THE LIVING AND ABIDING
WORD OF God
The Word of God, the Bible, is something very special. It is not an ordinary book but the living speaking of God. Anyone who wants to know the living God must confront this book; without coming to this book it is impossible to know the living God. Do not think that the Word is not important. Even man’s word is important. If I want to get to know you, I have to talk to you. If we do not talk to each other, we will not know each other. Brother, if we did not sit together and talk to each other during lunch, we would never have gotten to know each other. Of course, I might recognize your face because I have seen you before, but at least you have to open your mouth and introduce yourself to me, tell me who you are, where you came from, how old you are, etc. But if you had not opened your mouth, I could never have gotten to know you. With God, it is the same. Without His living Word, you can never get to know Him. The Bible is God’s speaking to mankind. Therefore, if you want to know God, it is expedient for you to come to this book.
The Two Trees in the Garden of Eden
What does the Bible tell us about the living Word? I would like to start with Genesis 2:9. Although this verse may be familiar to you, do not underestimate its significance: “And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” In the Garden of Eden, two trees stand out and are specifically mentioned in the verse above. One is the tree of life. You have to realize that this tree is very important. It is a very special tree called the “tree of life”. God placed man in the garden and wanted man to eat of the tree of life. But another tree is also mentioned, the tree of knowledge – the knowledge of good and evil. “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die’” (Genesis 2:16-17).
From the very beginning of the Bible, we see a very important principle: the principle of life, signified by the tree of life. This is very important with regards to Adam. On the sixth day, after God made Adam, God saw that everything He had made was “very good” (Gen. 1:31), especially referring to man. Yet the Word of God shows that one thing is lacking: man needs to take the life of God into him. The Bible calls God’s life the eternal life. So right at the beginning of the Bible we can see this principle: man must receive God Himself as life. By doing so, not only will man be complete, but he will be regenerated to become a son of God.
There is another tree, but this tree stands contrary to the life mentioned above. Since these two trees are contrary to each other, let us call this tree the tree of death. The Bible, however, did not call it the tree of death, but the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The mere name of this tree, the tree of knowledge of good and evil, shows that this tree is not very straight forward. It does not tell you what it really is, namely death! Death hides itself in another name; that name is the knowledge of good and evil. Is this knowledge good or not good? To have the knowledge of good and evil seems good. I do not think anybody would say that this is bad. But God clearly warned man not to eat of that tree, because “the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen. 1:17). This indicates that there is a severe consequence to eating of this tree – death!
The Effect of Death in Our Flesh
If the tree of life signifies God, who wants to be life to man, then this other tree must signify the sinful nature of Satan, which brings forth death in man. When man ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, sin entered in, and death through sin: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). Death here not only refers to the physical death, but more importantly the spiritual death. Death has much to do with Satan. He is the one who has the power of death (Heb. 2:14); death gradually eats you up, and in the end, you would end up in the lake of fire with him – the lake of fire is called the second death (Rev. 20:14). Therefore today, we not only have sin in us, but we also have death reigning in our flesh. This is why after man fell, he lost the desire for God. Even worse, he became an enemy of God (Rom. 5:10). Tell me, are you really for God? I cannot say that you are not for God, but in your daily life, you are not interested in God. When it comes to playing computer games, you are fully energized; but when it comes to doing spiritual things, you all of a sudden feel tired and sleepy, and start to think of a lot of other “more important” things to do.
Why is it that when it comes to praying, meeting, fellowshipping, reading the Word of God, preaching the gospel, all of a sudden, it seems you are paralyzed? You have no taste for it. There is just no energy to do these things. Why? It is because death reigns in your flesh, hindering you to do these spiritual things. Do not think that we as believers do not have this problem. We all have this problem. So what we desperately need today is this life of Christ in our spirit! This book, the Bible, is a book of life, which is able to give you the divine life of God.
Knowledge of the Scripture Does Not Give Life
This principle in Genesis 2 is the basic principle throughout the whole Bible. So when you come to the Bible and read it, you need to tell the Lord: “Lord, I want to receive life, not knowledge.” I have been telling people this for many years. Why? It is because once we get a taste of knowledge, and it enters into us, we get addicted to it. We love knowledge. It does not matter what kind of knowledge it is, you just love knowledge. Today, the whole world is built upon knowledge. Everybody loves knowledge. For science, you need knowledge. For society, you need knowledge. But when you come to the living God, and especially when you come to the living Word, the Bible, it is not a matter of knowledge. You may have acquired a lot of biblical knowledge, yet you may not necessarily have the life and the reality. The knowledge of the Bible itself does not give you life.
The whole Jewish religion at the time of Jesus proves to us that knowledge does not work. All the Pharisees, the scribes, the chief priests, even the Jewish people, possessed knowledge of the Bible. They were named scribes; they knew the five books of Moses, the Psalms and the prophets. They knew their history and were experts in the Scriptures. The Lord even told them that they search the Scriptures, yet they were not willing to go to Him to have life (John 5:39-40); for God Himself is the life. You may know the whole Bible, yet you have no life! If you want life, you must come to the living God. You have to be very clear about this matter. Here in the Bible, right from the beginning, God gave us a very serious warning: avoid the tree of knowledge and go straight to the tree of life! God is life. You must be one who has a desire for life, because without life, you really have nothing.
The Word Is God Himself
With this in mind, let us read John 1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (v. 1). When I was much younger reading the Bible, I felt that this verse was really strange. Who could understand this? But gradually, I realized that it is very simple and does not need much explanation. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God” – any word without God is useless. What we need is not the Word about God, but the Word with God. Without God, the Word has no function! So when you come to the Word, you must be sure that you are touching God, because the Word was with God. I do not only want to know about God. I want God Himself. The Word was with God! So whenever I come to this Word, I make sure I am aware that the Word was with God. The Word without the living God is just a dead letter or doctrine.
