Companions – Members of The Body of Christ

Higher Ground | Day 19

MEMBERS OF THE BODY OF CHRIST

1 Cor. 12:12 For even as the body is one and has many members, yet all the members of the body, being many, are one body, so also is the Christ.
1 Cor. 12:27 Now you are the Body of Christ, and members individually.

Everyone who is saved is a member of the Body of Christ. Is the life in each one of us, then, a life pertaining to the members or to the Body? The Bible and our experience prove that though each one of us is a member of Christ, the life in each one of us is not a member life but a Body life. All the members of our body are sharing one life. Each member shares in common the same life together with all the other members, that is, the life of the entire body. For example, an ear, unless it has been cut off, shares the same blood that flows through the eye, the nose, and the whole body. Similarly, in the Body of Christ, when one member is joined to the Body or having fellowship with the Body, his life is the life of the Body, and the life of the Body is his life. It would not do for him to be separated from the other members, or vice versa, because the life in him and in the other members is of the same Body; it can neither be distinguished nor separated. It is this life that joins us together to become the Body of Christ; or, to say it more precisely and emphatically, it is this life that mingles with us to become the Body of Christ. (The Experience of Life, Chapter 15)


Companions – The Divine Fellowship

Higher Ground | Day 18

THE DIVINE FELLOWSHIP

1 John 1:2-3 (And the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and report to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us); 3 That which we have seen and heard we report also to you that you also may have fellowship with us, and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.

Just as the current of electricity is the electricity itself, the fellowship of the divine life, the flow of the divine life, is the divine life itself. We can say that electrical appliances live an “electrical life,” a life of the current of electricity. Similarly, our Christian life is a life of the fellowship of the divine life. The New Testament reveals that the Christian meeting, the Christian married life, and the Christian work are just the divine fellowship. The divine fellowship is everything in the Christian life. Those who were saved in Acts 2 were brought into and continued steadfastly in the apostles’ fellowship (v. 42). Later in the New Testament, the divine fellowship is called the fellowship of the Father and of His Son (1 John 1:3), the fellowship of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 13:14), and the fellowship of spirit (Phil. 2:1).

In John’s first Epistle, he speaks of the divine fellowship. First John 1:2-3 says, “(And the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and report to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us); that which we have seen and heard we report also to you that you also may have fellowship with us, and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” The apostles wanted to have fellowship with the believers; this is horizontal fellowship. Then the apostles stated that their fellowship was with the Triune God; this is vertical fellowship. The vertical fellowship brings us into the horizontal fellowship. The horizontal fellowship then brings us into the vertical fellowship on a larger scale. This larger scale of fellowship is the meetings. (The Triune God to Be Life to the Tripartite Man, Chapter 18)


Companions – Looking for Three Kinds of Companions

Higher Ground | Day 17

LOOKING FOR THREE KINDS OF COMPANIONS

Mark 10:30 But that he shall receive a hundred times as much now at this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and fields, with persecutions, and in the coming age, eternal life.
1 Timothy 1:2 To Timothy, genuine child in faith: Grace, mercy, peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

We should look for three kinds of companions. The first kind should be those who are at our spiritual level. This kind of friend is for mutual help—we can help him, and he can help us. The second kind should be more experienced in the Lord; he can lead us. We need to listen to such a one and receive his help, be restricted by him, and even be subject to him. I believe that Paul was such a companion to Timothy and to Titus; Paul was like their father. For this reason Timothy and Titus had to learn submission, and they had to subject themselves to his authority (1 Tim. 1:1-2; Titus 1:4). We should also look for this kind of companion. The third kind of companion should be one who is younger and weaker. We should render him help and lead him like a big brother leading his younger siblings.

