The divine life we have received through regeneration is very real and practical. In the first Epistle of John we see that life was manifested and we have seen and testify and report concerning it (1 John 1:1-3). And this life is a fellowship, a flow, something moving and growing and expanding.
If we sin, if there’s any problem and hindrance to the fellowship of life, we confess our sins and we are brought back into the fellowship (1 John 1:9). In this life there are different levels of maturity: children, young men, and fathers (see 1 John 2:12-16).
Toward the end of this Epistle, John speaks more in a practical way concerning being in the fellowship of the divine life and asking something from God according to His will (1 John 5:14-17). If we see a brother sinning a sin not unto death, we can ask and we will give life to him! Wow!
We are regenerated not only to enjoy the divine life and grow in life, but also to minister life! As we grow in life and abide in the fellowship of the divine life, whatever we ask will be in oneness with the Lord, and we will give life to the sinning brother.
“He shall ask and he will give life to him”
If we see that a dear brother or sister that we are related with is sinning (a sin not unto death), we shouldn’t first talk about it, tell him about it, or criticize him. First of all, we need to turn to the Lord and be one with Him in the fellowship of life.
According to 1 John 5:15, based upon the fact that we have the divine life, we abide in the Lord (John 15:7, 16), and we are one with Him in our prayer to God (John 16:23-24), we will have what we ask for!
So if we ask God for our brother / sister, we will minister life to them! We don’t ask according to our mind or good intentions – we don’t ask for the problem to be solved or for the brother to do this or that. We ask in oneness with the Lord, in the organic union with Him, in fellowship with God, and God will minister life to him.
Actually, as we see in 1 John 5:16, if we ask, we will give life to the sinning brother. How can we human beings give life to others? First of all, God is the source of life, Christ gives us life abundantly (John 10:10), and the Spirit gives life (1 Cor. 15:45).
We as believers have the divine life in us, and we grow in life, experience life, and enjoy life. The divine life is so practical – when a close brother is sinning, we can ask God for life and we will give life to the brother! We can be life-imparting people for those who cannot overcome sin.
Believers sin because of the shortage of life. When we are entirely one with God and filled with His life, we can ask and minister life to others for the building up of the Body of Christ. This is a very deep experience, and it is not easy.
We are short both of life and of the experience of ministering life. But we want to be those who abide in the Lord to become the means by which God’s life-giving Spirit can give life to the saints.
Being Channels of Life to Minister Life to Others
The way to carry out the ministry of life is by being a channel of life to others. Remember: ministry is not a matter of doing (you don’t “do a ministry”) but a matter of living (you “live the ministry”).
What the church needs today is many brothers and sisters who grow in life, enjoy the divine life, are matured in life, and minister life to others. We may be short of life, and we may think we don’t have enough life in us to minister to others, but when we see a brother sinning or a certain difficult situation, we need to specifically ask for life.
Life is needed more than anything else. Prayer for the ministry of life is much deeper and more needed than prayer for healing. And after we ask for life, we can go and give life! As we pray for the sinning brother, repenting and confessing, asking God to grow in you and in him also, the Lord may give you something to minister to the brother.
To minister life is to minister Christ, since Christ is life. The unique problem is death, and the unique solution to death is life. In ourselves and by ourselves we cannot minister life, but when we abide in the Lord, when we are one with the Lord, and when we ask one spirit with the Lord, we can be channels of life through which the life-giving Spirit can minister life to others.
For us to be channels of life ministering life to others we need to abide in the divine life, live by the divine life, walk by the divine life, and have our entire being with all our daily living and activities in the divine life.
If we would be a channel for God’s life to flow out to others, we must be deep in the Lord, and we must know God’s heart by being in His heart. When we know God’s heart, we will know how to pray and minister life to the sinning ones.
Lord, make us channels of life in the church life today. Grow in us. Increase the level of the divine life in us. Lord, only You can cause the growth. May we be those who enjoy life, experience life, grow in life, and minister life. Lord, have mercy on us and grow in us! Give us more life! Keep us in the fellowship of the divine life. Our desire is to abide in You, Lord, that we may ask concerning our brothers and sisters according to Your heart. Gain many channels of life in Your Body today!
References and Further Reading
- This sharing is inspired from brother Minoru Chen’s speaking in this message and portions in, Life-study of 1 John (msgs. 36-38), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, ITERO spring 2013 “The Experience, Growth, and Ministry of Life for the Body“, week 6 entitled, The Ministry of Life.
- Buy this morning revival book online via Living Stream Ministry.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Channels of life are we, / Allowing God to flow! / Through us and out of us / That others life may know!
# Is your life a channel of blessing? / Is the love of God flowing through you? / Are you telling the lost of the Savior? / Are you ready His service to do?
# Cleanse me, oh, cleanse me, my Savior, / Make me a channel today; / Empty me, fill me and use me, / Teach me to trust and obey.
- Pictures credit: edited instagrams by me here and here.