Not only was the Word with God, the Word must be God Himself! Very strange! Actually, it is very wonderful. I think the reason why God gave us this verse is to warn us that it is very possible to come to this Word, but God is not there. In the beginning was the Word. Is that good enough? No! The Word must be with God. Is that enough? No. You must go a step further! The Word must be God. What is the Word to you? Perhaps you come to the Word every day, but is it the living God to you? Do you just want to learn some knowledge or doctrine about Him? Or do you with your whole heart want the living God Himself? The Word must be the living God speaking to you. In other words, you must break through the Word to touch the living God. Only when you touch God will the Word become life to you. Then the Word becomes very powerful.
That is why John continues in verse 3: “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” All things were made through Him, namely the Word. This is a powerful Word! This Word created everything; it is God Himself, the Creator! Since the Word is God, this Word calls into being the reality of God’s spoken word into your being. For example, you know the Bible speaks about things such as love, patience, or holiness; but the knowledge of these things does not give you the reality of these attributes. How do we experience these attributes? Only when you touch God Himself in the Word, will these attributes become reality in your life. The living Word will produce the reality by calling it into being.
The Word of Life Gives Light
“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:4-5). Death and darkness are related. If a person dies, he enters into darkness. There is so much “spiritual” darkness in and around us. Fallen man needs the light of life. Jesus said in John 8:12, that He is the “light of the world,” and that those who follow Him “shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” Without light, no one can overcome darkness. Knowledge cannot overcome darkness; it has no power over darkness. Only the light of life can dispel the darkness. Do not be misled in this matter. Tell the Lord with your whole heart: “Lord, I want Your life. I don’t want just to have the knowledge; I want to have You as my life.” If you were given a choice of knowledge or life, which would you choose? You must learn to choose life!
The Christian religion today is in danger of being like the Jewish religion when the Lord Jesus was on this earth. Many have studied theology, have become Bible teachers and experts in interpreting the Scriptures; but the power and the light of life are not there. They do not recognize Christ, the Prince of Life. This life is the very God Himself, and this life shines. This life is the light of men and calls into being all the reality of Christ in your daily living.
Let us read in 1 John 1:1, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life.” When the Lord was on this earth, many heard Him but missed this life. They only saw something outward of the person of Jesus Christ, but did not realize that this person was life. Only a few realized that life was in Him. John was one of them and wrote, “The life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us…” (1 John 1:2). Especially in his gospel, John wrote that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us in Jesus Christ (John 1:14). Christ Himself was the life; and the disciples of the Lord really experienced this life. And this life is the light of men. Whatever He did and said, power came out of Him. He did so many wonderful works. This life was fully expressed. The disciples saw His holiness, His righteousness, the divine power and glory. Everything concerning this life was manifested in this person of Jesus Christ. Matthew wrote: “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death, light has dawned” (Matt. 4:16). This is the light of life! For many today, Jesus Christ is just the Savior, but not the indwelling divine life. But for His disciples, whatever Jesus did and expressed, that was life. Thus John wrote that Jesus is the “Word of life”.
You must know what the Word of God is offering you: not just salvation but also life. When you read the Word in the morning watch, what does it give you? Does it shine in you? Does it strengthen you? Does it have the strengthening effect on you the whole day? Do not let reading the Word become a mere religious obligation or routine – just reading it, close the book, say “Amen” and that is it. When you come to the Word, you must touch the living Lord in it! Then it will shine on you and give you life. It will have an effect on you! This is very important.
Jesus – the Bread of Life
In John 6:33-35, the Lord talks about the bread from heaven: “‘For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ Then they said to Him, ‘Lord, give us this bread always.’ And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life.’” This life was not separate from the Lord. He is the bread of life for us to take in and eat daily. This is very difficult to describe. In fact, no one can describe it; it depends on what you “see”. If you realize that the Lord as God’s Word is the bread of life, then you will come to this Word with the right attitude. You must have the real hunger, and you must use your spirit and faith to touch the living Word. Do not use your head to study it as the scribes did. I know we all like to study. That is why we always use the term: “Bible study”. Everybody likes to come to Bible studies; some call it “Life Studies.” But whatever you call it, they are all about studying God’s Word! Everyone likes to study it. What about the eating of the Word? Today, if you tell people that you eat the Word in the meeting, people do not understand it. But if you tell people that you have a Bible study class, they would like to come. If you say you have a Word-eating meeting, people may think you are strange. They may ask you what you mean. That will give you a very good opportunity to share with them John 6 – the Lord is the Bread of Life; and we enjoy the Lord Jesus as our food, especially through His Word.
“And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life’” (v. 35). Every time you come to the Word, you must tell the Lord, “Lord, I want to eat the heavenly bread.” This is very important. When you come to the Word, you must have a habit of eating the Lord in the Word of life. Then the Lord will speak to you, and the Spirit will supply you with the power and strength that you need. You will experience that His Word is effective, that it nourishes you, and gives you eternal life.
If we do not experience this hunger for life through eating the Word, then of course, we would naturally read the Word with our mind to get a lot of knowledge to satisfy our curiosity. You will then read the Bible with a view to know what everything means, how verses should be interpreted, what the original Greek text says, and wonder whether others have similar or different views. Reading the Bible this way does not give you life. Some say that if you do not understand the Bible, why read it? Of course, there are some things that you understand right away, and there are some things that you do not understand. It is easy to get knowledge today; there are so many books. But to get life, you must go to Him. You have to eat Him. You have to break through the printed letter to touch Him. It all depends on what you want. It may seem strange to do this, but if we eat God’s Word in this way, we will receive the true knowledge by His light and revelation.
