I love the church life. To me, there is nothing more wonderful on the earth. It is indescribably sweet. The singing, the meals, the pray-reading, the exercise of the spirit, the feeding on the Word, the fruit-bearing, the burden-bearing, the trainings, the twos-and-threes, the prophesying, the Lord’s Table. Without the church life, our personal touch with the Lord, and inner life, there would be no outflow.
Recently the Lord has comforted me with the truth of the kingdom. Regarding the kingdom, there is the inner reality (Matt. 5-7), the outward appearance (Matt .13), and the coming manifestation (Matt. 24-25). Over the past few months, much attention has been given to the outward appearance.
The realm of the appearance of the kingdom contains all manner of evil things (Matt. 13:32-33). Years ago one leading brother wisely said, “If it can happen in the world, it can happen in the church.” He spoke this so that the saints would not be stumbled when the flesh reared its ugly head within the church. But, oh saints, how about the inward reality!? This is why we are here!
To some degree we have all tasted the reality within the church life. This reality is actually a foretaste of the kingdom! We have touched the next age in this age! Maybe it was a sweet home meeting in which we were entering into the vital groups. Maybe it was a companion with whom we pursued the Lord.
We are not idealists who are ignorant of the enemy’s activity and expect the church life to be a utopia. Rather, we are visionaries, in whose hearts are highways to Zion!
When I had been in the church life just a few years, Satan tried to derail my experience of the Lord by pitting me against my fathers in the church life. It began subtly, with just a slight difference of opinion. Within a few months the enemy had driven a seemingly insurmountable wedge of division between me and them.
My enjoyment of the water of life dried up and I could not contact the Lord. I stopped meeting. By the Lord’s mercy, although in my mind I was still right and they were wrong, I realized I was in utter darkness. I repented and began to ask the elders for forgiveness one by one. As I repented and confessed life began to flow again! Rays of light began to pierce through the clouds!
This experience has become a great help to me. Numbers 12:8 rings true: “Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant, against Moses?” I wish I had been more afraid to speak against God’s authority.
May we know authority! To know authority is to know God. On the one hand the church is the family of God, full of enjoyment. On the other hand, the church is the kingdom of God with God’s authority. As a young brother, being under authority is a great blessing.