The Tree of Life – How to Feast… Through Prayer

Wednesday, November 29, 2017, 6pm.

Feast-on-the-tree-of-life-through-prayerElijah was a man of like feeling with us, and he earnestly prayed that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. (James 5: 17)

The appearance of the wheels and their workmanship were like the sight of beryl. And the four of them had one likeness; that is, their appearance and their workmanship were as it were a wheel within a wheel. (Ezekiel 1: 16)

note: In James 5:17, the words ‘earnestly prayed’ can also be translated ‘prayed in prayer’. Furthermore, the inner wheel in Ezekiel 1:16 represents the praying Christ while the outer wheel represents our prayer.

In our experience, how can we know that Christ is praying within us while we are praying?

And receive the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which Spirit is the word of God, By means of all prayer and petition, praying at every time in spirit and watching unto this in all perseverance and petition concerning all the saints. (Ephesians 6: 17-18)

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6: 33)

What is the proper way to take the word? What is the relationship between prayer and the word?

“The proper prayer must be started from the Holy of Holies, from the place where the glory of God is, from the place where the Father can glorify the Son and let the Son glorify Him.”

Further reading: The Tree of Life, chapter 12, published by Living Stream Ministry

 

The Tree of Life – How to Feast… Through the Word

Wednesday, November 15, 2017, 6pm.

It-is-the-Spirit-who-gives-LifeI. THE STORY OF THE CHILDREN’S BREAD

Matt 15:21-28 And Jesus went from there and withdrew into the parts of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman came out from those borders and cried out, saying, Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter suffers terribly from demon possession. But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, Send her away, for she is crying out after us. But He answered and said, I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. But she came and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, help me! But He answered and said, It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs. And she said, Yes, Lord, for even the little dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said to her, O woman, great is your faith! Be it done to you as you wish. And her daughter was healed from that hour.

II. THE CHRISTIAN LIFE BEING A LIFE OF ENJOYMENT

A. The Beginning of the Christian Life—a Marriage Feast

Matt 22:2 The kingdom of the heavens has become like a king who prepared a wedding feast for his son.

B. The Continuation of the Christian Life—the Lord’s Table

1 Cor. 11:24-26 And having given thanks, He broke it and said, This is My body, which is given for you; this do unto the remembrance of Me. Similarly also the cup after they had dined, saying, This cup is the new covenant established in My blood; this do, as often as you drink it, unto the remembrance of Me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you declare the Lord’s death until He comes.

C. The Consummation of the Christian Life—the Marriage Dinner of the Lamb

Rev. 19:9 And he said to me, Write, Blessed are they who are called to the marriage dinner of the Lamb. And he said to me, These are the true words of God.

III. THE LORD BEING THE SPIRIT AND THE WORD

John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.

2 Cor. 3:6, 17 Who has also made us sufficient as ministers of a new covenant, ministers not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life… And the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

2 Tim. 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for conviction, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

IV. EXERCISING OUR SPIRIT TO TOUCH THE WORD

John 4:24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truthfulness.

Eph. 6:17-18 And receive the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which Spirit is the word of God, By means of all prayer and petition, praying at every time in spirit and watching unto this in all perseverance and petition concerning all the saints,

V. THE WRITTEN WORD BECOMING THE LIVING WORD

John 15:12 This is My commandment, that you love one another even as I have loved you.

Gal. 2:20 I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Further reading: The Tree of Life, chapter 11, published by Living Stream Ministry

The Tree of Life – Growing Within Us

Wednesday, November 8, 2017, 6pm.

Behold the sower went out to sowAnd out of the ground Jehovah God caused to grow every three that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, as well as the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Gen 2:9)

Taste and see that Jehovah is good; / Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. (Psa 34:8)

As newborn babes, long for the guileless milk of the word in order that by it you may grow unto salvation, If you have tasted that the Lord is good. (1 Pet 2:2-3)

What does God, as this tree of life, want us to do?