Are you seeking for a method to read the Bible? Let me ask you this question: what is it exactly that you want? Do you want to touch God Himself in the Word? Or do you just want to gain some knowledge about Him? If you want Him, He will definitely come to you and shine upon you, since He is a living God. The spirit within you will react to His speaking. It is strange that the Bible does not give us a method for coming to His Word. It all depends on your attitude on how you come to the Word. You must go to the Lord Himself to receive life. Remember what the Lord Jesus said in John 5:39-40, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” You have to tell the Lord that you do not want anything else, but to touch Him and get life. Ask the Lord to shine on you and feed you.
Living by Every Word of God
Matthew 4:4 is related to John 6. Here when the Lord spoke about manna, He quoted Deuteronomy 8:3, “So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.”
In your daily life and in your church life, do you live by the Word of God? Can you live without His speaking? Does the Lord speak to you every day? It is just like the three meals you eat every day in order to live. If you do not eat, you would have trouble living and working. What about spiritually? Do you live by eating the Lord’s Word? Or can you live without His Word? In our daily living, we have to eat the Word of God. Tell Him, “Lord, You must speak to me. When I come to Your Word, I want to hear You and touch You and take in Your Word as my food!” This corresponds to what the prophet Jeremiah wrote: “Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts” (Jer. 15:16).
In order to help the Jews to understand how to eat Him, the Lord said in John 6:63: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” When He told them to eat Him, He did not mean literally for them to eat His flesh, but that they should take Him into their innermost part through His living Word. As young people, you need to form the habit of coming to the living Word in the morning and in the evening. Without this habit, you cannot live by His life. Without the Word, no one can live by Him and walk by the spirit. You may already be a Christian for thirty years or be in the church life for twenty or thirty years, but if you have not learned to live by the Word of God, you cannot experience His life. You may be a Christian for decades, yet you are still living yourself. When the Lord Jesus was on this earth, He lived by every word of God. There is no short cut and no better way to live Christ other than coming daily to the living Word of God. This Bible is a book of life.
The Word Is Our Spiritual Food
In 1 Corinthians 3:2 Paul says: “I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able.” For Paul, the Word of God is real spiritual food. It is amazing that he did not give a long message here. In his spirit and mind, his sharing the Word with the church in Corinth is nothing less than giving them organic spiritual nourishment – he was giving them food to eat and not just the right knowledge. This also means that the words Paul spoke to them were his reality. If these words were not his experience and reality, he could not have said those words. The Word worked in him. It was life for him. So when he was sharing with the churches, what he shared was something alive – something organic. He was not giving them some theological knowledge, but was dispensing spiritual food to them – something alive, and something strengthening and nourishing.
The apostle Peter said the same thing: “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Pet. 2:2-3). He had the same approach to the Word as Paul did. I really enjoy what Peter wrote: the pure milk of the word. For the apostles, the Word of God was something living. This is what all the young people should desire! In verse 3, Peter spoke about tasting. We need to taste the Word of life! Remember, when you approach the Word of God, you have to come to the Lord to taste and get this life. Do not worry about knowledge, because the knowledge will come along with eating this life. But you should choose life first, because life will give you light; and then your understanding will come out of life. Do not say, “Oh, I want to understand this and that!” The Spirit will teach you all things; the anointing will teach you; and His teaching is true and pure and will not mislead you. You can trust in the pure milk of the living Word.
In 2 Timothy 3:16, Paul says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” There is a footnote in verse 16 in the American Standard Version (ASV) saying that, “All Scripture is God breathed.” This means that when you read the Word of God, you must breathe in the Spirit of God. The breath of God is just the Spirit. Remember that after His resurrection, the Lord breathed into the disciples (John 20:22) and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” This is the breath of God. If you come to the Word and miss the breath of God, you are missing something essential. So when you come to God’s Word, you have to tell the Lord: “Lord, I want to breathe You in.” If you do not touch the breath of God, which is the Spirit, what do you get out of the Word? The Word might be good for teaching and for reproach, but without the breath, it is not living. It is the breath of God that will give you life. Tell the Lord, “Lord, breathe upon me. I need Your breath all the time.” If you come to the Word in this way, the Word will be life to you.
Paul said in Colossians 3:16,“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” And Psalms 119:11 says, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” Remember, it is not the knowledge but the life that will keep you! Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.
Eat the Word by Prayer
In Ephesians 6:17-18 Paul writes:“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” The best way to read the Word of God for life is by prayer. Study less, but pray more! On the one hand you read, on the other you pray. You pray and read. Prayreading does not just mean saying “Amen” to the Word of God. Praying here means you open up your heart to Him. You talk to the Lord while you read. For example, Paul writes a few verses earlier in Ephesians 6:10, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” When you are reading the first part of the verse, “Be strong in the Lord…” you might think: “How, Lord? I am so weak!” But if instead you simply pray: “Be strong in the Lord – Amen, Lord, I believe in Your Word! Strengthen me that I might experience this verse. I want to be strong in You!” Then the Spirit will move in you, and you will experience the power of His might. Another example would be “Put on the whole armor of God. Amen, Lord, I want to put on the whole armor!” You do not need to say a complicated prayer. If you have a praying spirit as you read the Word, it makes a big of difference. Do not underestimate such a prayer.