We should have these three kinds of companions. It is best for every believer to have two companions who are at the same level, a companion who is younger, and a companion who is older. The brothers should look for companions among the brothers, and the sisters should look for companions among the sisters. They should look for all three kinds of companions. (Knowing and Experiencing God as Life, ch. 2)

Companions – Benefits of Having Spiritual Companions

Higher Ground | Day 16

BENEFITS OF HAVING SPIRITUAL COMPANIONS

1 Thess. 3:7-8 – Because of this we were comforted because of you, brothers, in all our necessity and affliction, through your faith; 8 Because now we live if you stand firm in the Lord.

The best way to have spiritual growth and receive spiritual benefit is to find a few brothers and sisters to be our spiritual companions so that we can open to one another, seek one another, help one another, and solve one another’s problems in all spiritual things. On one hand, we should regularly seek the Lord on our own, and on the other hand, with a pure heart we should frequently have open fellowship with a few brothers and sisters. We would be blessed if we would fellowship concerning our weaknesses or problems, concerning matters that we cannot overcome, and concerning matters that cause us to fall. We often cannot overcome a certain sin alone, but if we are willing to fellowship about it, the sin will be overcome. This is quite marvelous.

Spiritual companions are such a great benefit because of the principle of the Body. God is our life, but He is not only in us individually; He is in us corporately. Therefore, whenever we fellowship, we will be helped by the other members, and they will be helped by us.

In order to kindle wood in a stove, there must be at least three pieces of firewood. It is very difficult to start a fire with only one piece of firewood, and if a fire is started, it will easily be quenched. This is an example of our condition before God. In order to pursue the Lord in a good way, we must find three to six brothers and sisters with whom we can come together regularly. We should be open and fellowship with one another without any reservation concerning our condition toward the Lord and our situation before Him. If we would practice this, our weaknesses will be swallowed up, our problems will be solved, the light in us will become brighter, our spirit will be strengthened and refreshed, and our love for the Lord will be more fervent. The benefits of having spiritual companions are too great. (Knowing and Experiencing God as Life, Chapter 12)

Companions – Examples of Companions in the Bible

Higher Ground | Day 15

EXAMPLES OF COMPANIONS IN THE BIBLE

Daniel 2:17-18 – Then Daniel went to his house and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, 18 That they might request compassions from before the God of the heavens concerning this mystery so that Daniel and his companions would not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

The word “companion” includes the elements of friendship, but it goes much further to include the thought of intimate association. One meaning of the Hebrew word for companion is associate. A companion is an associate. If you and someone else are associates, you have a common interest, a common enterprise, in a common career. I do not wish to imply that there was no common interest between Abraham and God. They did share a common interest, but it was not of the same degree as that between Moses and God. To the uttermost, God and Moses were partners in a great enterprise. They were both involved in the same “career.” Moses and the Lord were not only intimate friends; they were associates, partners, companions. (LS Exodus ch. 176)

The Bible contains many examples of companions. There are many spiritual companions in the Old Testament. Caleb and Joshua were companions who followed God together (Num. 32:12). David and Jonathan were also spiritual companions (1 Sam. 18:1). When Daniel was taken to Babylon, he had three friends who feared God and lived in His presence (Dan. 1:6). When Daniel encountered difficulties, they prayed together in one accord. Thus, their prayer was powerful and received the Lord’s specific answer.

The principle of companions also exists in the New Testament and is strengthened. When the Lord Jesus sent out His disciples, they went in groups of two (Luke 10:1). This is the principle of companions. In the book of Acts the disciples rarely moved or acted alone. When Peter went out, John was with him (3:1). When Paul went out, Barnabas, Silas, Timothy, and Luke were his companions (12:25; 17:10; 20:4; 2 Tim. 4:11). (Knowing and Experiencing God as Life, ch. 2)


Companions – Need for Spiritual Companions (2)

Higher Ground | Day 14

NEED FOR SPIRITUAL COMPANIONS (2)

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12 – Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor; 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls and does not have another to lift him up!…12 And while a man may prevail against the one, the two will withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

[This message was spoken to junior high students, and applies to us today.]

