Today in our morning revival we start a new topic, The Increase of Christ for the Building up of the Church (based on the 2016 Memorial day Conference).
In our Christian life we need to be hungry for more of God, hungry for more of what He has to say to us, and poor in spirit all the time so that He may fill us with good things (Luke 1:53). Those who are hungry, He fills with good things, but those who are rich (or think they are rich) He sends away empty.
We may think we know what the increase of Christ is, but if we really open to the Lord and come poor in spirit to His living word, we will see something new and fresh. This week in particular we want to look at the book of Acts to see the increase of Christ in the continuation of the book of Acts.
The title of the book of Acts, that is, the main subject of Acts is, The Propagation of the Resurrected Christ in His Ascension, by the Spirit, through the Disciples, for the Producing of the Churches — The Kingdom of God (see, Recovery Version Bible, outline).
May we be open to the Lord who today is the Spirit of reality ready to guide us into all the reality. If we just open to Him so that He may guide us into all the reality of what the Triune God is, what the word of God reveals, and what the book of Acts speaks of, we will live a life in the reality of the book of Acts.
The book of Acts is NOT over; it still continues with us – we are today in the continuation of the book of Acts!
We are in the Continuation of the Book of Acts for the Increase of Christ Today
The Acts of the Apostles is a book without an ending because this book is still being continued for the increase of Christ! In Acts 28:31 we see that Paul spent two years in a rented dwelling in Rome and proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ unhindered.
The kingdom of God is simply the spreading of Christ as life to His believers to form a realm in which God rules in His life.
This book doesn’t say how Paul ended his course or how the other disciples were martyred for the Lord – it is “open-ended”, showing us that today all of us the believers in Christ are in the continuation of the book of Acts for the increase of Christ.
If you read the last chapter of Acts you feel as if the book was not concluded; this book doesn’t have an ending, because the acts of the apostles are still being continued with us! The book of Acts is not a record of the acts of Peter, John, James, or Paul, but the record of the work of God.
The Lord Jesus said in John 5:17, My Father is working until now, and I also am working. Since the rebellion of Christ and the fall of man, God has been working until now, and the Lord is also working.
God has been working, and the Lord Jesus is also working; He didn’t stop working after Acts 28, neither was the peak of His work only in the book of Acts; today God is still working, and the Lord Jesus works also. For four thousand years, God has been working in every century, and He is working today.
His work will go on until the kingdom of God will come in and the new heaven and new earth come into existence. What God is working and the Lord Jesus is working also is to gain an increase of Christ, that is, to bring in the kingdom of God. God wants to bring in His kingdom among men, to increase Christ in humanity.
The Old Testament sets the background and has the seeds of the divine work, and the New Testament clearly shows that God works tirelessly to work Christ into man so that He would obtain an enlarged corporate expression of Christ in humanity, which is the church, the Body of Christ, consummating in the New Jerusalem.
In the book of Acts we see many disciples who were one with God in His work, and in particular Peter, Paul, and John were prominent in carrying out God’s work; after Acts 28 there have been many more vessels of God who are still carrying on with His work – God’s work is continuing and has not stopped! Hallelujah!
Today we are in the continuation of the book of Acts for the increase of Christ in humanity and the spreading of Christ all over the earth.
Praise the Lord, today we are in the continuation of the book of Acts for the increase of Christ on earth. Lord, we want to cooperate with You for Your increase in us and Your spreading all over the earth for the bringing in of the kingdom of God on earth. We want to live in the reality of the book of Acts so that Christ would increase in humanity and God would get a kingdom on earth. Go on in us, Lord! Increase in us. Make us hungry and thirsty for You, open to You to increase in us as life and everything!
Being One with God’s Work in the Divine Stream Today for the Increase of Christ
It is wonderful to realize that the book of Acts is a record of the work of God, and after Acts 28 there are still many vessels who carry on with His work – God’s work is continuion and has not stopped. God’s work will go on until the kingdom and even until the new heaven and new earth; God is always advancing – He never stops!