Hebrews 4:2 says: “For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” How do you mingle the Word with faith? By prayer! That is the most effective way. When you pray, you are exercising your spirit of faith. Then while you are reading, you mingle faith with the Word you are reading, and this Word will become living to you.
Finally, I would like to mention some verses in 2 Peter 1, “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation” (v. 20). Beware of your own interpretation. I do not mean we should not interpret the Bible, but when we read the Word of God, we should not try to understand it in any way. You need to pray. You need to respect the Word of God. You need to have a godly fear to not interpret the Word of God in a loose way. Ask the Lord to enlighten you and teach you. “For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (v. 21). So our understanding of the Word of God must also come through the Holy Spirit. The one who speaks it spoke through the Holy Spirit, and the one who reads must also read it through the Holy Spirit. This is a very, very important principle. If you are not in touch with the spirit, in the end you will have a lot of strange and wrong teachings. Everyone will have his own teachings, and there will be a lot of confusion, problems and division in the church.
There is one more warning in 1 Timothy 6:3-4: “If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions.” Paul talked about sound, healthy words. This means that the Word of God makes us spiritually healthy, gives us life, and is something organic. If it does not give you life, it is useless. Knowledge and teachings cause us to argue and fight. It does not make you godly. Any word that is full of life would conform to godliness. Praise the Lord! May the Lord help us to have the proper attitude towards the Word of God. I would like to see the young people especially to come to this precious Word day by day in this living way.
THE TREE OF LIFE
We have seen the Tree of Life with an emphasis on the Word of God. I would like to come back to the Tree of Life, because this is God’s unique way to fulfill His eternal purpose with man. Without God’s life, it is impossible for fallen man to cooperate with God to accomplish God’s will. It is very difficult to explain to people that the knowledge of the Word by itself does not work and has no effect. Man needs to receive God’s life!
The Bible illustrates this principle with God’s people and their relationship to the Law. Why is it that the Law could not perfect God’s people? They all knew the Law very well – they were teachers of the Law and loved the Law. They even memorized it and taught it, yet it did not work. They still failed to keep the Law. Why did it not work? Paul gave us the answer in Galatians 3:21b: “For if there had been a law given which could have given [God’s] life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.”
The problem was not that the Law was not good or not holy; nor was the problem that the people did not understand the Law. The problem lay therein that the Law could not dispense God’s life to the listeners or the readers!
When the Lord Jesus came on this earth and ushered in the new covenant, it was no longer about the letter of the Law, but about the Spirit that gives life. His life is the key. Only Christ as our life works! Even humanly speaking, my possessions and anything I have learned will not help me if I am not alive. Once a person dies and no longer has life, whatever he acquired is of no use anymore. So life is the most important factor; and spiritually, God’s life is most important for mankind.
For this reason, in Genesis 2, God placed the tree of life in the middle of the garden. Its position shows that the tree of life was the most important. However, God did not force Adam to eat of it. God wanted Adam to make a choice. He could choose life, or he could choose to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which would result in death. Unfortunately, man, having been deceived by the serpent, chose death. Today, as a Christian, you have to make a choice too. Every time when you come to God’s Word, what do you want to receive? Teaching, doctrine and knowledge? Or do you want God’s life? God will not force you. The Lord says: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). Without the Spirit of God, there is no divine life. Unfortunately, after man’s fall, man became addicted to knowledge. We want knowledge. In this world, you need knowledge. But spiritually, in the spiritual realm, you need God’s life. God’s life must come into you first, not the knowledge. If you choose the knowledge, the result is death. If you choose life, I have no doubt that you will also get the proper knowledge concerning Him.
Not Gathering Knowledge, but Touching Life
It is very easy to get the knowledge. There are so many books available today for all to read. What I am concerned with is whether you receive life when you come to the Bible. If you are not getting life while reading the Bible, it is because you do not have a hunger in your heart for the living Christ. You have to realize there is a part in us that is fallen. Our soul-life, our self, our corrupted love, our concepts – they are all fallen. And we also have our fallen flesh. Therefore, it is very easy for us to fall into knowledge traps. I want to remind you again of John 5:39-40, where the Lord told the Pharisees and scribes: “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” Everybody likes to search the Scriptures. I do not think there is anyone here who does not search the Scriptures. If I were to ask you what you do in the young people’s meeting, you would answer that you study the Bible. You would not say that you are eating the Word there. For Sunday morning meetings, you would respond by saying that there was a message spoken – you would not say that you are eating Christ. I do not think any of you would tell your friends that you are eating Christ in the meeting. It is hard to do that, because it is just not in our concept.
When you have morning watch in the morning, are you eating Christ? Are you partaking of the tree of life? Do you have such a hunger for life? It is very important. Let us look at this verse again: “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life” (John 5:39). Many of us “think” that when we search the Scriptures, life would automatically come. But what did the Lord say? “But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (John 5:40). That means you study and might even memorize the Bible, but you still do not get any life. To get life, you have to come to Him directly. Life comes from the living Christ. If you want life, you have to go to Him. There is no other way to get life; not by studying the Bible, interpreting the Bible or understanding what it means. You can understand so many verses in the Bible, yet it may still not give life to you, unless you come to Him. This is not my teaching, but the Lord is pointing this out to us today: “Yet you will not come to Me that you may have life!”
Certainly the scribes knew and understood the Bible. But even though they knew from Micah 5:2 that the Lord was to be born in Bethlehem, they did not go there to see Him. On the contrary, the wise men from the East did not know the Bible, but they went to Bethlehem to see the newborn King of the Jews. Of course you may say it is good to know and to go too. I agree. But if you just know and you do not go, you will not get life. Most of the time, we know what is right, and yet we do the wrong thing.