And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, Behold, the sower went out to sow. (Matt 13:3)

And as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the way, and the birds came and devoured them. And others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much earth, and immediately they sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But others fell on the good earth and yielded fruit, one a hundredfold, and on sixty fold, and one thirtyfold. (Matt 13:4-5, 7-8)

Another parable He set before them, saying, The kingdom of the heavens has become like a man sowing good seed in his field. (Matt 13:24)

Nor will they say, Behold, here it is! Or, There! For behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you. (Luke 17:21)

Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)

1. What is the metaphor here for the kingdom of God?
2. From these verses above we can tell the sower sows a seed and it yields fruit. What would a seed need in order to grow and yield fruits?
3. Given the answer to the VERY FIRST question, how are these verses related to God’s purpose? In other words, what do we need to do to pursue the growth of life?

Further reading: The Tree of Life, chapter 10, published by Living Stream Ministry

The Tree of Life – Christ Opening the Way

Wednesday, November 1, 2017, 6pm.

Christ Opening the WayAnd Jehovah God said, Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat and live forever—Then Jehovah God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to work the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out, and at the east of the garden of Eden He placed the cherubim and a flaming sword which turned in every direction to guard the way to the tree of life. (Gen. 3:22-24)

He then says, “And their sins and their lawlessnesses I shall by no means remember anymore.” Now where forgiveness of these is, there is no longer an offering for sin. Having therefore, brothers, boldness for entering the Holy of Holies in the blood of Jesus, Which entrance He initiated for us as a new and living way through the veil, that is, His flesh, (Heb. 10:17-20)

Genesis 3 describes how Adam and Eve were driven out from the Garden of Eden. What happened to the way to the tree of life?

In Hebrews 10 we can see that we have the way to enter into the Holy of Holies. Compare the way that was lost in Genesis in the Old Testament to the New Testament way that was regained and is presented in Hebrews.

For the word of God is living and operative and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit and of joints and marrow, and able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Having therefore a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast the confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all respects like us, yet without sin. Let us therefore come forward with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace for timely help. (Heb. 4:12, 14-16)

Tell us something about this great High Priest presented in Hebrews.
We’ve covered many aspects of Jesus Christ as the tree of life but how can we enjoy Him and even eat Him as the tree of life?

Further reading: The Tree of Life, chapter 9, published by Living Stream Ministry

The Tree of Life – The Fire, the Breath, and The Water in Ezekiel

Wednesday, October 25, 2017, 6pm.

The Fire the Breath and the Water in EzekielThen I saw something like the sight of electrum, like the appearance of fire encased all around, from the appearance of His loins and upward; and from the appearance of His loins and downward, I saw something like the appearance of fire. And there was brightness all around Him. (Ezekiel 1:27)

note: God is a burning fire to burn away all things which do not correspond with His divine nature.

How does God burn away all that is in us that does not correspond with His divine nature?

Then He said to me, Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of Jehovah. Thus says the Lord Jehovah to these bones: I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. (Ezek 37:4 – 5)

note: The air, the breath, is the divine Spirit. The air came into the dead and dry bones to quicken them, to make them alive, and to give them all that they needed in order to constitute them into a body. By this breathing out of God we will be quickened, regenerated, and we will grow up and be built up.

Based on what is presented about God’s breath, what can we do to cooperate?

And on the banks on both sides of the river will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail; but they will bring forth new fruit every month, because the water for them flows out of the sanctuary. And their fruit shall be for food, and their leaves for healing. (Ezek 47:12)

In Ezekiel 47:12, where does the ministering and supplying water come from? What about today?