The young people must make the decision to pick up some others as companions. Daniel had his three friends. Under the Lord Jesus, in the New Testament none of the disciples were individuals. They were sent two by two; they all had companions. Peter and Andrew and James and John are referred to in the Gospels in pairs (Matt. 4:18, 21).

Young people need at least one companion. You must consider before the Lord whether you have a real companion in pursuing the Lord. Joshua could have said that Caleb was his companion, and Caleb could have said that Joshua was his companion. However, it is better to have three or four companions. Because of these perilous times, we need more companions. If we have four companions to support us from each direction, we will not fall, regardless of what storm may come. If one stands by himself, he will possibly be captured by the enemy. It is best for four or five young ones from junior high school to come together as companions. Let the young brothers be companions to one another, and let the young sisters be companions to one another.

We need companions not only because we are too weak to stand by ourselves but also because we are all so natural. According to our natural disposition, it is very hard for us to have companions. Our individualism is a pleasure to us. We enjoy our individualism so much. We may not care for a brother or a sister because they are not like us. We demand that others be like us. Wanting people to be like us is devilish. If we love the Lord, we should be able to go to any young brother or sister, not caring for what they are like. They may be slow or quick, dull or smart, like you or one hundred percent different from you. We should forget all the differences. We must have companions. If the young people would be grouped in this way, Satan will be put to shame. This is a great matter. (Fellowship with the Young People, Chapter 1)

Companions – Need for Spiritual Companions (1)

Higher Ground | Day 13

NEED FOR SPIRITUAL COMPANIONS (1)

Romans 12:5 – So we who are many are one Body in Christ, and individually members one of another
2 Timothy 2:22 – But flee youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Experiencing God as life is not only an individual matter; it is also a corporate matter. God wants to be life not only to an individual believer but also to all those who believe into His Son. As those who have been saved, we have God in us as life. If we experience Him as life merely by ourselves, our experience will be very limited. Our experience of God as life is mainly through the experiences of other believers.

Every saved person is a member of the Body of Christ (Rom. 12:5). A member of our physical body often can enjoy the benefits of our body only through the other members. Similarly, under normal conditions a believer does not enjoy God as life only by himself. An isolated brother who enjoys God as life will gradually realize that his enjoyment does not last long and that his experience is limited. In order to experience God as life, we should pay attention not only to our individual experiences but also to the experiences of other believers. This is the corporate aspect of experiencing God as life.

You must have such a life of fleeing and pursuing. However, when you endeavor to flee and pursue, you will find that you are not able to do so by yourself. The way to flee youthful lusts and pursue Christ is in the last part of 2 Timothy 2:22. This verse says, “Flee youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” You need “those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” By yourself you are inadequate. The key is to be “with those.” As a young person you may be very strong, but your strength means nothing. The enemy, Satan, is stronger than you are, but under God’s sovereign provision you have “those.” You must pursue “with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (Fellowship with the Young People, Chapter 1)

Life Practices – Praising

Higher Ground | Day 12

PRAISING

Psalm 22:3 – But You are holy, You who sit enthroned / Upon the praises of Israel.
Psalm 119:164 – Seven times a day I praise You for Your righteous ordinances
Heb. 13:15 – Through Him then let us offer up a sacrifice of praise continually to God, that is, the fruit of lips confessing His name.

Praise is the highest work carried out by God’s children. We can say that the highest expression of a saint’s spiritual life is his praise to God. God’s throne is the highest point in the universe, yet He sits “enthroned upon the praises of Israel” (Psa. 22:3). God’s name and even God Himself are exalted through praise.

