In speaking to the church in Smyrna, the Lord said of Himself that He is the First and the Last, who became dead and lived again; as the resurrected Christ, He is living in us and among us, and we as the church are living as He is, full of life and overcoming any death. What an encouraging word this was to the suffering church!
The church in Smyrna was suffering persecution and tribulation, even martyrdom, and the Lord said that He is the One who created and will complete the entire universe; He is the One who was incarnated, lived on earth, was crucified, and resurrected. Such a vision of Christ sustains the martyrs to stand in their sufferings.
Today we may not be in a physical confinement or be persecuted because of our faith in the Lord, but the Lord has measured to us all a certain portion of sufferings and persecution for the sake of the church.
We need to have a vision of the Lord Jesus as the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End; He will accomplish what He has begun, and He will bring to consummation what He has started in us and with us in the church life in the Lord’s recovery.
Hallelujah, Christ became dead and now He is living again – He is the living One (Rev. 1:18). Death could not hold Him: death tried, but Christ broke through and was released from the pangs of death, and it was impossible for death to hold Him back (Acts 2:24).
Hallelujah, our Christ not only died: He resurrected, He broke through death, and now He is the Spirit – a life-giving Spirit – in our spirit, constantly imparting the resurrection life into all the parts of our tripartite being!
We may have trials, tribulations, difficulties, and persecutions, but the resurrection life in us cannot be held back by all these things. The attack of death will not stop until death will be cast into the lake of fire; but no matter how hard the gates of Hades fight against the built-up church, they will not prevail! Hallelujah!
Since the Resurrected Christ lives in us, the Churches are Living, Overcoming Death
We need to look up and away to the Lord Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith; this One today is the living One – He became dead, but now He is living forever and ever.
The Christ whom we enjoy, the Christ who walks in the midst of the churches, the Christ who is the Head of the churches and to whom the churches belong, is the living One – full of life. Christ is the resurrected One, and He is living now in us and among us; therefore, we as the church should be as living as Christ, full of life, and overcoming any death!
It is important and even crucial for us to see that the Resurrected Christ is the Living One, and He lives now in us. The living One, Christ, lives in us, and He wants us to leave any kind of death and rise up to be the living church, the church that overcomes any death.
The churches today should not be dead or deadened; rather, all the churches should be living, overcoming any death! We need to learn to enjoy Christ as the living One to become His living testimony on the earth, the living out of the living One!
If a local church is not living, it will not have the testimony of Jesus; the more living a church is, the more it is the testimony of Jesus on earth.
The Christ who walks in the midst of the churches, who is the Head of the churches and to whom the churches belong, is the living One—full of life. Hence, the churches as His Body should also be living, fresh, and strong. We have a living Christ who has overcome death. Our Christ, who is the resurrected One, is living in us and among us. He is living forever and ever. What a living Christ we have in the recovery! In the recovery all the churches should be as living as Christ, full of life and overcoming death. (Witness Lee, The Conclusion of the New Testament, pp. 4153-4154)
The Lord’s intention is that all the churches and all the messengers in the churches would be experiencing Christ as the living One, the One who is full of life and who overcomes any death.
Like Paul testified in Phil. 3:20, we need to know the Lord and the power of His resurrection, being conformed to His sufferings, so that we may attain to the out-resurrection from the dead, which is the resurrection of the overcomers.
Resurrection is a process that takes place throughout the course of our Christian life, and we all should be able to testify of resurrection operating in us. We all are gradually going through the process of resurrection.
The resurrection life in our regenerated spirit is being applied through the cross to every part of our being, to all our faculties and capacity, until all that we have by God’s creation is brought into resurrection, so that nothing natural would remain among us in the way we are and care for the church.
The Lord’s living forever is His testimony; the more we experience the resurrected Christ living in us, the more we as the churches become more living, overcoming any death, and we are in reality the testimony of the living Jesus (Rev. 1:2, 9; 19:10).
