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B.M.

THE VINE AND THE LAMPSTAND

Message Five
The Lampstand
(3)
The First Love, the Shining of Resurrection Life,
and the Corporate Manifestation of God in the Flesh

      The title of this message is The First Love, the Shining of Resurrection Life, and the Corporate Manifestation of God in the Flesh.

IF WE WOULD BE THE GOLDEN LAMPSTANDS IN REALITY,
WE NEED TO LOVE THE LORD
WITH THE FIRST LOVE, THE BEST LOVE

      Revelation 2:4-5 shows the relationship between the first love and the lampstand. The Lord Jesus told the ones in Ephesus, "You have left your first love." Then the Lord said, "Remember therefore where you have fallen from and repent and do the first works." The first love is the love that gives Christ the first place. We love Him first. There is no person, thing and matter that we love more than Him. This love motivates us to take actions and to serve. The works that are motivated by the first love are the first works. The motive is our love for the Lord. Then the Lord told the church in Ephesus, "If not, I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand." The Lord would not terminate the church, or just end the church in that place. He is saying, "I will remove the lampstand. You will continue to be a local church, a local assembly of called-out believers. But there will be no reality of the Triune God expressed there. You will be an empty local church."

      We know from the Old Testament that the Lord's glory filled the temple. The temple was God's house. One day, the Lord Jesus said to the religious ones, "Behold, your house is left to you desolate" (Matt. 23:38). He was indicating, "I am not there, God is not there. That is your house." This illustrates what could happen to a local church. Suppose all the churches in a certain region decide to have a blending conference. This might involve three thousand saints and almost all the churches are there. But one church is missing. None of the leading brothers is present. It indicates a church in that region is isolated. It does not share in the blending life of the Body of Christ. There is something abnormal in the leadership, and this abnormal thing might involve the first love. Some have left the first love, not doing the first works, and they may lose the testimony. This is very serious. In the nineteen century, the Lord had a great recovery among the Brethren. For a while they really were Philadelphia but today, they are an empty assembly. The Lord has caused us to advance beyond the Brethren's understanding of the ground of the church: one church in a city. We are faithful to this. But if we are abnormal especially in the leadership, we may lose the lampstand.

      When we love the Lord with the first love, and do the first works, works that are motivated by love and express love, we have life and light. The love brings in the enjoyment of the tree of life. Then we have the light of life. The following are the eight points on what it means to love the Lord:
      1. To love the Lord Jesus is to appreciate Him.
      2. To love the Lord Jesus is to set our heart and our whole being on Him.
      3. To love the Lord Jesus is to open ourselves to Him.
      4. To love the Lord Jesus is to enjoy Him, to delight in Him.
      5. To love the Lord Jesus is to give Him the preeminence, the first place in everything.
      6. To love the Lord Jesus is to be one with Him.
      7. To love the Lord Jesus is to live Him.
      8. To love the Lord Jesus is to become Him in life and nature.

      Some may wonder how we can love the Lord like this. First John 4:19 says, "We love because He first loves us." Our love is a "because" love. In ourselves we cannot love properly. God loves us, and His love for us produces in us a love for Him. The love of God is poured out in our heart, and this love reproduces itself, causing us to love the Lord in these eight ways. It takes time for our love to develop and to mature. But this is the supreme commandment, "To love the Lord our God from our whole being." Only by loving the Lord in this way, can we be the lampstand in reality. Do not try to be a lampstand. Even before we buy gold, before we can be shaped into Christ's image, before we can experience the lamp shining, before our gold can be beaten together with others' gold, before we can blossom in resurrection life, we need simply to love the Lord.

      Eventually we love the Lord so much that we will become the same as He is. The Lord whom we love is the lampstand. Now we are becoming the same as He is. He is reproducing Himself. All the churches are His reproduction. But if we leave this kind of love to love something or someone else first, we lose all this.

To Love the Lord Jesus with the First Love is
to Give Him the First Place, the Preeminence, in All Things

      In our way of practicing the church life, we give the Lord the preeminence. We do not give the first place to our opinion. If all the brothers in all the churches give Christ the first place in all things, there will be no problem. If we do not give Christ the first place, we cannot say that we love Him with the first love. It is not enough simply to love the Lord. He should not be one among many things we love. We need to regard Christ as everything in our life and not love anyone or anything above Him. In Titus, Paul said that the older women may train the young women to love their husbands and their children. Surely we should love our spouse, our children, and our parents but we do not love them above the Lord. In 1 Timothy 6:17, Paul told Timothy that God afforded us all things richly for our enjoyment. But we do not enjoy them above the Lord. This matter needs to be settled in us. To love anything more than the Lord is to be fallen, to be degraded. Quoting Brother Lee, "In order to give Him the preeminence, we must be willing to be adjusted, to be broken, to be made nothing, so that the Lord will have a way in us, through us, and among us for the building up of His organic Body" (Fellowship concerning the Urgent Need of the Vital Groups, p. 111).