Eating Christ as Life
In John 6, the Lord spoke a very important word, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven” (v. 32). During Moses’s time, God wonderfully fed the people of Israel with manna in the wilderness. But in the verse above, we see that the manna then was not yet the true bread from heaven. Jesus then continued to say to them, “I am the bread of life” (v. 35). The Lord Jesus is the true bread of life from heaven! This means that we must eat and take the Lord in His Word as food into us. Earlier in the chapter, Jesus fed five thousand with just five barley loaves and two fishes. The people He fed come back to look for Him, and Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled” (v. 26). Is that not amazing? The Lord fed the thousands so that He could show them that He is the real food. The Lord uses the word “food”, spiritual food, which brings us back to the tree of life in Genesis 2. It is something organic. You have to learn to eat spiritually. It seems very strange, but it is very wonderful! The Lord told them, “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him” (v. 27). They responded by asking, “What shall we do that we may work the works of God?” (v. 28). The Lord was talking about eating, but they wanted to do works. The Lord then had to lead them to eating again, and turned them from their knowledge to Himself, the true bread of life.
Can you imagine, out of so many trees in the Garden of Eden, there is only one tree unlike any other tree there, called the tree of life. Why did the Lord do that? Because the Lord is trying to tell us something important – He is our real food. It is just like our physical food. You all ate dinner tonight. Did you enjoy the food or did you analyze the food? Of course you ate it and did not analyze it. Then why do you analyze the Word and not open your hearts to the Lord and tell Him, “Lord, I come to You. I need spiritual food. Be my life. I need spiritual strengthening. I need power to overcome and to live Christ, to be transformed. Lord, fill me!”
Knowledge cannot change us. Just the knowledge of God’s Word cannot give you the power of life. Only the Spirit of life can strengthen and fill you. Paul spoke of the exceeding greatness of the power of the resurrected Christ (Eph. 1:19-20) – where did it come from? It did not come from studying, but it came from the living Christ! So the Lord used the tree of life in the Garden of Eden to show us that we have to eat Christ, just as we have to eat our physical food. You have to learn to take Christ in, assimilate Christ and digest Him.
Why do we have the bread at the Lord’s table every Sunday? The bread is there to remind you that our Christ is edible. You must be a person eating Christ every day, having a hunger for Christ every day. It would be terrible if a Christian does not have an appetite for the living Christ. Especially the young brothers have a big appetite. I do not know how many bowls of rice they eat. I am sure they can eat a lot. But what about your appetite for Christ? I want to see you all have such an appetite for Christ, “Lord, I want You to fill me! I want to hear You! I want to feel You! I want to experience Your strength in my spirit!” This is a normal Christian life!
The Living Bread from Heaven
“Then Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world’. Then they said to Him, ‘Lord, give us this bread always’. And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst’” (John 6:32-35). This is wonderful! You have to learn to eat Jesus. You have to learn to eat His humanity. He is the heavenly manna. He is the unleavened bread. Christ is the bread of life!
“I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?” Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever” (John 6:51-58).
You need to eat this chapter many times! Count how many times the Lord said, “Eat!” It seems that the Lord is pounding this concept of eating into us.
“On hearing it, many of his disciples said, ‘This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?’ Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, ‘Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before?’” (John 6:60-62). Why did the Lord say this? He said this because He knew He would go through death, resurrection and ascension to then enter into them as the Spirit. This Spirit has all these aspects of Christ and has been poured out into us. As the Spirit, He can be food to us. If you want to experience the death of Christ, you have to be in spirit, because everything that the Lord is, is found in the Spirit, who now lives in your human Spirit.
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). This food is in the Spirit that gives life. If you do not touch the Spirit in your spirit, you have no life. The Lord of course did not mean that they should come to take a bite of his flesh right there. How many people would His flesh possibly feed? There were ten thousand people gathered there. It would seem like cannibalism. So these people wondered: “How can this man give His flesh for us to eat?” (v. 52). The Lord answered that He did not mean the physical flesh. The flesh profits nothing, but it is the Spirit that gives life. After going through such a process of death, resurrection and ascension, the Lord became the life-giving Spirit. The life is in the Spirit, and the Spirit is in His Word. That is why in verse 63 He said, “The words that I speak to you are Spirit, and they are life.”
So today you need the Spirit in order to touch life. You must come to Him. If you are not hungry for this life, if you have no desire to touch this life, and all you want is to know what this and that word means, only seeking some doctrine and knowledge, you will definitely not receive life.
Using Your Spirit to Eat the Lord
I hope you will develop a new awareness for the concept of eating. You have something much deeper than your mind. Deep within your being, there is your human spirit, and you must learn to use it. If you just use your mind to study the Bible, this will not give you life, because it is the Spirit of the Lord that gives life.
Young brothers and sisters, you must realize that man was created in a wonderful way. You not only have a body and a soul, but deep within your being, you have a spirit. This is very important. If you do not know how to use your spirit and do not have the desire to use the spirit, and you just come to the Word with your mind, then you will just seek knowledge and try to figure out what different books say about the Bible. For science, for biology and all your courses at school, yes, you definitely need your mind. But for spiritual matters and life, you must learn to use your spirit, not only your mind.
When you eat, where does the food go? Up to the head? What did you eat tonight? Fish? Did you push the fish up to your head? When you study about the fish, yes, it goes to your head, but it will not satisfy the hunger in your stomach to give you the physical life supply and strength; but when you eat, the fish goes into your stomach. When you study the Bible, it goes to your head, but if you eat the Word, it goes into your spirit, and you receive life!