If we see that God always advances and never stops, we will praise the Lord! Even in the New Jerusalem, we as His slaves will serve Him as priests (Rev. 22:3; cf. Acts 13:36).
The work of God in Acts and throughout the ages is typified and seen in the river of life flowing out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in Rev. 22:1. This river is the stream of God’s work, the divine stream; where this stream flows, there’s life and there’s the work of God.
In Acts we see the work of God, which is the work in the stream of the living water; where this stream flows, God brings in life, and His work follows. The divine stream flowed on Pentecost from God Himself into men in Jerusalem, from there it went to Antioch, then to the west, in Asia, and then to Macedonia, in Europe.
By His flowing, God works, preaches the gospel, brings people to be saved, and enlarges His kingdom. There’s no closing to the book of Acts because the stream of God’s work, the divine stream, is still flowing; the stream of God keeps flowing and never stops flowing!
The history of the church clearly shows us that this stream continues to flow from generation to generation, right up to this very day.
In this stream of the work of God from the throne we have God, the Lamb, life, fellowship, the Body of Christ, the testimony of Jesus, and the work of God. If we are in this stream we are in God, in life, in fellowship, in the testimony, and in the work of God. May this stream increase, and may we be ready to go along with the Lord in the stream, so that the stream of God’s work would have an unhindered flow in us and through us.
Do we have this stream flowing within us at this very moment? We may have had the flow of God but maybe we didn’t keep ourselves in this flow. Many times we are conscious of the fact that we are outside the stream of God, while at other times we can clearly feel that we are in the flow.
We just need to keep ourselves in the flowing of God’s work, in the divine stream. If we feel that we’re cut off from the stream, we need to come to the Lord and seek Him for the reason: Lord, why has the stream stopped flowing, and what do we need to deal with for the flow to continue?
If we have a feeling from the Lord that we need to not go to a certain place or stop doing a certain thing in order for the flow to continue, we need to be one with God in the stream and remain in the flow.
The work of the Holy Spirit in preaching Christ for His propagation, multiplication, and spread through the believers of Christ has not yet completed and needed to be continued for a long period of time!
Such an evangelistic work for Christ’s increase, propagation, multiplication, and spread is according to God’s New Testament economy for the producing of many sons for God (Rom. 8:29) that they might be the members of Christ to constitute His Body (Rom. 12:5) for the carrying out of God’s eternal plan and the fulfillment of His eternal will.
This is what the New Testament reveals in detail in the 21 Epistles and the book of Revelation, which follow the book of Acts, and this is what we should be doing today.
Lord Jesus, thank You for reaching us as the flowing stream of water of life, the stream of God’s work which flows from the throne of God and of the Lamb. We want to remain in the stream to enjoy God’s life and the fellowship of the Body of Christ and become the testimony of Jesus! Save us from any activity or thing that would hinder the flow of life. We want to go along with the divine stream and allow this stream to increase in us and flow through us for the building up of the church and the carryying out of God’s eternal plan!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by brother Ed Marks for this week, and portions from Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 37, ch. 20, as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, The Increase of Christ for the Building up of the Church (2016 Memorial day Weekend Conference), week 1 / msg. 1, The Increase of Christ in the Continuation of the Book of Acts.
- All Bible verses are taken from, Holy Bible Recovery Version. Further reading on the matter of the divine stream – see The Divine Stream (by W. Lee).
- Hymns on this topic:
# And He showed me a river / Of water of life, / Bright as crystal, / Proceeding out / Of the throne of God / And of the Lamb. / And Thou shalt make them to drink / Of the river of Thy pleasures. (Scripture Song)
# Not where we elect to go, / But where Jesus leads the way, / There the living waters flow, / There our darkness turns to day. (Hymns #907 by M. E. Barber)
# In the stream! in the stream! let us work / for the Lord, / By His mind, in His way, as revealed in / His Word; / In the flow of His life let us work with His / pow’r / For His Kingdom and Church in the time of His hour. (Hymns #909 by W. Lee)