(Small Group 25 February 2010)
Keywords: not about enduring but actually about maturity in having determination（一心、专心、恒心）even after failures, must live amidst people, teaching and checking voice of God at the same time
Christian living is a spiritual battle. It is not only about receiving more comfort from God, so that you can endure hardships; but it is about seeing the final destination, understanding that God works all things out (even weaknesses and failures) as the love of God, and having maturity (one-hearted, focus-hearted, persistent-hearted) so that you get up again and again even having failures. In the midst of the process and God’s given conditions, we will be able to test and approve God’s perfect will, so that we will know how to walk each step. We can teach people the vision, but it will come a point in time where we cannot continue to just "carpet-bomb" and try to brainstorm people. To really teach people, we have to be fathers and mothers instead of just teachers.
The way of a father is to have the easiest, most powerful and most fruitful life pattern, and this is to have a Life Model that he can pattern from. We all have been influenced and admired certain life figures (parents, bosses, success figures) throughout our life, and it is through all those figures that we have changed our understanding of values and our life philosophy. There is a story written by Nathaniel Hathorne, named "The Great Stone Face", which describes my thought best. (Elaborate). There is no need to be too naggy and too forceful in trying to preach. But patterning after Christ means being a witness when God’s timetable for people we love has reached. It means that we just take care in blessing ourselves most (管自己就好).
Therefore, because this is the easiest, strongest and having the most effect, I find myself the most willing to model after Christ, sometimes even feeling contrite of my own hardness of not being soft and spirited enough to contain His love. Jesus Christ’s Name far supersedes all figures. Since we have received His Spirit, if we continue to model ourselves after Him, learn Him in the crowds, we will be molded by Christ’s likeness. Therefore, "our face and neck can be unyielding and hardened" than others in teaching with authority and timetable, "Model yourself after me, as I also am of Christ". Do not harden your hearts today, but harden your face and neck through the heart of flesh given by God.
1HE SAID to me, Son of man, eat what you find [in this book]; eat this scroll; then go and speak to the house of Israel.
=> To Model after Christ, we must eat His flesh and drink His blood. We must receive His Spirit in order to be able to Model after Christ in all things for all of 24 hours.
2So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat the scroll.
3And He said to me, Son of man, eat this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it. Then I ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth.
The Life Model of Christ is a gloriously perfect Life Model.
① Model of beloved Son ② Model of loving God, men and kingdom ③ Wisest model ④ Victorious model ⑤ Model of virtues ⑥ Model of Good Shepherd ⑦ Model of submission to the point of death
But it is also of one to receive in a lifetime. This picture is in all ancients of faith for working their remaining days on earth. The Christian that always changes will not receive the perfect voice of God. But if we have determined to model ourselves in achieving to restore this Life Model in our lifetime, you will gradually become mature in thoughts, words and wisdom.
4And He said to me, Son of man, go, get you to the house of Israel and speak to them with My words.
5For you are not sent to a people of a foreign speech and of a difficult language but to the house of Israel;
6Not to many peoples of foreign speech and of a hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, had I sent you to such people, they would have listened to you and heeded My words.
7But the house of Israel will not listen to you and obey you since they will not listen to Me and obey Me, for all the house of Israel are impudent and stubborn of heart.
=> In order to be able to model after Christ, we have to open our hearts 100% to Him. It does not mean enduring. It does not mean head knowledge. Jesus was also in the flesh potentially viable to temptations and struggles but He did not follow the path of inferiority (reciprocated by sin = "loving wrongly"). He always opens Himself up in seeking for "help" in calling God in the midst of crowds.
8Behold, I have made your face strong and hard against their faces and your forehead strong and hard against their foreheads.
9Like an adamant harder than flint or a diamond point have I made your forehead; fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house.(A)
=> Therefore, "our face and neck can be unyielding and hardened" than others in teaching with authority and timetable, "Model yourself after me, as I also am of Christ".
10Moreover, He said to me, Son of man, all My words that I shall speak to you, receive in your heart and hear with your ears.
11And go, get you to the [Jewish] captives [in Babylon], to the children of your people, and speak to them and tell them, Thus says the Lord God, whether they will hear or refuse to hear.
12Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me a voice of a great rushing [saying], Blessed be the glory of the Lord from His place [above the firmament].
13I heard the noise of the wings of the living creatures as they touched and joined each one the other [its sister wing], and I heard the noise of the wheels beside them and the noise of a great rushing.
14So the Spirit lifted me up and took me away [in the vision], and I went in bitterness [of discouragement] in the heat of my spirit; and the hand of the Lord was strong upon me.