And these are the exits of the city: On the north side, which measures four thousand five hundred reeds, (Now the gates of the city shall be according to the names of the tribes of Israel) three gates to the north: the gate of Reuben, one; the gate of Judah, one; the gate of Levi, one; And on the east side, which is four thousand five hundred reeds, another three gates: the gate of Joseph, one; the gate of Benjamin, one; the gate of Dan, one; And on the south side, which measures four thousand five hundred reeds, another three gates: the gate of Simeon, one; the gate of Issachar, one; the gate of Zebulun, one; On the west side, which is four thousand five hundred reeds, their three gates: the gate of Gad, one; the gate of Asher, one; the gate of Naphtali, one. (Ezek 48:30 – 35)

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God. (Rev 2:7)

Use “THREE”, “FOUR”, “TWELVE”, “MULTIPLICATION”, and “MINGLING” to explain Ezekiel 48:30-35.

How does MINGLING explain EATING?

Further reading: The Tree of Life, chapter 8, published by Living Stream Ministry

The Tree of Life – For the Father’s House

Wednesday, October 18, 2017, 6pm.

In My Fathers HouseDo not let your heart be troubled; believe into God, believe also into Me. In My Father’s house are many abodes; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will receive you to Myself, so that where I am you also may be. And where I am going you know the way. Thomas said to Him, Lord, we do not know where You are going; how can we know the way? Jesus said to him, I am the way and the reality and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me. – (John 14:1-6)

Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak from Myself, but the Father who abides in Me does His works. – (John 14:10)

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, that He may be with you forever, Even the Spirit of reality, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him; but you know Him, because He abides with you and shall be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you. Yet a little while and the world beholds Me no longer, but you behold Me; because I live, you also shall live. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. – (John 14:16-20)

Jesus answered and said to him, If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make an abode with him. – (John 14:23)

In John 1, God takes a major step to become flesh.

  1. In John 14, Jesus tells His disciples that He is going. What does He say He is going to do?
  2. In His next major step, Christ becomes the life-giving Spirit. How does He do it?
  3. Now the tree of life, Christ as the life-giving Spirit is in you; but where are you?
  4. Briefly describe “the Father’s house”.

Further reading: The Tree of Life, chapter 7, published by Living Stream Ministry

The Tree of Life – Christ Sacrificed So That We Might Eat

Wednesday, October 4, 2017, 6pm.

Christ Sacrificed so that we Might EatAnd if your offering is a meal offering made in a pot, it shall be made of fine flour with oil. And you shall bring to Jehovah the meal offering that is made of these things and present it to the priest, and he shall bring it to the altar. And the priest shall take up from the meal offering its memorial portion and shall burn it on the altar, an offering by fire, a satisfying fragrance to Jehovah. And that which is left of the meal offering shall be Aaron’s and his sons’; it is a thing most holy of Jehovah’s offerings by fire. (Lev. 2:7-10)

And from it he shall present one out of each offering as a heave offering to Jehovah; it shall belong to the priest who sprinkles the blood of the peace offerings. And the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving shall be eaten on the day of his offering; he shall not leave any of it until the morning.
(Lev. 7:14-15)

What two categories of offerings can you see in the verses above?

And He said, A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to the father, Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me. And he distributed to them his living. And not many days after, the younger son, having gathered everything together, went abroad to a distant country and there squandered his estate by living dissolutely. And when he had spent all, a severe famine occurred throughout that country, and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed hogs. And he longed to be satisfied with the carob pods which the hogs were eating, and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself, he said, How many of my father’s hired servants abound in bread, but I am perishing here in famine! I will rise up and go to my father, and I will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants. And he rose up and came to his own father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with compassion, and he ran and fell on his neck and kissed him affectionately. And the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son. But the father said to his slaves, Bring out quickly the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fattened calf; slaughter it, and let us eat and be merry… (Luke 15:11-23)

What do you enjoy most from this famous parable of the prodigal son?

And to Adam He said, because you listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree concerning which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it… And Jehovah God made coats of skin for Adam and for his wife and clothed them. (Gen. 3:17,21)

Can you see the similarity between the parable in Luke and these verses in Genesis?

Further reading: The Tree of Life, chapter 6, published by Living Stream Ministry

The Tree of Life – Its Fruit, Rivers of Living Water

Wednesday, September 27, 2017, 6pm.