I know in Europe, some studied theology because they believed in the Lord. But after studying for a couple of years, they became atheist. Why? Because they just studied and analyzed with their mind! They were trained to doubt, to ask, “What is this? And what is that? Did Jesus really walk on the sea? How was it possible? How can the dead rise?” What is the outcome of such studying and analyzing? The Lord already said that if you eat of the tree of knowledge, you shall surely die! But when you simply eat and enjoy spiritual food, the Word goes into your Spirit as nourishment to strengthen your whole being. This is the way to get life.
Right afterwards John 6:66-67 says: “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you also want to go away?’” In other words, the Lord was saying to them: “Why are you still here? Everybody has left. What are you doing here?” Why did the Lord ask them this question? Because the Lord wanted to hear Peter speak these words: “But Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life’” (v. 68). Many left because they only wanted to see the outward miracles which the Lord did. They only wanted to hear His preaching and teachings. But only His close disciples had truly touched His words of life!
John 3 talks about being born again. To be born again is a matter of life. But if you are just born again and do not learn to nurture the eternal life in your spirit, how can your spiritual life grow? Again this matter brings you back to the tree of life in Genesis 2. The matter of eating is very important.
Christ, our Passover Feast, the Feast of the Unleavened Bread,
and the Reality of All the Offerings
The Bible is full of examples of eating. Remember when the children of Israel were coming out of Egypt, what did they do shortly before they left? In Egypt, they did not have the manna, but they had the Passover lamb. They not only slaughtered the lamb, but were required to eat the lamb. 1 Corinthians 5:7 tells us that the Lord Jesus is our Passover lamb, but do we eat Him as such? We all know that the Lord died for us, but why did He die? The lamb had to be slain, so that it could be prepared and eaten. With the lamb, they also had to eat unleavened bread and bitter herbs to heal them. So they had the lamb, the herbs, and also the unleavened bread. What a wonderful meal!
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5:7-8: “Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
What is this unleavened bread? It is the wonderful and perfect humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is also the wonderful showbread as food for the priests. Do you see how the Bible is full of eating?
Tell me honestly, are you consciously eating Christ as the unleavened bread? Are you feasting, celebrating that feast? I do not think that many of you have this desire and concept. Because if you did, and you were keeping the feast and eating the unleavened bread, you would do away with a lot of concepts, since eating the unleavened bread would get rid of the leaven in you, including your wrong concepts. I hope you all get the point! The Bible is full of eating.
In the Bible, there are also many kinds of offerings. There are five main offerings. In addition, you have the wave offering and the heave offering. There are so many kinds of food for God’s people to eat. In the wilderness, the children of Israel ate manna and drank from the rock. In the New Testament, Paul was one who really knew how to eat and experience all the spiritual food. In 1 Corinthians 10:3-4, he speaks about the children of Israel who “all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.” Do you drink of this spiritual drink every day? They drank of the spiritual Rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ. Are we drinking of this Christ? Brother, are you drinking of Him every day when you are in the army? How can you drink this spiritual drink? First, you must have a thirst for Him. And when you are thirsty, cry out and call upon His name!
Eating and Drinking the Lord
In John 7:37-39 we read: “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”
“Eating” and “drinking” are common words used in the whole Bible. You need to have this concept wrought into your mind, into your heart, and into your innermost being, and then you need to practice it! You have to tell the Lord: “I want to eat You and drink of Your Spirit!” Again, this will bring you back to the tree of life and the water of life in Genesis 2. Eating and drinking should accompany your whole Christian life. Otherwise, you will become a miserable Christian with a lot of knowledge of the Bible, but no life. You will be a frustrated Christian. Yes, you may be a believer, but you are not strong and are always defeated. Do you want to be such a Christian in God’s house? In God’s house there should be a lot of food. I always say that the most wonderful place in the house is the kitchen. My wife and I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. That is the most important part of the house because the food is there. That is how you survive! You eat and you drink. If you do not know how to eat and drink, it is no wonder that you are not a happy Christian. You do not laugh or smile; you do not shine because you are undernourished. If you are nourished, you will be happy and shining; you will be satisfied.
We saw the eating in the very beginning of the Bible and throughout the Bible. Now, let us go to the end of the Bible. Revelation 2 says: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says” (v. 7a) – not what the Bible says, but what the Spirit says. Just to get a teaching or doctrine from the Bible is not good enough. You must have the speaking of the Spirit – you must hear what the Spirit says through His Word: “He who has ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God” (Rev. 2:7). Does God’s Word say, “To him who overcomes, I will give him materials to study?” No. God will give him to eat of the tree of life. Do you not like to eat? Learn to eat of the tree of life.
In Revelation 2:17a it says: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat.” Again, it mentions eating!
Revelation 3:20 also talks about eating: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” What does it say? I will study the Bible with him? No! I will dine with him. What kind of food? Spiritual food. The Lord will prepare a wonderful spiritual meal for you. This is exactly what the Lord wants us to do. You should not be having a Bible study class, but a dining meeting!
And what will the Lord do with those who are raptured to Himself at the throne of God in Revelation 7? “They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters” (Rev. 7:16-17a). Praise the Lord! This is where the Lord wants to lead you – not to the Bible school, but to the fountain of the water of life.
What will happen to the rest of the Christians who have lived in the past who were not raptured to the throne – the woman who fled to the wilderness in Revelation 12:6? “Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.” Would she be going to Bible lessons for 1260 days? No, she has to go to the wilderness for 3 ½ years to be nourished, because she was undernourished.
Jumping to Revelation 22:1-2: “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” Here we see the tree of life. Its fruits are for us to enjoy and eat. I really hope that we will all learn to taste and enjoy all the riches of Christ and the fruit of the Spirit. This should be our real enjoyment.