15Then I came to them of the captivity at Tel-abib, who sat and dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat and remained there among them seven days, overwhelmed with astonishment and silent.
=> It is not after a long process that we will have performed to God’s pleasure, so that we can tell people "Model after me, as I am of Christ", but it is through the assurance of the correct road I am walking on, so that we can tell this to people. (Format -> Perfect Will -> Rhema -> Accomplishments -> Authority -> Precious Jewels -> Teach and raise disciples.)
16And at the end of seven days, the word of the Lord came to me:
17Son of man, I have made you a watchman to the house of Israel; therefore hear the word at My mouth and give them warning from Me.(B)
18If I say to the wicked, You shall surely die, and you do not give him warning or speak to warn the wicked to turn from his wicked way, to save his life, the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at your hand.
19Yet if you warn the wicked and he turn not from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity, but you have delivered yourself.
20Again, if a righteous man turns from his righteousness (right doing and right standing with God) and some gift or providence which I lay before him he perverts into an occasion to sin and he commits iniquity, he shall die; because you have not given him warning, he shall die in his sin and his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood will I require at your hand.
21Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man not to sin and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he is warned; also you have delivered yourself from guilt.
=> We must definitely teach.
22And the hand of the Lord was there upon me, and He said to me, Arise, go forth into the plain and I will talk with you there.
23Then I arose and went forth into the plain, and behold, the glory of the Lord stood there, like the glory I had seen by the river Chebar, and I fell on my face.
24Then the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet; He spoke and said to me, Go, shut yourself up in your house.
25But you, O son of man, behold, ropes will be put upon you and you will be bound with them, and you cannot go out among people.
26And I will make your tongue cleave to the roof of your mouth so that you cannot talk and be a reprover of the people, for they are a rebellious house.
27But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth and you shall say to the people, Thus says the Lord God; he who hears, let him hear, and he who refuses to hear, let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house.
=> Therefore, intercessions, striving myself to model after Christ and waiting on the Lord’s timetable is needed after teaching. The best form of preaching is the "transferring of life" （传生命）.
What Life do we pass to our loved ones?
1. Jesus Christ is the most gloriously perfect Life Model that God showed to all saints! May God allow me to receive the Life Model that Christ has shown to me
1) Have I already seen it very clearly, that God used the incarnation Jesus Christ, to show through the whole history, "Christ’s gloriously perfect Life Model"? Am I willing to be closer in restoring this Model?
Jidong told his uncle that we all are Today’s Jesus Christ and he had a shock. We do not endure as a Christian, but we enjoy walking our faith with Christ. His uncle received yet another shock. Thirdly, he said that Jesus Christ was actually joyful when He was on the cross, and His uncle was really in shock. Do you know the extent of the Emmanuel message we have been hearing? But do not just teach. Confirm the Life Model of Christ in our hearts, so that we ENJOY these important words of God, Whom God used the very incarnation of Jesus Christ to show this most gloriously perfect Life Model in the whole history of mankind.
Every time we think of Christ and His Name, we stand in awe of how,
(1) He can so assuredly stand before God as one unwavering beloved Son of God, Who can always pray to God so freely. Come, think. Is the Lord Christ really so free? He was baptized by John, and when He came up out of the water, He saw the Holy Spirit choosing and pleased to descend on Him, and He heard two things: "This is My Son Whom I love", "Listen to Him!" If we think of Christ’s Model and felt accused because we cannot follow His Model always, or that we do not think we are fit to do so, then we must think twice on the belief we have. This is the most basic belief in our Christian walk. We can be a most beloved Son not because we have performed well, or have our faith well in recent days, but it is because we can understand and believe that it is God Who placed believing siblings or friends around us, so that we can believe and continue to walk.
(2) Love God, love men and love kingdom
Because His life is so clean, His love for God, for men and the kingdom is so upright and real. He can hear the Father having joy over Him so that He can serve knowing that each step He does so will gain up to the Father to be added as a romance story.
Yet, He does not only serve with head-knowledge. But He serves wisely, and says, "I and the Father are One", "I do not do as I say, but I hear My Father to do all things." This is wisdom from above, as it encompasses all of God’s sovereignty in the millions of variations of situations on earth, so that new refreshing, practical and down-to-earth ideas can be received creatively.
Because He knows that God is in charge, He will always sets His mind on things above because there must be a most victorious plan for every situation. In such a mind, "Christ is the all problem solver" is always the first victory banner being hung up at the start of any problems.
Therefore, with all things accomplished and done, He freely can continue to improve to think only about the most noble and beautiful things, to trust people, to fill Himself with compassion, to freely express Himself even to cry when He needs to. He is totally in self-control.
