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B.M.

Malaysia Sisters Blending and Perfecting Training

19-22 August 2012, Subang Jaya

LIVING THE PROPER CHURCH LIFE

      "Christ loves the church and gave Himself up for her (Eph. 5:25b)! Brothers and sisters, Christ loves the church. He desires to gain the church on earth for His expression, satisfaction and rest. Praise the Lord for the once a year Malaysia Sisters Blending and Perfecting Training held last 19-22 August at Eden Residence. This training is much anticipated by most of the sisters who came for the first time last year. The Lord has indeed poured out Himself abundantly to all. A total of 322 sisters from 29 localities were being gathered for this precious opportunity to receive training by the grace of God based on His Word to live soberly, righteously and godly in the present church life for His second coming.

      "This is the burden of the training this time. The general subject is on "Living the Proper Church Life", patterns of which were viewed from five local churches in Jerusalem, Rome, Antioch, Thessalonica, and Philippi. The sisters were helped in the matter of taking the lead to live the proper church life. This living is with a definite goal and direction that is to build up the Body of Christ, to prepare the bride, and to spread the kingdom of God. It is also a living of awaiting and hastening the Lord's second coming.

      "In other words, this training serves the high purpose of equipping and uplifting the sisters in living their church life according to God's heart desire and His standard. Living the proper church life is crucial as it serves as stepping stone that prepares the church as the bride for His coming. Saints, our beloved Lord Jesus desires to return. In order for Him to do so, He needs overcomers who live a proper church life amidst the current abnormalities. They are those who care for God's need and His interest on earth above all the low and inconsequential human needs. Hallelujah! The sisters were truly touched in their inner being and expressed their deep longing to live the proper church life and to be produced as God's overcomers.

Living the Proper Church Life—
By Being a Proper Person and Living a Genuine Christian Life

      "The proper church life is for the carrying out of God's eternal purpose. By our own effort, ability and qualification, no one can live this life to fulfill God's purpose. What is needed is for us to receive rich supply from God Himself. The more we enjoy Him, the more element of His divine being will be wrought into us to produce the seed for the fulfillment of His purpose. This is the proper church life.

      The living of the proper church life requires us to be proper persons. The person is God's method and way. God pays more attention to what we are than to what we do or to what we can do. He cares for the kind of person we are and for the kind of life we live. Therefore, perfecting trainings are to train us that we can be proper persons, one with a proper spirit, whose heart is proper toward God, who loses his soul life for the sake of the church and who presents his body as a living sacrifice for the church life.

      Apart from being a proper person, we must also live a genuine and normal Christian daily life in order to practice the proper church life. Simply speaking, a genuine Christian life is a duplication of Christ's life; a life in which the believers of Christ live Christ and magnify Christ. The normal Christian life is not a matter of right and wrong but a matter of whether or not we are in the spirit. Our Christian life is also a life of sowing; everything we do, our thoughts, words, actions, the way we dress, the way we conduct ourselves, is a kind of sowing, either to the flesh or to the Spirit. A genuine Christian life is a life of fellowship and feasting. Hallelujah, we are destined and ordained to feast on the Lord!

      Another aspect of the Christian life is a life of fighting; day and night, we fight against the negative things which seek to influence us and drag us down. We fight by prayer. We also live a life of preaching the gospel. This is our new profession starting from the day we receive the new life. The proper and genuine Christian life is also a life of dying, yet living. Last but not least, the Christian life is a corporate matter as we are born into the family of God. When all of us who live such a genuine Christian life come to be built up together, we constitute the Body of Christ.

      Further, the sisters were brought to see all these positive points of the proper churchlife from the following five local churches as recorded in the Bible.

Living the Proper Church Life—
As Seen in the Church in Jerusalem

      In the book of Acts, the Lord Jesus had a new beginning among men on earth with the first group of 120 disciples. They were gathered together into the name of the Lord and prayed desperately for ten days in oneness and with one accord. Despite the outward danger and persecution, they were consecrated to the Lord and began to live the church life as the reality of the kingdom of God. As a result, the first local church on earth, the church in Jerusalem, is produced.

      The believers in Jerusalem continued steadfastly in the teaching and the fellowship of the apostles, and in the breaking of bread and the prayers. Due to the great persecution, the believers were scattered throughout the land. As a result, the gospel was being announced. This was the sovereign of God that the church life would be spread through migration.

      As for their Christian life, the early believers were brought into the corporate church life, meeting in homes and having the simplicity of heart in seeking after the Lord from the very beginning. They did not live individualistically as Christians separated from one another. Instead, all of them learn to be members one of another, living and functioning according to their measure. This is the first and the beginning of the proper church life that all the churches should follow as pattern.

