The Experience of Christ in Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Philippians 4 speaks of Christ as the secret. In verse 12 Paul says, “I know also how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in everything and in all things I have learned the secret both to be filled and to hunger, both to abound and to lack.” Paul knew the secret not only of the good things but also of suffering, of being abased. Today we often hear testimonies about abounding. In the church meetings the brothers and sisters stand to testify of how they abound. We almost never hear a testimony of how someone was abased. The apostle Paul was very much abased. He may also have been challenged: “If the Jesus you preach is the living One, if He is God, why are you suffering here? If He is the almighty One, why are you still hungry? We have plenty to eat, but you do not.” In 2 Corinthians 11 Paul tells us that he was in hunger and nakedness (v. 27). That was a real testimony. If I testify that for the past thirty years I have been very rich, and now I am a millionaire, then I must be wrong in some way.
Christ is the secret for us to live, suffer, and sometimes enjoy. Sometimes we are truly rich. We know how to be abased, and we know how to abound. To know how to be abased may be easy, but to know how to abound may not be easy. If God puts a million dollars into our hand, we may be changed; we may feel that we are now glorious. If we receive some money, that money may spoil us. Christ must be the secret by which we know how to use riches and not be spoiled by them. To have millions of dollars in our hand yet not misuse them or be spoiled by them is a true grace. This means that we know the secret. Christ is the secret for us to be abased and to abound.
The foregoing points are the concept of the four chapters of Philippians. Christ is life, so He is our expression. He is the example, the pattern, and He is also the goal, the aim. Moreover, Christ is the secret. Still, there is a secret to the secret. The secret of the secret is in 1:19—the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. This is not the Spirit of God, as such, but the Spirit of Jesus Christ. We all know that the Spirit of Jesus Christ is the Spirit of God, but the apostle Paul spoke here not of the Spirit of God but of the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. The Spirit is the key and the secret.
The phrase bountiful supply was a special term to the Greeks of ancient times. It relates to a chorus, a band or group of people that performed by singing. The leader of the chorus was the choragus, who was responsible to supply all the needs of the chorus. The choragus supplied what they ate and drank, what they wore, their dwelling place, and their music and instruments. This is the word used in verse 19. Today the Spirit of Jesus Christ is our Choragus, supplying whatever we need. We are the chorus, demonstrating Christ by our “singing.” We need many things, and whatever we need, the Choragus, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, will supply. This is the bountiful supply, the all-inclusive supply.
The Spirit here is called the Spirit of Jesus Christ. This is because Jesus Christ today is the Spirit. Christ said that He is the truth, the reality, and the Spirit today is the Spirit of reality (John 14:6, 17). Jesus Christ is the reality, and the Spirit of God today is the Spirit of Jesus Christ, so the Spirit is the Spirit of reality. All that Jesus is and all that He has attained and obtained are in the Spirit. Moreover, this Spirit is within us. An electrical current is a good illustration of the Spirit. If you go to the meter, you can see that the electricity is flowing in a house. If a house has the current of electricity, it has the reality of the electricity; without the current, there is no reality of electricity. What then is the current of the electricity? It is the electricity itself. When we speak of the love of God, the grace of Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, we mean that the fellowship of the Holy Spirit is the current, the flow, of God and Christ. Christ as the “electricity” is flowing in the current. The electricity is in the generator in the power plant, but now by the current it is also in this building. In the same way, the Spirit is the current of Christ, and this current is now flowing in us. The current of electricity is a wonderful illustration of the Spirit. Perhaps because people a few hundred years ago did not have electricity, they could not understand the Spirit of Jesus Christ as we do today.
Christ today is so real to us as the Spirit. If Christ were not such a current to us, how could we experience Him as our life? Jesus said, “I am the bread of life,” and, “He who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me” (6:48, 57). Christ is food to us, and we have to eat Him. If He were not the Spirit, though, how could we eat Him? I believe that in these days Christ as the indwelling Spirit is the main item of the Lord’s recovery. This will be more and more recovered among us. In the past six years, beginning from 1959, whenever I have had a time with the Lord, one thing has been within me: the matter of the Spirit and our spirit.
The apostle John saw all the visions of Revelation in spirit. In Revelation 4 there is the vision of the throne, and from chapter 6 to chapter 20 there are the seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls. Verses 1 and 2a of chapter 4 say, “After these things I saw, and behold, a door opened in heaven, and the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, Come up here, and I will show you the things that must take place after these things. Immediately I was in spirit; and behold, there was a throne set in heaven.” From this throne come the seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls. Then in Revelation 21 and 22 there is the vision of the New Jerusalem. Verse 10 of chapter 21 says, “He carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” The vision in chapter 4 is of the throne, the center of the entire universe. The vision in chapter 21 is of the city, the unique, universal expression of God. Both of these visions are a matter of spirit. Some versions capitalize spirit in these verses, and others render it in lower case. It is hard to know whether this is the Spirit or the human spirit of the apostle. Either way, this is a matter of spirit.
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