(6) Good Shepherd
He is not focusing on ministries, but He focuses on life. He passes on His image not by sometimes teaching, but He lays down His life if He discovered disciples whom He can really die for.
(7) Submission to the point of death
In doing so, He gave His own example to submit to authorities, to Sabbath, to even people who are wrong, even to the point of death. He gave this example to show His disciples that we need to preach and intercede, but we just do our part and wait for God’s perfect time table.
This Model is just so glorious! But there are just many people around us, those that we love, who do not understand, so is there a use if I continue to model myself after Him, seemingly ignoring their timetable? Yes, because firstly, if His Life Model is glorious, you will be attracted by Him more than the people around you. Secondly, they do not understand because they cannot see God with their earthly eyes. Therefore, all the more, I place this Vision in front of me to achieve in my lifetime, so that people around us can realize, see and follow the Christ that I so yearn to model after.
In fact, there is a great cloud of witnesses around us. They are ancients of faith. Did Noah fail? Did Joseph fail sometimes? However, every of their matter on earth became important because they look towards Someone Who is definitely coming, and this is the Messiah. Our success on earth does not depend on people’s praises and changes in their lives, but in fact, whether you have seen His Smiling and Joyful Face to you so that you can live every moment in love, joy, trust and peace. We definitely have to see His smiling face, or we will have gained nothing even if we have head knowledge. If we have not seen His smiling face, you would have seen His changed face, and you would have gained nothing.
2. How do I follow the example of Christ?
We must receive the 7 Spirits of Christ in order to model after Him.
① "Model of beloved Son" —D&R–> "Spirit of sonship" <Ro 8:15-17>
Do we really desire to model after Christ’s image as a beloved Son? We felt unable, but this is because we want to be better spiritually, and Who actually gave this conviction? Since it came from God, if you understood this, you will have understood where the Child of God can understand that He is most loved. In the past, I even tried to hypnotize myself daily at noon, "God loves me most" for a few months. With time, I begin to think about where I can have assurance that "God loves me most". That is when I go into concentration prayers, and then understood how I can receive the Spirit of sonship truly and absolutely. This does not seem a one-time thing, and I only received this after about 6 years of knowing this message. It is by understanding what the righteousness of God is. Some churches say that God is righteous, so that when we rely on Him, we will be bounded no more by sin and we are actually free. This is not wrong, but this actually does not give the Spirit of the most beloved Son. The righteousness of God has to be defined: it is not about godliness (look at Tamar – very messy and chaotic, but she must have also gone through the spirit and convictions of tears why God never answered her of an inheritance of one who can carry on the promise of the gospel), and it is not about rights and wrongs. The righteousness of God is of walking with God. In order to receive the blessed beloved Spirit of the child of God, you have to listen both the messages of beloved/promised/called/blessed AND fulfilling the righteousness of God that our pastor spoke last year. (Remember that it speaks that the righteousness of God does not depend on conscience, but on the essence of the 10 commands, submitting not to the flesh but submitting to the Holy Spirit, making the Holy Spirit within me happy, and fulfilling righteousness by seeing it grounded and fulfilling in our flesh.)
② "Model of loving God, men, kingdom" —D&R–> "Spirit of loving kindness, Spirit of loving God, men and kingdom" <Ro 8:31-39>
The Spirit of loving God is having a bold and confident spirit when coming to the throne of God. The spirit of loving men is because you have seen providence so that you have love overflowing from your cup, so that if you do not love people, you will feel very stuffy and difficult to breathe without spreading Christ’s love all around. The spirit of loving the kingdom comes when you see your very love, Christ, in the fields.
③ "Wisest Model" —D&R–> "Spirit of wisdom and revelation" <Ep 1:17>
The Spirit of Wisdom comes not from analysis, calculations, quotations, or emotional quotient of dealing and managing with people, tasks and situations. It has to come from revelation. It has to be revealed from above. This is called hearing the voice of God to do every thing. This is because His perfect will is far more than our analysis and understanding. Only by submitting to His voice that comes out from all situations can you have wisdom greater than all peoples around. This is because He leads the whole history of mankind with the ultimate purpose of 4 gospelizations. If you align yourself in this, and test and approve from this, the revelation that comes in the form of wisdom will lead you.
④ "Victorious Model" —D&R–> "Spirit of victory" <Ro 8:37>
The Spirit of victory already knows that there is sufferings and persecutions on earth, but since the Lord is also persecuted, He told us that we can stay calm, because He has ALREADY overcome the world.