As Seen in the Church in Rome

      The apostle Paul wrote concerning the Gospel of God to the church in Rome. The book of Romans not only has a rich content regarding God's complete salvation conveyed in His full gospel. It also has a definite goal, which is the practice of the church life. Therefore, the experience of regeneration, sanctification, renewing, transformation, conformation and glorification is not for our own. It is to make it possible for us to enter into the experience of living the proper church life, which is the reality of living the Body life.

      It is the will of God for us to live the Body life by living in the proper church life. Paul had this high view. Thus, Paul in his writing emphasized the matter of the church life by taking five chapters to cover them in a wonderful way. For the church life, the Body life to be realized, our entire being is needed. A presented body, a transformed soul, and a burning spirit—all three are indispensable to a proper church life. This should be our experience in our Christian life today, to present our body and have our mind renewed. This will produce an inward metabolic transformation, making us suitable for the building up of the Body of Christ, which is the practice of the church life as revealed in Romans 12.

      Romans 14 and 15 continue to unveil the principles that we must practice in order to have the proper church life—in the matter of receiving the believers, the practice of all the believers being in one accord, all serve as the New Testament priests of the gospel, all have fellowship in the gospel work, the churches having sweet and intimate fellowship with the apostles and being the ground for God to crush Satan under the feet of the church. Brothers and sisters, we should live our church life based on this revelation and teaching. Only then will there be a manifestation or appearance of the Body of Christ.

As Seen in the Church in Antioch

      The church in Antioch shows us that the church of God is composed of saints with different racial, socio-cultural, language and educational backgrounds, yet all were meeting together in oneness as the church of God in a locality. Antioch is a small church compared to Jerusalem yet this local church gave the Holy Spirit the highest cooperation. The serving brothers in that church came together to pray, fellowship, minister and even to fast. They waited upon the Lord and looked to Him for His speaking, leading and direction in the church, the ministry and the work.

      These five brothers, who were already serving in a local church, were genuinely one intrinsically and practically in one accord outwardly. Their oneness and one accord allowed the Lord to move within them, among them and to speak to them even to the extent of making His divine intention known to them. They gave the Lord the highest cooperation and coordination in His move on earth for the carrying out of the Lord's great commission to go and disciple all nations. They are indeed absolute in spreading the kingdom of God.

      Thank the Lord for the good leading brothers in the church in Antioch who were excellent patterns. They were not just for their own locality. They are for the Lord's interest on the whole earth. That is why they can perfect the saints in a locality to serve not only in a local church but also in the ministry and even in the work. Seeing this, the hearts of the sisters were being broadened. We should do very well to learn and live this kind of church life as seen in the church in Antioch!

As Seen in the Church in Thessalonica

      The pattern of the church life as seen in the church in Thessalonica really humbled us. The church in Thessalonica was a young church composed of new and young believers. However such young believers in such a new church can receive so much from the apostle's short ministry of less than one month.

      To begin with, the Thessalonian believers realized their new position being in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. This makes them a holy people living a holy, separated life, a life for the church. They imitated Paul and also the Lord and eventually they became a pattern to the believers in the Roman provinces of Macedonia and Achaia. This in turn reminded us that we are the Lord's representatives and we need to be a proper pattern for others to imitate the Lord through us.

      Next, their Christian life is a serving life. They are those who turned from idols to serve a living and true God. In other words, not only did they worship God but they serve God. This living will spontaneously cause them to not only turn away from the false gods, together with the devil and the demons behind them, but also from all things other than God i.e. any person, thing, or matter that occupies their heart more than God. Saints, we should not allow anything to replace God. Rather we should serve the true and living God!

      The Thessalonian believers also had the work of faith, labor of love and endurance of hope. The work of faith begins with turning to God from idols and includes all our actions, relationship and behaviour with others. This is followed by the labor of love. We labor to serve our God and we serve because we love Him. Finally our living of the church life is with the endurance of hope and our hope is in the coming of the Son of God. It is marvelous that the young believers could live such a church life awaiting and hastening the Lord's return. May this governs, holds and keeps our Christian life for the church life.

As Seen in the Church in Philippi

      As we come to see the church in Philippi, we noticed that this church was established in good order, composed of the saints with overseers to take the lead and deacons to serve. The church in Philippi is a healthy church, especially in the matter of participating in the furtherance of the gospel. The saints in Philippi had fellowship unto the gospel, participating in the furtherance of the gospel through the apostle Paul's ministry. This participation included their financial contributions to the apostle, which issued in the furtherance of the gospel. This kind of fellowship kept them from being individualistic and gave them the ground for their experience and enjoyment of Christ.

