Whene’er we meet with Christ endued

2
Thanh Le

San Francisco, California, United States

In the church meetings our prophesying, our word sharing must be the Christ whom we have labored on, have experienced, have enjoyed. Only Christ, unique Christ we exhibit, we display, we share there, nothing else. Amen!


J.F.

Corpus Christi, TX, United States

In Christ we live, by Christ we fight,

On Christ we labor day and night,

And with His surplus we unite

To thus exhibit Christ.

In 1 Corinthians 14 Paul speaks about Christian meetings. In verse 23 he speaks of the whole church coming together in one place; this is a reference to big meetings. However, in verse 26 Paul says that whenever we come together, "each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation." The word has in this verse indicates something that each one has presently. When coming to a meeting, even before leaving home, we should have a psalm, a teaching, or a revelation to bring to the meeting. Before the meeting begins we should already have something. We should not bring just our Bible and come empty-handed because we have had a terrible week and feel as if we have nothing, while hoping to receive grace in the meeting. We should not sit in our seats and wait for the grace of the Holy Spirit to move and inspire us to choose a hymn. Instead, before we even leave for the meeting, we should already have something, as described in a hymn: "Whene'er we meet with Christ endued, / The surplus of His plenitude / We offer unto God as food, / And thus exhibit Christ" (Hymns, #864). This hymn was written based on the type of the Old Testament feasts. Each year the Israelites brought the produce of the good land to the Feast of Tabernacles. They brought cattle, sheep, grain, and new wine. They brought the produce of the good land and then exhibited all these riches (Deut. 16:13-17). All the produce typifies Christ. The riches of the produce that they brought typify the Christ we should bring to the meetings. Our meetings should be an exhibition of Christ.

Laboring on Christ as Our Good Land That We May Come Together with a Surplus of Him

Third, we must realize that our meetings are a gathering of the living members of Christ, who come together to express and exhibit Him. To have this kind of exhibition, we must all be living, full of Christ, and functioning so that when we come together, we come in Christ and with Christ. This is typified by the three main annual feasts in the Old Testament, in which the Israelites came together to worship God with the surplus of the riches of the good land. Deuteronomy 16:16 and 17 say, "Three times a year all your males shall appear before Jehovah your God in the place which He will choose...And they shall not appear before Jehovah empty-handed; each man shall give as he is able to give, according to the blessing of Jehovah your God, which He has given you." The good land is a type of the all-inclusive Christ. Because we are living, walking, and laboring on Christ as our good land, we have a surplus of the experiences of Christ, which we offer up for His expression. Stanza 1 of Hymns, #864 says, "Whene'er we meet with Christ endued, / The surplus of His plenitude / We offer unto God as food, / And thus exhibit Christ." Stanza 4 continues, "In meetings Christ to God we bear / And Christ with one another share, / And Christ with God enjoying there, / We thus exhibit Christ."

In our daily life we experience Christ as everything, including our patience, endurance, love, submission, and honor for our parents. This is not a mere objective knowledge of Christ; it is our experience of Him as everything to us in a living way in our daily life. Day by day we must look to the Lord that we would walk in the spirit, taking Christ as our life and enjoying Him as our all. In this way we will deposit more of the riches of Christ into our spiritual "bank" each day. Then whenever the church comes together, we will come with a surplus of Christ. We should not say that we have nothing of Christ. If we do not have a great portion of Christ, we at least have a certain measure. Even one who has just received the Lord can say, "Hallelujah, now I have something of Christ!" Christ is ready, available, and easy for us to receive, just like the air that we breathe. No one can excuse himself by saying that he has no way to take in the air. As the One who is so available, the Lord Jesus is the spiritual air for us to receive (John 20:22). When we receive Christ in this way, we have a portion of Him, and we can stand to proclaim, "I now have Christ as my portion!" This is a good way to testify in the meetings. Such a declaration will nourish all the brothers and sisters.

In using the phrase exhibit Christ, we use the modern word exhibit to refer to the matter of expressing Christ, which is spoken of in the Bible (Phil. 1:20-21). We all have some riches of Christ; when we display the riches of Christ, we exhibit His riches for all to enjoy. Therefore, to exhibit Christ is to express Christ.