Rivers of Living WaterAnd Jehovah God made coats of skin for Adam and for his wife and clothed them. (Gen 3:21)

And Abel also brought an offering, from the firstlings of his flock, that is, from their fat portions. And Jehovah had regard for Abel and for his offering. (Gen 4:4)

Speak to all the assembly of Israel, saying, On the tenth of this month each man shall take a lamb according to his fathers’ house, a lamb for a household… And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. (Exo. 12:3,7)

The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)
Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall by no means hunger, and he who believes into Me shall by no means ever thirst…For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. (John 6:35,55)

We’ve seen how Christ is the tree of life to be food to us.
As the Lamb of God, what is Christ to you?

Some More Items of Christ in the Gospel of John for our enjoyment:

the Word who is God (John 1:1), life as the light of men (v.4), received by us to make us children of God (v.12), incarnated as a man full of grace and reality (v.14), the heavenly ladder joining us to God (v.51), the temple (vv. 2:19,21), the wine as life for our enjoyment (v. 10), the bronze serpent, in the likeness of the flesh of sin, yet without the poison of sin (3:14), the living water and fountain (v. 14)

Can you remember some other items of Christ for our enjoyment? Continue reading the Bible and see how many more items of Christ you can find!

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes into Me, as the Scripture said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water. But this He said concerning the Spirit, whom those who believed into Him were about to receive; for the Spirit was not yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified. (John 7:37-39)

You are preparing to help your friend to enjoy the Lord. Speak the verses above in your own words.

Further reading: The Tree of Life, chapter 5, published by Living Stream Ministry

The Tree of Life – A day in Your courts is better than a thousand

Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 6pm.

A-Day-In-Your-Courts-is-Better-than-a-ThousandJesus said to them, I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall by no means hunger, and he who believes into Me shall by no means ever thirst. (John 6:35)

As the living Father has sent Me and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me. (John 6:57)

And out of the ground Jehovah God caused to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, as well as the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Gen. 2:9)

Use these verses to describe God’s intention for man.

They are saturated with the fatness of Your house, / And You cause them to drink of the river of Your pleasures. (Psa. 36:8)

With You is the fountain of life; / In Your light we see light. (Psa. 36:9)

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. (John 1:4)

Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, I am the light of the world; he who follows me shall by no means walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12)

In My Father’s house are many abodes; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2)

What does the “house” in the verses above refer to? How do these verses relate to each other?

One thing I have asked from Jehovah; / That do I seek: / To dwell in the house of Jehovah / All the days of my life, / To behold the beauty of Jehovah, / And to inquire in His temple. (Psa. 27:4)

A day in Your courts is better than a thousand; / I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God / Than dwell in the tents of the wicked. (Psa. 84:10)

Is there something in these two verses that touches you?

Further reading: The Tree of Life, chapter 4, published by Living Stream Ministry

The Tree of Life – Who is Christ?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 6pm.

Who-Is-ChristFor a child is born to us, / A Son is given to us; / And the government / Is upon His shoulder; / And His name will be called / Wonderful Counselor, / Mighty God, / Eternal Father, / Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Jesus said to him, I am the way and the reality and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and henceforth you know Him and have seen Him. Philip said to Him, Lord, show us the Father and it is sufficient for us. Jesus said to him, Have I been so long a time with you, and you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how is it that you say, Show us the Father? (John 14:6-9)

Can you use these verses to answer the question, “Who is Christ?”

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, that He may be with you forever, Even the Spirit of reality, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him; but you know Him, because He abides with you and shall be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you. (John 14:16-18)

And the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.(2 Cor. 3:17)

What mystery is revealed in these verses?

And when He had said this, He breathed into them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit. (John 20:22)

Incarnation, Human Living, Crucifixion, Resurrection. These were the steps the Lord went through. When did the above verse take place? And with whom?

Further reading: The Tree of Life, chapter 3, published by Living Stream Ministry