David said in a psalm that he prayed to God three times a day (Psa. 55:17). Yet in another psalm, he said that he praised God seven times a day (119:164). David was inspired by the Holy Spirit when he acknowledged the importance of praising. He prayed only three times a day, but he praised seven times a day….We should praise the Lord all our life. We should sing praises to our God. (Praising, pp. 1)

Many times praise works where prayer fails. This is a very basic principle. If you cannot pray, why not praise? The Lord has placed another item in your hands for your victory and for you to boast in victory. Whenever you run out of strength to pray and you find your spirit heavily oppressed, wounded, or sagging, praise Him. If you cannot pray, try to praise. We invariably think that we should pray when the burden is heavy and praise when the burden is over. But please bear in mind that there are times when the burden is so heavy that you cannot pray. That is the time for you to praise. We do not praise when there is no burden; we praise when the burden becomes too heavy. When you encounter unusual circumstances and problems and are bewildered and feel like collapsing, just remember one thing, “Why not praise?” Here is a golden opportunity. If you offer your praise at that moment, God’s Spirit will operate in you, open all the doors, and break all the chains. (The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 48, pp. 169, 227-228, 252)

Life Practices – Singing

Higher Ground | Day 11

SINGING

Eph. 5:18–19 – And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissoluteness, but be filled in spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and psalming with your heart to the Lord.
Acts 16:25 – And about midnight Paul and Silas, while praying, sang hymns of praise to God; and the prisoners were listening to them.

We must learn to sing because the more we sing, the more we get out of our mind and forget about our circumstances. The more we sing, the more we are in the spirit and the more our spirit is open and released. This is not my thought or opinion; this is the thought of the Holy Spirit and the thought of the apostle Paul. In Ephesians 5:18–19, Paul says that we should be filled in spirit, speaking to one another by singing. If we speak to one another by singing a psalm, hymn, or spiritual song, our spirits will be exercised and the Spirit will come out. We should not try to sing in a musical way but in a spiritual way. We should even forget about the music, the meter, and the rhyme. I am not a musician or an expert singer; I cannot sing that well. However, whether I sing well or not, I must sing. We must learn how to praise the Lord by singing. We need to read, study, and be able to recite some hymns. This way we can sing on the street or in the car. This matter is revealed not only in the New Testament but also in the Old Testament. When the people of Israel came together to worship God in the Old Testament, they sang as they were on their way to Zion (Psa. 133:1–3). If we sing while we are coming to the meeting in the car, the meeting will be in the heavens. We must learn to exercise and open our spirit by singing. (The Exercise of Our Spirit for the Release of the Spirit, pp. 23, 39–40)

Life Practices – Exercising Our Spirit to Pray with The Word

Higher Ground | Day 10

EXERCISING OUR SPIRIT TO PRAY WITH 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.
Matt. 4:4 – But He answered and said, It is written, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out through the mouth of God.”
Jer. 15:16 – Your words were found and I ate them, and Your word became to me the gladness and joy of my heart, for I am called by Your name, O Jehovah, God of hosts.

John 6:63 says, “The words which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” The word has to be spirit in order to be life to us. Therefore, we must know how to transfer the word we have understood into the Spirit. If we come to the Bible only by exercising our eyes and mind to understand it, the word is still only the word. The way to transfer the word into the Spirit is by exercising our spirit to pray.

The right way to receive the word is to take it as the breath of life from God (2 Tim. 3:16). This is the life food by which man lives, not by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out from the mouth of God (Matt. 4:4). This is food for the spirit, so we have to exercise our spirit to take it. To receive food for our physical body, we have to exercise our mouth, but to receive spiritual food for our spirit, we have to exercise our spirit. Whenever we come to the word, we need to realize that it is spiritual food. We must exercise our spirit to eat it, not merely to know it. We should forget about knowing and simply eat Christ. This word is the written word of the living Word. It is the expression, the revelation, of the living Word, who is Christ. He is our food, our bread of life, so whenever we come to the Bible, we come to food, not for the body but for the spirit, so we must use our spirit to take it. This is clear to us, but we have to practice to receive the word in this way, not merely to read the Bible for knowledge but to read it for feeding on it. (Enjoying Christ as the Word and the Spirit through Prayer, pp. 31-33)