In chapter fourteen of the same Epistle Paul talks about the Christian meeting. When he speaks of the whole church being together in one place, he first speaks of the big meetings. What should be done in the big meetings? In verse 26, Paul says: "Whenever you come together, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation ...." The word "has" in this verse does not indicate to have in the future but to have in the present. When you come to a meeting, before leaving home you already have a psalm or a revelation; therefore, you bring them to the meeting. Before the meeting you already have something. It is not that you have nothing before the meeting, yet you bring your Bible and come empty-handed, thinking that because you have had a terrible week, you have nothing, but are assured that in the meeting you will receive grace. Thus you sit in your seat and wait for grace. When the meeting begins or the Holy Spirit moves within, you are inspired, and so you choose a hymn. No, it is that before you leave for the meeting, you are one who already "has," as described by a hymn: "Whene'er we meet with Christ endued...and thus exhibit Christ" (Hymns, #864). This hymn was written according to the types of the Old Testament feasts. Each year the Israelites brought the produce of the land to the feasts. They brought cattle, sheep, grain, and new wine. They brought the produce of the good land and then exhibited all these riches. All the produce typifies Christ. The riches of the produce that they brought to the feast typifies the Christ brought to the New Testament meetings. Our meetings should be an exhibition of Christ.

The big meetings spoken of by Paul are those to which each one brings Christ. However, our big meetings are not like this. We are somewhat like Christianity, with one man speaking and the rest listening. In Paul's ministry there were not only big meetings but also home meetings. We know this because in his Epistles he mentions the church in the home of a certain brother at least four times (Rom. 16:5; 1 Cor. 16:19; Col. 4:15; Philem. 2). If the church was in a brother's home, there certainly must have been home meetings. From this you can see that there were big meetings and home meetings under the ministries of both Peter and Paul.

The phrase "exhibit Christ" is unfamiliar not only to our unbelieving friends, but it is also quite new even to those believers who have been saved for many years. This song was first written in English in 1963. Then in 1966 we translated it into Chinese. After this song was written, everyone liked to sing it. The more I sing this hymn, the more I enjoy it.

The Bible gives us a type in the Old Testament to describe the situation of God's people when they gather together. After the children of Israel entered the land of Canaan, they had to labor and cultivate the land. If they did not do this, there would be no produce. The more they labored, the more they were blessed by God; God sent rain, fresh air, and the proper climate for them to have a rich and abundant harvest. God commanded that three times a year they had to bring the rich produce of their land to offer to God and to satisfy God (Deut. 16:16). There at the feast everyone enjoyed all the riches together with God.

We have all received the all-inclusive Christ as the good land (Col. 1:12). It is a land flowing with milk and honey. In our daily life we should experience this rich Christ all the time. When we come together we should present this Christ whom we have experienced and offer Him to God to be His food. Then we can all enjoy this Christ together as our enjoyment. If you were to enter into Jerusalem during one of the feasts of the children of Israel, you would have seen the temple surrounded by all kinds of produce of the good land. This is truly an exhibition. It is an exhibition before God of all the produce that the children of Israel harvested.

We have to learn to speak the riches of Christ in hymns such as Hymn 864 which begins:

Whene'er we meet with Christ endued,

The surplus of His plenitude

We offer unto God as food,

And thus exhibit Christ.

By what way do we offer Christ to God? We offer Him to God by our speaking to God. This is prayer. However, many times when we pray, it seems that in our prayer we are teaching God. That is absolutely wrong. The most precious prayer is to present Christ to God. Speak Him to God; this is the best prayer.

The hymn continues, "Let us exhibit Christ." To meet is to just have an exhibition of Christ. We exhibit Christ by speaking one to another in hymns, psalms, and songs. The content of our speaking must be the incarnated, crucified, resurrected, and ascended Christ with all His attributes. He is the subject. He is the center. He is God's centrality and universality. He is the reality of our living. We just have to speak Him in many, many items. We present Him to God by speaking Him to God. We exhibit Him to the meeting ones by speaking Him to the meeting ones, by speaking to one another. We have a lot of riches of Christ to speak. We need to learn to speak Christ to God and to speak Christ to one another.