To the dead and dying church in Sardis the Lord introduces Himself as He who has the seven Spirits of God (to make the church intensely living) and the seven stars (to make the church intensely shining), as per Rev. 3:1.
The seven Spirits of God are not yet another Spirit but the Spirit of God, the life-giving Spirit, the consummated Spirit, who in the book of Revelation has been intensified sevenfold due to the degradation of the church. Just as a lamp can be turned up sevenfold to shine brighter because of the darkness around it, so the Spirit has been intensified sevenfold to counteract the degradation of the church.
According to Rev. 4:5, these seven Spirits are the seven lamps of fire burning before the throne of God; they are the seven burning flames, and they are the seven piercing, searching, eyes of the Lamb. To the dead and dying church, Christ comes as the One with the seven Spirits as the seven lamps of fire to burn us, and the seven eyes of the Lamb to search us.
We all need to open to the Lord and experience Him as the seven lamps of fire and the seven searching eyes so that we may be burned and searched. We need to not merely gain more knowledge about the condition and situation of the church but experience the Lord’s seven Spirits searching us and burning in us, searching and burning all our inward parts and our heart.
The Lord needs to get through in us: He is the One with the seven stars and the seven Spirits, and He wants to search us and burn in our being until we are fully purified, made living, and intensely shining as His testimony on the earth. It is good to open to the Lord and tell Him,
Lord, I need to be burned by Your Spirit. I need to be searched by the sevenfold intensified Spirit. Come as the Spirit and search all my inward parts with my motive, desires, intentions, thoughts, decisions, and everything within. I can’t go on living a routine Christian life and serving in a routine way in the church life. Search and burn in my being!
The Lord has the seven stars in His hand; these are the seven messengers in the churches. In the church life we should not care primarily about a position but about shining: we need to be those shining and living, the living stars in the Lord’s hand. Are the saints around us enjoying the Lord’s shining as they contact us, or do we just have demands on them and have some doctrines to share with them? We need to be the living stars that shine, those who are searched and burned by the seven Spirits of God.
The Seven Spirits and the Seven Stars enable us to be Intensely Living and Shining
The church in Sardis was living in name only, but in God’s eyes she was dead and dying; therefore, the Lord came to her as the One who has the seven Spirits (to make the church intensely living) and the seven stars (to make the church intensely shining).
On the one hand we need to overcome persecution by enjoying Christ as resurrection life (as seen in Smyrna), overcome worldliness by being transformed (as seen in Pergamos), and on the other hand we need to overcome spiritual death by being living.
Everything we do in the church life should be not in a routine or outward way but in a living way; we should pray livingly, sing livingly, preach the gospel livingly, and serve livingly. We need the Lord as the One with the seven stars and the seven Spirits to cause us to be intensely shining and intensely living.
We need to not be satisfied with where we are and with the situation in the meetings but pray for ourselves and the saints around us that we may have a genuine vitality, a genuine livingness, full of sensitivity.
We may be better than the Catholic church and our meetings may be more living than the meetings in the denominations, but we still have too much formality. Do you think the Lord is happy with the way we worship Him?
Is He pleased with the exercise of our spirit and the praises we offer Him? Are we up to the standard where the Lord wants us to be, being intensely living and shining? We need to be checked and calibrated by the Lord’s word to see whether we are living or dead.
The One who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars spoke to the church in Sardis (Rev. 3:1). The stars are the messengers; this means that the messengers should shine as the stars. In order to shine, they must be full of the intensified Spirit, the seven Spirits. Christ has the seven stars, and He has the seven Spirits as the supply to the stars so that the stars can shine. The seven Spirits are one with the seven stars, and the seven stars are one with the seven Spirits. If we have the living word as the morning star rising within us and if we are one with the seven Spirits, eventually we will become the stars. We not only have the star shining within us but also become the stars by looking to Christ as the star and by following in the Spirit. Witness Lee, The Conclusion of the New Testament, p. 4192
We need to give Christ the preeminence in our being and in our meetings, and we need to be saved from doing many works outwardly and being living in name yet dead before the Lord.
