seed of being pure in heart is developed in 2 Timothy 2:22c: "With them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart." Here something is added to being pure in heart. That is, you must pursue righteousness, peace, and love with all those that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. There is not only the matter of a pure heart, but also the matter of calling out of such a pure heart. In Matthew 5 it only says pure in heart, but here Paul adds pursuing and calling on the Lord with others. Second Corinthians 3:16 says, "Nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away." The "it" in this verse refers to the heart in verse 15. Whenever our heart turns to the Lord, the veils are taken away. This is a further development of being pure in heart. It is having a heart that is turned to the Lord so that all the veils are gone.


The matter of making peace is developed in Hebrews 12:14: "Pursue peace with all men, and holiness without which no one shall see the Lord." Ephesians 4:3 says, "Being diligent to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace." Finally, James 3:18 says, "And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace." Peace and righteousness are always related. If we do not have righteousness, it is impossible for us to have peace. Righteousness must come first, and then peace will come. Why is there no peace on the earth? It is because there is no righteousness. Because the nations are not righteous, they have no peace. When we have the Lord Jesus, we have the real righteousness; then we have peace. This is why we must first pursue righteousness and then peace.


Acts 14:22 says: "Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." This verse says that we enter into the kingdom of God through much tribulation or much suffering. To suffer for righteousness is simply to suffer for the kingdom, because God’s kingdom is one of righteousness. Moreover, 2 Timothy 3:12 says, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." To live godly in Christ is to have the real righteousness. The real righteousness will cause a kind of suffering.


The seed of suffering for Christ is developed in Acts 5:41-42: "And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." Here the disciples rejoiced because they were counted worthy to suffer for Christ. The Lord Jesus told His disciples that when they were persecuted for His sake they should rejoice. Surely Peter and John believed the Lord and remembered what He told them on the mount. Thus they were rejoicing because of their suffering for Christ. Paul indicated that he suffered for Christ in Acts 20:19 and 24: "Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews...But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." These verses indicate that Paul was a brother willing to suffer everything for Christ, even the loss of his life.

From all these verses, we can see the development of the reality of the kingdom revealed in Matthew 5. As a conclusion to this point we need to read 2 Corinthians 6:4-10: "But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings; by pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, in a holy spirit (lit.), by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things." In verse 6 "holy spirit" should be in lower case indicating that our spirit has become a holy spirit. There is no article in the original language.

(The Kingdom, Chapter 43, by Witness Lee)