Of course Revelation 22:17 says: “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires this, let him take the water of life freely.” Let him who wants to study come? No. Let him who thirsts come, and let him take the water of life freely!
Revelation 22:14 says, “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.” To what will they have the right? Studying and searching the Scriptures? No. They may have the right to the tree of life and may enter through the gates into the city. You have to wash, eat and build!
That is the way to enter into the city – to be built in. Then we can fulfill God’s wonderful purpose to build the city.
Eating and drinking is what the Bible is all about! Eat! Drink! From the very beginning to the very end of the Bible, it is a book of eating and drinking. This book is a heavenly menu, preparing a heavenly meal for us to eat. So I wish you a good appetite. Praise the Lord!
THE SPIRIT OF MAN
Verses: Job 32:8; Prov. 20:27; Ezek. 36:26-27; John 3:6;4:23-24; 7:37-39; 20:22; 1 Cor. 6:17; 2:10-15; Col. 2:9; Eph. 3:4-5; 1:17-18a; 2:22; 5:18; 6:18a; Gal. 5:16, 22, 24-25
I have a burden especially for the young people to share something very basic but very important: the spirit in man. Man has a human spirit. This fact is important, because anything related to the living God is spiritual. There are at least three levels that man has to deal with: the physical and material world, the psychological world belonging to the soul, and the spiritual world.
We can touch and handle the physical world. We all know of the psychological world that we cannot touch, but we still deal with it and experience it. The world of the soul is real and complex. What about the spiritual world? Many say it is not tangible and cannot be experienced. Although you cannot see this realm with your eyes, it is also very real and experiential. Can you see God? No! But He is real. Many people say, “Because I can’t see God, He is not real.” But it is very strange because many who do not believe in God are afraid of demons! The demons belong to the spiritual world. They exist. There is a spiritual world.
Man’s outward physical body enables him to contact the physical world and to be very active in it. Man also has a soul – he can use his intelligence for science; he has many emotions like love and hate; and he has his will to choose what to do. That is encompassed in the realm of the soul. It is practical and tangible. But when God created man, He created a spirit in the innermost part of man. Without this spirit, man cannot contact the spiritual world. So if you do not understand and know your spirit today, how can you communicate with the living God? This is why we read in Job 32:8, “But there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding.”
1 Thessalonians 5:23 shows us clearly that man has three parts: “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Indeed, we have three parts.
When God warned man not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, He said, “You shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17). Unfortunately, man ate of that tree and fell. Sin entered into him and dwelt in his flesh (Rom. 5:12; 7:20, 23). Man’s spirit was deadened and his fellowship with the living God was cut off. Man’s heart became hardened and wicked (Jer. 17:9; Eph. 4:18). But in Ezekiel 36:26-27 the Lord promised, “I will give you a new heart and put a new Spirit within you…And I will put My Spirit within you.” Without the spirit, the heart alone cannot work properly. According to Peter, the human Spirit is the hidden man of the heart (1 Pet. 3:4). You need a new heart, but you also need a new spirit. The new heart is for the new spirit. Praise the Lord that today in the New Testament age, all the believers have been regenerated, by being born of the Spirit. Through regeneration, they have received a new heart and a new spirit, and the Spirit of the Lord came into their human spirit to dwell there. In John 3:6 we read: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Now we can understand why man needs to receive salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. By believing and receiving Christ, his sins are forgiven, and his heart is cleansed; his spirit is then regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Then he will be able to experience the spiritual realm and understand the things of God.
1 Corinthians 6:17 says: “But He who is joined to the Lord is one Spirit with Him.” This is exactly according to what is said in Ezekiel 36:26, “I will…put a new spirit within you…I will put My Spirit within you.” The Lord said, what is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is the human spirit. So man’s spirit is joined unto the Holy Spirit as one spirit. If we do not pursue this and know this, how can we fellowship with the living God? God is Spirit and they that worship Him must worship in spirit (John 4:23-24). If you only use your mind to try to think about God, that is not enough. It is just like trying to listen to the radio wave directly with your ears, which is impossible. You need a “receiver”. God wants to have fellowship with you in and through the spirit. There is no other way. If you just read the Bible and search for knowledge and doctrine, your head will just be filled with knowledge, and you will be “puffed up”. You are using the wrong part of your being to touch God. You need to use your spirit and not just your mind!
A Strong Spirit
Many people care for their bodies by working out and exercising. They pay a lot of attention to their bodies. Paul did not object to it. He said that bodily exercise profits a little. Others do not want to compete in the realm of physical strength but with intelligence; they exercise their minds and are full of knowledge. But the Bible shows us we also have a spirit. The Bible calls our spirit the inner hidden man of the heart. Since our spirit is so important, why do we not take care of our spirit so that we would gradually grow up to be rooted and grounded in the Lord, and that the Lord would expand from our spirit into our hearts and dwell there? Do not think, “Oh, Christ lives in my heart” – as if it were so simple. Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:16-17 that if our inner man is not strengthened, Christ cannot dwell in our hearts because we would not permit Him to. Our inner man must be strengthened, so the Lord can dwell in our hearts. If your inner man is weak, you would not allow Christ to dwell in your heart. You would think, desire and choose your own way.
Brothers and sisters, man’s spirit – the inner man – is very important. If you do not learn to live in the spirit, but instead you live yourself each day, not only will you have many problems in yourself, but you will also bring along many problems with you into the church.