⑤ "Model of virtues" —D&R–> "Spirits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" <Gal 5:22-23>
The Spirit of virtues are the fruits of the Holy Spirit, which is about compassion and love <1Co13:4-7>
⑥ "Model of Good Shepherd" —D&R–> "Spirit of good shepherd" <Jn 21:15-19>
The Spirit of the Good Shepherd seeks for those who can hear the Shepherd’s voice, and lays His life down for building him up, giving abundant time while interceding and observing self and themselves.
⑦ "Model of submission" —D&R–> "Spirit of submission in all things" <Ph 2:5-11>
The Spirit of submission is that of the cross, taking whatever is laid down by God, as the very standard of things.
Give yourself time to model after the image of Christ. I know this is not easy, but open your hearts 100% to receive Him, then the model of Christ will continue to mold you up.
This week, I continued to place the great vision and the model of Christ before me. These are needed, but we will need to hear the personal voice from the Lord, or else, our heart will be hardened. This is calling upon Jesus Christ. By this, our life will then gradually be molded after Christ.
In fact, it is swifter if we model after the Christ that is manifested in the fellowship. A year ago, Satan attacked by setting fire to our church after the Penang trip. For several months last year after that, Satan’s attacks in the church were during the Penang mission trip. And now, before the mission trip team goes, Satan attacked our church. We have all experienced some form of accusations and attacks these few days right? This is because God is speeding the timetable. We will never be able to see this model of Christ of victory if we do not live our lives by hearing the news in the church.
We definitely have to stay in the crowd. Some people do not go to church, and just wants to study the bible at home. They receive hurts in the church, and cannot receive as much as they read the bible on their own. When I see such people, I find that their faces seemed to match that of a Buddha – a very strange face. What I mean is that we must really stay in a crowd. Though we may receive hurts, quarrels and conflicts, they are all healthy, because these will all add up to crown and the deeper understanding of the gospel. I know this is not easy, but I myself have gone through years of difficulties of myself being not a very sociable person, and I receive hints easily when I see brothers and sisters coming together having great fun talking or sharing. In fact, when those hints come, I easily am accused, and I will think of postponing any welcoming of new friends just because I think that I am not good enough. However, when I continue to model after Christ, just put those strange thoughts away, and just listen to Christ’s voice each time, these begin to disappear. This is not easy for those who are quiet. I still have some of these struggles even though I have much less of these already, but also, give yourself time to heal. God will definitely heal because when we continue to model after Him, He slowly molds us up. I have also prayed hard for my colleagues to believe the gospel, but when 2 of my colleagues say that they want to leave, I hear the Model of Christ in the crowd telling me, "If they really do not belong to you, then the faster they leave, the better." Thus, I can even tell them, "Yes, I care for you to be happy. Go if you need, though I wish you stay." I can see from them that they are glad when I say this. With that, they open up even more to me. God always have an even greater will when we go and live inside the crowds in the fields. Our christian living must go into practicality, relevance, in accordance, and being grounded and concrete, or it will become mystical, legalistic, humanistic or success-driven. Our Jesus Christ on earth has always given people very concrete and fitting perfect will. He said, "Let the children come to me." When he cries, people saw how much He loved Mary’s family. When he was persecuted, people knew that he was being condemned wrongly, for He has no sins, and it was only because their religion demands so that they wanted to nail Him to the cross. Therefore, people know that they have persecuted someone whom they like.
3. We can also say, "you should model yourself after me, as I also am of Christ"!
Why can we tell people this "you should model yourself after me, as I also am of Christ"? This is because we tell people to follow our spirits, not our outside performance, if we have really such testimony of "becoming less myself, Christ becoming greater".
How to show testimony? Do we have such evidences? If you truly believe, intercede. If you have no time for prayers, or do not know how to pray, fix a time up to pray, and have all forms of prayers. Try here and there. Teach and check yourself, check your words, whether they are joined together and whether people can understand what you mean. Even if you know a lot, then you must experience people "whom I love, meet and (1) keep interceding, (2) wisely teach in love, (3) strive to do what you teach, (4) wait upon God’s timetable with ease, so that you will experience gradually stepping up to blessedness.
Now, we definitely need testimonies. We definitely will need prayers to be answered. If not, we will not naturally want to continue in prayers. Testimonies will also show whether the Word in us is true, living and active. Without living evidences, even if you say you can understand great things about the gospel, and I can also trust you, we still take a step backwards – rather be slow, than be anxious. The Lord is founded and rooted in practicality, down-to-earth, relevance, and in accordance.
Give yourself time, knowing that it is not easy. But put up the Model of Christ and pattern after it.