Lord Jesus, we look away unto You, the living One: You became dead and now You are living. Praise the Lord, Jesus Christ the living One lives in us and among us, and we as the churches are living as He is, full of life and overcoming death. Lord, keep us in the process of experiencing the resurrection life in our daily life until our entire being is swallowed up by life and we are the living testimony of the living Jesus. May the resurrection life in our spirit through the cross spread into all our being to make us persons in resurrection.
Christ Cares for the Churches by Giving Himself to us as our Life Supply Daily
When we were regenerated by the Lord, we received the divine life in our spirit; from then on, the divine life started to spread into all the parts of our being to fill and saturate our entire being with the divine life, the resurrection life.
Christ, the living One, cares for all His believers and for all the churches by giving Himself to us not only as life but also as our life supply.
In order for us to be living, we need to not only have life but also be daily supplied with life; if we don’t eat any food daily, we will not be so living, but if we eat nutritious meals, we will be living and energetic, expressing the human life. In a similar way, the living Christ cares for us and for all the churches, and He gives Himself to us to be not only our life but also our life supply.
When He was on earth, the Lord didn’t just do many good and miraculous things – He also presented Himself to man as the bread of life (John 6), the living water (John 7), and the life supply.
Again and again He called the thirsty sinners to come to Him and drink, and they will thirst no more; rather, from their innermost being will flow rivers of living water.
In Rev. 2-3 the Lord as the living One presents three promises of eating: the tree of life (Rev. 2:7), the hidden manna (2:17), and a feast full of His riches (3:20). For us as believers in Christ to be living as the Lord is living, that is, for us to be His testimony, we need to enjoy the Lord as life and take Him in as our life supply.
We need to eat Christ as the tree of life and hidden manna, and we need to feast with Him, enjoying all His riches. Even during the sufferings and persecutions, we need to make sure we enjoy the Lord, eat Him, and drink Him, so that we may become His living testimony.
Seeing the Lord as the living One, the One who is both our life and our life supply, encourages the suffering believers. Seeing the Lord as the living One, the One who became dead and now lives again, causes us to realize that, no matter how harsh and long the persecution and tribulation is, at most it leads to death – and for us, death is not the end.
For most human beings, death is the end, but for us as those who have the living One in us imparting His resurrection life into our being, death is the gateway to resurrection.
The suffering church should not be frightened by persecution or terrified at the prospect of being killed – death is not the end, rather, death is the gateway to resurrection! Praise the Lord!
May we be those who enjoy the Lord today, are daily supplied with Him as the tree of life and the hidden manna, so that the resurrection life may spread into all our inner being to make us beings in resurrection.
Lord Jesus, for the sake of the church, please give Yourself to us as life and life supply. Supply us with the riches of Your life for the church. Give us to eat of You as the tree of life, and give us to drink of You as the living water so that, when we say something to others, we would impart life and reality into them. Lord, fill us with Yourself as the life-giving Spirit so that we may have our whole being in resurrection and become the living testimony of the living Lord who lives in us!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by brother Ron K. for this week, and portions from, The Conclusion of the New Testament, pp. 635-636, 4153-4157 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Returning to the Orthodoxy of the Church (2016 fall ITERO), msg. 2 (week 2), The Church in Smyrna.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Death cannot hold the resurrection life, / The life of God eternal manifest; / ’Tis uncreated, indestructible, / ’Tis Christ Himself, unconqu’rable, expressed. (Hymns #639)
# Lord Jesus, take me, break me; I’d hold nothing back from Thee; / Fill me till it is no more I that live; / That by Your resurrection life, we would Your testimony be. / We would be the church You long for, testimony of Jesus on the earth. (Song on the testimony of Jesus)
# Would you choose to be a living overcomer, / Be a person not ashamed to be a Jesus lover, / One who eats the tree of life, / And drinks the living water? / Would you choose to be a living overcomer, / To leave the world and consecrate / To be today’s age-turner? / I give myself to You for Your return. (Song on being an overcomer)
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