June Pursuit is here! During the month of June we will be getting into Loving the Lord’s appearing and growing in life (by being in the “The Cycle of Life”)
We will be pursuing through Bible reading, a daily devotional, small group readings, and ministry video meetings. The following video is the opening word for the pursuit, enjoy!
“Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, with which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will recompense me in that day, and not only me but also all those who have loved His appearing.” – 2 Tim. 4:8
Col. 4:2 Persevere in prayer, watching in it with thanksgiving John 14:13-14 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.
We must learn to pray continually. George Müller is a good example of someone who prayed continually. According to his autobiography, everyone for whom he prayed eventually was saved. At the time of his death, only one or two were not saved. Later, however, even they were saved. There is the need for persistence in prayer. If we pray for a short time and do not see immediate results, we may be disappointed. Instead, we should pray continually and not give up. We do not know when the people in our prayers will be saved. George Müller even prayed for one person over a period of about forty years. We also should persistently pray for our contacts and even pray for them together with other saints. The ones that we mention before the throne of the Lord, asking in His name, will be saved (John 14:13-14). We must fulfill our priestly service by praying to bring people to the Lord. We should put them on our breast and shoulders (Exo. 28:29-30), bearing them in love and in power into the presence of the Lord. After we pray in this manner, we will be authorized and filled with the word. The word is our authority to go to the people as kings. We are both priests and kings (1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6). We are priests, so we can pray for the sinners to bring them to God, and we are kings, so we can bring God to the sinners. First we bring sinners to the Lord, and then we bring the Lord to sinners. When we go to the Lord with sinners by praying, we are priests. When we come to sinners with the Lord by preaching, we are kings. As kings, our speaking has authority. People will realize that our speaking is not ordinary but weighty.
1 Pet. 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people acquired for a possession, so that you may tell out the virtues of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Ephesians 6:12 For our wrestling is not against blood and flesh but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenlies
We need the preaching and the speaking of the word, but first we have to pray. As Christians, we are priests and kings (1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6). When we pray, we are functioning as priests. When we preach, we are functioning as kings. As priests, we should bring people to the Lord in our prayer. We have to bring all the people on the campuses to the Lord, and if possible, pray for them by name. While it may not be possible to name every name, we can still pray, “Lord, we do not know all the names of the people on campus, but You know them. We offer them all to You according to Your knowledge.”Prayer is also necessary to deal with the principalities and powers in the heavenly places (Eph. 6:12). Our fighting is against the evil spiritual forces in the heavenlies. Men do not reject the gospel because of its content. There is nothing offensive about the content of the gospel. The content of the gospel is good, bright, glorious, sweet, and rich. People reject the gospel because they are in the captivity of the strong man, the devil (Matt. 12:29). Before the young people go to the campuses, they must pray and bind the strong man (v. 29); otherwise, the demons will control and even frustrate their efforts to preach the gospel. The prayers of the saints will cause all the demons to tremble. We have to be one with the Lord to fight the spiritual warfare against His enemy. (Preaching the Gospel on the College Campuses)
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)
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)
How should we view our transition from one pursuit to another? May these verses and the included short podcast encourage you!
Brothers, I do not account of myself to have laid hold; but one thing I do: Forgetting the things which are behind and stretching forward to the things which are before, I pursue toward the goal for the prize to which God in Christ Jesus has called me upward. – Philippians 3:13-14
… And exercise yourself unto godliness. For bodily exercise is profitable for a little, but godliness is profitable for all things – 1 Timothy 4:7-8
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)
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)
I pursue toward the goal for the prize to which God in Christ Jesus has called me upward.
We, too, are being called by our dear Christ Jesus to a higher experience of Him. May this final ministry reading urge every one of us upward and may this third week be full of our giving our heart and even our whole life to Him!
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)
As we come to our dear Lord Jesus, again and again, we are learning to hear Him. In Luke 9:35 God commands us to do just that. Hear Him.
Please read these weighty verses from the gospel of Luke and then listen to the 12 minute inoculation podcast that follows.
6:22 Blessed are you when men hate you and when they separate you from them and reproach you and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake.
Definition of REPROACH: address (someone) in such a way as to express disapproval or disappointment.
9:28 And about eight days after these words, He took with Him Peter and John and James, and went up into the mountain to pray.
9:29 And as He prayed, the appearance of His face became different, and His garment dazzling white.
9:30 And behold, two men were conversing with Him, who were Moses and Elijah,
9:31 Who appeared in glory and spoke of His departure, which He was about to complete in Jerusalem.
9:32 Now Peter and those with him had been overcome with sleep, but when they had fully woken up, they saw His glory and the two men who were standing with Him.
9:33 And as they were departing from Him, Peter said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tents, one for You and one for Moses and one for Elijah — not knowing what he was saying.
9:34 And while he said these things, a cloud appeared and overshadowed them; and they became frightened as they entered into the cloud.
9:35 And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is My Son, the Chosen One. Hear Him!
9:36 And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and reported to no one in those days anything of what they had seen.
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)
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)