      This point of Philippians should be in our church life today. The sisters were helped to see that the more fellowship we have in the furtherance of the gospel, the more Christ we experience and enjoy. This will kill our self, ambition, preference and choice. In fact we will become partakers of grace with the apostle in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, standing firm in one spirit and striving together with one soul along with the faith of the gospel.

      While the Philippians lived for the gospel, they learn to enjoy the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. The believers learn from Paul's example—"I can do all things in Him who empowers me" and magnify Christ under all circumstances. May this be our learning in our living of the church life, to take Christ as life, live Christ, magnify Christ and gain Christ.

Living the Proper Church Life—
for the Building Up of the Body of Christ,
for the Preparation of the Bride,
and for the Spreading of the Kingdom of God

      After seeing the patterns of the proper church life set by the five local churches, the sisters were being brought further to see the definite direction of such a living—the building up of the Body of Christ, the preparation of the bride, and the spreading of the kingdom of God. The living of the proper church life is for the building up of the Body of Christ. God's heart's desire is to express Himself through His Son, Christ, and through the church as the Body of Christ. Therefore, the Body needs to be built up. For the building up of the Body, perfecting is required. The more we are being perfected, the more the Triune God is being ministered into us, which will then produce the essence of the church to constitute the Body of Christ. The perfecting can take place only in the proper church life. Thank the Lord that He is directing us to the proper church life for the building up of His Body.

      The living of the proper church life is also for the preparation of the Bride and the preparation of the bride is for the Lord's coming back. God's economy in the New Testament is to obtain for Christ a bride, the church, through His judicial redemption and by His organic salvation in His divine life. Today we need to prepare ourselves to become the bride of Christ. In order to be Christ's bride to match Him, we must love Him with the first love, keeping our love fresh and absolute towards Him. We must have an intimate, private, personal, and spiritual relationship with our beloved Lord. We also need to grow in life unto maturity through life practices, and be beautified through the washing of the water in the Word to become a glorious church that can be presented to Christ our Husband.

      Finally, the goal of our living the proper church life is to spread the kingdom of God. As believers, we are the kingdom people and we should live the kingdom life, a life not of eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. On top of that, we bear the great commission to preach the gospel of the kingdom to the whole inhabited earth for the consummation of this age. During the church age, Christ is building up the church, the Body, to be His bride, and He will return with His overcoming bride as the smiting stone to crush the aggregate of human government and usher in the age of God's dominion over the entire earth.

Living the Proper Church Life—
Awaiting and Hastening the Lord's Second Coming

      All in all, a proper church life is a life of awaiting and hastening the Lord's return, as seen in the pattern of our Brother Nee throughout his ministry as well as the Thessalonian believers. Through the apostle's ministry, the Thessalonian believers knew the truth of the Lord's second coming and lived in the hope of being raptured. Their future is focused on Him, with no hope on this earth and no positive destiny in this age, for the coming Lord is their destiny forever.

      This should also govern, hold, and keep our Christian life for the church life today bearing in mind the preparation of the Lord's return takes place in the proper church life. As we carry out our daily living and earthly responsibilities on earth, we need to aspire to have a raptured spirit. We need to ask from God to grant us a strong desire to be raptured to meet our Lord in His second coming by believing in our heart and confessing with our mouth, "Lord, I want to be raptured alive!" If we have such a spirit, our heart and attitude towards all things would be different. We live on earth but our heart is in heaven.

      The living of our church life will be revolutionized. We will be the good and faithful slaves, using the talents that the Lord has entrusted us to serve Him and His church. We will also be prudent virgins who not only have oil in our lamps (spirit) but also pay the price to buy oil for our vessels (soul) in this age. In living our church life, we are watchful and sober for the day is the day of warfare.

Conclusion

      Praise the Lord for such an awesome revelation concerning living the proper church life according to the Scriptures. Such a living eventually serves the purpose of fulfilling God's eternal economy that He can return. Thank the Lord for His mercy, saving all those who heard these words from continuing their seemingly sweet and wonderful church life yet without God's goal as their goal. The sisters were stirred up in their spirit to live a life of awaiting the Lord's return in their church life. May the Lord preserve such a spirit in us, and may this yearning for the Lord's return govern our church life and propel us to practice the proper church life for the accomplishment of His economy. Amen!

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