We need to be sensitive toward the Lord and toward the saints, giving Him the first place and allowing Him to shine in us as the seven Spirits to enliven us, and burn in us as the seven lamps to cause us to be shining.
May we be saved from having our own routine church life or spiritual agenda, meeting because we have a duty and doing things in the church life simply because it is our turn to; may we never replace the sevenfold intensified Spirit by dead letters of knowledge (2 Cor. 3:6).
We need the sevenfold intensified Spirit to burn and search us, and we need to not be satisfied with mere knowledge of the truth; merely knowing points of truth and reciting them without a living spirit means nothing – it is not good for the building up of the church.
We may know a lot, but what about our heart and our spirit? The Lord wants us to be burned and searched by Him as the sevenfold intensified Spirit so that we may be intensely living and intensely shining.
May the Lord recover us and deliver us from deadness, routine, and formality, and may our church life be upgraded to be in the livingness and shining of the Spirit.
Lord Jesus, visit us as the seven Spirits to keep us intensely living. Vitalize us and activate our spirit. We don’t want to have a passive and dull spirit. We come under Your shining and searching so that we may be made intensely living and intensely shining. Lord, we give You the preeminence, and we open to Your shining, Your searching, and Your burning as the sevenfold intensified Spirit. Deliver us from deadness, routine, and formality, and bring us into the livingness and shining of the Spirit!
We need the Spirit and the Church to have the Living Star and be Living and Shining
In the beginning of the New Testament there was only one shining star in the heavens leading the magi to the place where Christ was, but at the end of the New Testament we have seven stars in the seven local churches.
The stars are those who shine in the darkness and turn people from the wrong way to the right way (see Dan. 12:3). Those who have insight will shine like the shining of the heavenly expanse, and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
In this dark age the Lord has many shining stars, believers who shine and who bring others to righteousness, back to Christ as our righteousness and life. By our shining in the darkness today, people can receive light and guidance to be turned from the wrong way to the right way.
Based on Rev. 1:20 and 3:1, the stars are linked not only to the Spirit but also to the churches; therefore, if we would have the living star or the living stars, we need the Spirit and the church.
We cannot shine on our own, individualistically and apart from the Body of Christ; we need to be related to the Spirit and to the churches. We need to personally contact the Lord and allow the seven Spirits to shine, search, and burn in us to make us intensely living and shining, and we need to be properly related to the saints in the church life.
Our shining is by the burning of the seven Spirits, and it corresponds to the seven golden lampstands. We can’t shine independently, apart from the saints; we need both the burning of the Spirit and we need to be in the genuine local churches.
We need to let the Spirit shine on us, in us, and burn in us, and we need to be related, connected, and built up in the local churches for us to become the proper shining stars, the messengers in the local churches.
Being intensely living and shining is related to having the Spirit and being in the church; when the Spirit operates in us and we are built up in the church, we can be shining stars, even the messengers in the churches.
Lord Jesus, we aspire to be the living stars in Your hand, the messengers in the churches today. Shine in us and burn in us as the sevenfold intensified Spirit to make us intensely shining and living, and keep us in the genuine local churches today. May we be those who daily are under Your shining and burning, and who are properly related and connected with the saints in the local churches to become the proper shining stars, the messengers in the local churches today!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by brother James L. for this week, and portions from, The Conclusion of the New Testament, pp. 4192-4194 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Returning to the Orthodoxy of the Church (2016 fall ITERO), msg. 6 (week 6), The Church in Sardis.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Come, O seven Spirits, come, / Thy recovery work be done! / Burn and search us thoroughly, / All the churches are for Thee. / Burn us, search us, / All the churches are for Thee! (Hymns #1122)
# In the age of Revelation, / Out from all denomination, / We are in the local churches, / In spirit one. / Nothing old or religious binds, / Everyone’s a star that shines; / Every church a golden lampstand, / Burning with Christ. (Hymns #1264)
# Christ is coming as a judge, all His people to meet. / All our work He’ll test through fire before His judgement seat. / So burn in me today, Lord! I open to Your searching. / Burn the wood and fill with gold; I’m desperate for Your purging! (Song on Christ’s shining)
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