We Love the Lord Because He First Loved Us, Infusing His Loving Essence
into Us and Generating Within Us the Love With Which We Love Him

      We cannot generate such love. This love comes from God Himself. God is love. He loves us. We love Him because He loves us. He infuses His loving essence into us, and He generates in us the love for Him. Simply open to Him and receive the infusion of His loving essence. Eventually we will respond, "Lord I love You. I love You now more than any time in my life." We love, "because."

We Love the Lord According to the Divine Dispensing
of the Divine Trinity into Us as Love

      Romans 5:5 and 8:39 speak of the love of God, 8:35 speaks of the love of Christ, and 15:30 speaks of the love of the Spirit. This is the Triune God. The love is the love of God, of Christ and of the Spirit, dispense into us. If we want to really love the Lord for the lampstand, simply open to Him and receive this dispensing.

THE PURE GOLDEN SNUFFERS AND SNUFF DISHES
FOR THE TRIMMING OF THE CHARRED WICKS SIGNIFY
THE DEALING WITH THE OLD AND CHARRED NATURAL LIFE BY THE DIVINE NATURE SO THAT
THE SHINING OF THE RESURRECTION LIFE MAY BE BRIGHT AND PURE

      With the lamps, there are the wicks. The oil will saturate the wicks, and then the wicks would burn. The wicks burn and turn charred or black. The charred wick can get longer and longer. When we have a long, burned, charred wick, the light is not bright, and is not pure. The priest had to trim or snuff the lamp with golden tongs. They would clip or snuff the wick, then put the wick into a golden bowl. This is the Lord's care for the lampstand. He needs to remove the old wick, but He does it in a divine way. When a new church established, everything is new and fresh, everyone loves the Lord, life is flowing and light is shining. As years go by, oldness is there. The Lord is concerned about oldness. Some churches in Malaysia have been here for decades. The leading ones need to be very watchful concerning oldness. Their wick should always be snuffed or trimmed. Then the whole church will follow.

The Lord Jesus Appears in Revelation as the High Priest Walking Among the Lampstands
to Snuff the Burned Out Wicks and to Add More Oil

      The Lord does not gossip about us. He just comes and trims the wick. It does not hurt. He trims the wick by exercising the divine nature. This wick is precious. It is a testimony of our living. He puts it in a golden dish. Then He adds fresh oil that we may feel fresh and new. Let us pray to the Lord, "Lord, do not allow me to become old spiritually."

Our Charred Natural Life Needs to be Snuffed
so that the Shining of the Resurrection Life in Us
may be Bright and Pure

      Many Christians are not shining because they have a long, charred wick. When they stand up to prophesy, there is no clear light. The light is not that bright. But as soon as that one had their wick trimmed, they may speak the same thing, but the light is bright. The issue of the snuffing is a brighter shining of the light. Please do not guard our wick. Let the Lord come with the golden tong. He will remove the whole wick, put it in a golden dish and adds fresh oil.

IF WE WOULD BE THE GOLDEN LAMPSTAND IN REALITY,
WE NEED TO PRACTICE BEING ONE SPIRIT WITH THE LORD,
WALKING ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT,
AND EXERCISING OUR SPIRIT UNTO GODLINESS,
UNTO THE CORPORATE MANIFESTATION OF GOD IN THE FLESH

      Whether or not we are actually the church depends upon whether or not we are in the Spirit. The first requirement when we gather like this should be in the Spirit. We can be in the Spirit anytime we choose to be. When we respond to the Spirit's shining, we will walk according to the spirit. As believers in Christ, we have divinity, the divine element; now we need to live divinity—to live Christ—by practicing to be one spirit with the Lord. First Timothy 3:15-16 indicates not only that Christ Himself as the Head is the manifestation of God in the flesh but also that the church as the Body is the enlarged corporate manifestation of God in the flesh. In 1 Timothy 4:7, Paul says, "Exercise yourself unto godliness." Godliness is God manifested in the flesh, and this involves the church corporately. The lampstand is the church as the embodiment and expression of the Triune God. This expression is God manifested in the flesh. For this, we need to exercise our spirit. This is the function of the golden lampstand.

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