The church is spiritual. What does that mean? It means that the nature of the church is spiritual. So we need to build it up with our Spirit. This is important. If our spirit were not strong, there would be a lot of problems and division in the church. So if we do not practice to eat the Lord and drink the Spirit, and we do not have fellowship with the Lord daily, how can we be strong in our spirit? If you do not eat for a week, do you think you can be strong in your body? Definitely not! Similarly, the spirit of man must be nourished daily to be strong.
The True Worship of the Father – in Spirit
In John 4:23-24 we read: “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth.” God is Spirit. He belongs to the spiritual realm. For this reason we must worship the Father with and in our spirit. Today, the true worship is not a physical place – it is not restricted to a physical place; although we do need a place to meet as Christians. In the Old Testament age, God’s people had to worship Him in a set place, which was Jerusalem. But today, in the New Testament, the true place of worship is in our spirit, not some physical place. If you were just in a meeting place, but not in your spirit, you are not worshiping in reality. If we were not living and walking in the spirit, and not nurturing our spirit, how could we worship God? God will not accept just some kind of outward worship. It is not adequate just to use our mind and emotion to remember and to love God. It does not mean that we should not use our emotion and mind, but it means that using these faculties alone is not adequate. You have to go deeper than these and enter into your spirit, because the living God dwells in your spirit. God desires such people to worship Him in Spirit and reality.
What kind of worshipper do you want to be today? You know yourself – how much do you live in your spirit each day? Do you pay attention to your spirit? You have to pray: “Lord, help me! You live in my Spirit. Help me to know my spirit. Remind me each day to exercise my spirit so that my spirit may be strong because Your Spirit dwells in my spirit.” This is the only way for us to enter into the fellowship with God – that is the true fellowship of the Spirit. Without being in the spirit, we cannot touch Him, and there is no other way for Him to supply us with Himself. We must know how to live and walk in spirit (Gal. 5:16).
The Importance of Coming to God’s Word as the Breath of God
Man’s spirit needs the breath of God. In Job 32:8 we see that man’s spirit needs God’s breath in order to become alive and know God. In fact, when God made man the most important part of creating man was when God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life (Gen. 2:7), so that man would become a living being. This is also what the Lord did to His disciples after His resurrection in John 20:22, “…He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” Every human being needs to breathe air in order to live. In the same way, we need God’s breath all the time to live spiritually! How many times a day do you breathe? Constantly. Now let me ask you, how much do you breathe the divine breath in your spirit each day? Do you not need to breathe God’s breath each day? 2 Timothy 3:16 (NIV) says that every Word of God is God-breathed (Greek). So when you come to the Word, you must pray to the Lord: “Lord, breathe Your breath into me!” Previously we saw that the Lord is our real food and that we need to eat and drink Christ to be nourished. Likewise, we must breathe in Christ! Do you believe this is possible? This is what God’s Word tells us to do.
Every day, you need to come to God’s Word to be nourished. The Word is living and is the breath of God, which is God Himself. When you come to the Word, you should not only have a desire to understand but to be a doer of the Word too (James 1:22a). For this, you need the living breath of God. Many people know a lot, but they cannot live it out. When you come to the Word, tell the Lord: “Breathe upon me, in order that Your Spirit of life would strengthen me!” Only in this way can
you live out His Word.
Living and Walking by the Spirit
Ezekiel 36:27-28 tells us that God has given us a new heart and a new spirit; He has put His Spirit in us to cause us to walk in His statutes, to keep His judgments and to do them. Only His Spirit in your Spirit can enable you to practice and do His will. When your spirit is strong, you can do things according to God’s desire. Otherwise, you will be presumptuous and do what is right in your own eyes.
The Lord can reveal much, but if you do not know the spirit and do not care to learn to live in the spirit, your inner man would not be strong; and there would be no way for you to carry out His Word. You need strength to work. For worldly things, if you are sick and weak, can you work? No. Likewise, if you are not strong and healthy in the spirit, how can you do spiritual things? Mere knowledge is not enough – the more you know, the more you would criticize and cause trouble. What good is criticism? Just be a person living in the spirit and walking according to the Spirit. Then you will live out Christ and do God’s will. This is what we desperately need today. The building up of the church depends on that!
For this reason Paul wrote in Galatians 5:16a: “Walk in the Spirit.” Walk and live in the Spirit. Where is the Holy Spirit? He is living in your spirit, so you must walk in your spirit in order to bear the fruit of the Spirit which is “…love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23). Do you have love and joy? Do you have peace – peace in the family? Do you have longsuffering? Kindness? Goodness? Or do you like to quarrel and lose your temper often? In the spirit, you will certainly be good and kind. Tell me, is it not good to live in the spirit? If you do not live in your Spirit, you will for sure live in the flesh. Then you will fight wherever you are, and there will be no peace. You will lose your temper and breathe fire out of your mouth! You will be steaming like a steamer! That is not good. Why do you not want to live in the spirit? Why do you want to live in yourself and in your flesh? Since we are born again, since we have been made alive, since the Holy Spirit lives in our spirit, why do we still want to be fleshly, natural Christians? Remember what Paul told us in 1 Corinthians 2: there are fleshly and natural Christians. But we want to be the spiritual Christians.
Yes, we want to be spiritual, that is, to be those who live in the spirit. A spiritual man can discern all things. Paul said in Galatians 5:25: “If we have life in the spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” Paul also said in verse 24: “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Do not live in your flesh but in your spirit today. In the house of God, let us all be spiritual men. Then the house of God can be built up. May the Lord have mercy on us that our spirits would all be stirred up for the building up of God’s spiritual house. Praise the Lord! J.S.
This booklet is an excerpt from the December Conference 2009 in Singapore.