• Scripture Reading: Acts 26:18; Psa. 46:4a; Rev. 22:1; 1 Cor. 16:10

    I.     In the Scriptures the concept of the divine stream, the unique flow, is crucial—Gen. 2:10-14; Psa. 46:4a; John 7:37-39; Rev. 22:1:

    A.     The Bible reveals the flowing Triune God—the Father as the fountain of life, the Son as the spring of life, and the Spirit as the river of life—Jer. 2:13; Psa. 36:9a; John 4:14; 7:37-39.

    B.     The source of the flow is the throne of God and of the Lamb—Rev. 22:1.

    C.     In the Scriptures there is only one flow, one divine stream (Gen. 2:10-14; Rev. 22:1); since there is only one divine stream and since the flow is uniquely one, we need to keep ourselves in this one flow.

    D.     The divine stream, the unique flow, is the stream of the Lord’s work—1 Cor. 16:10:

    1. There is a stream, which we may call the stream, the current, of the work; where the stream flows, there is the work of God.

    2. The book of Acts reveals that in the move of the Lord there is only one stream, and we need to keep ourselves in this one stream—cf. 15:35-41.

    3. The flowing of the divine life, which started on the day of Pentecost and has been flowing throughout all generations to this day, is just one stream.

    4. The history of the church shows that throughout the generations there has been one stream of the Spirit flowing all the time; many have been working for the Lord, but not all have been in the flowing of that one stream.

  • Scripture Reading: Acts 1:3, 8-9; 8:12; 14:22; 19:8; 20:25; 28:23, 31

    I.     The Gospel of Luke is a narrative of the ministry of the incarnated Jesus as a record of the incarnated Jesus on earth; Acts is a record of the succeeding ministry of the resurrected and ascended Christ in heaven carried out through His believers on earth—1:8-9:

    A.     In the Gospels the Lord’s ministry on earth, carried out by Himself, was sowing Himself as the seed of the kingdom into His believers, with no church built up yet—Luke 8:4-15.

    B.     In Acts the Lord’s ministry in heaven, carried out through His believers in His resurrection and ascension, spreads Him as the development of the kingdom of God for the building up of the church throughout the entire world to constitute His Body, His fullness, to express Him, even the fullness of God for God’s expression—1:8; 8:12; 14:22; 19:8; 20:25; 28:23, 31; Matt. 16:18; Eph. 1:23; 3:19.

  • Scripture Reading: Acts 16:6-7; Luke 1:35; Phil. 1:5, 27; 2:1-9
    I.     We may experience and enjoy the resurrected and ascended Christ as the Spirit of Jesus, the Holy Spirit—Acts 16:6-7.
    II.   We need to pay careful attention to two divine titles in Acts 16:6 and 7—the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of Jesus:
    A.     The interchangeable use of these two titles reveals that the Spirit of Jesus is the Holy Spirit.
    B.     The Holy Spirit is a general title of the Spirit of God in the New Testament:
    1. The title the Holy Spirit is used for the first time at the conception of the Lord Jesus—Luke 1:15, 35:
    a. It was when the time came to prepare the way for Christ’s coming and to prepare a human body for Him to initiate the New Testament dispensation that the title the Holy Spirit came into use—v. 35; Matt. 1:18, 20.
    b. In order to understand the first usage of the title the Holy Spirit, we need to see that this title is involved with the Lord’s incarnation.
    c. According to the principle of first mention, the Holy Spirit is related to Christ’s incarnation and birth.
    2. In the New Testament the title the Holy Spirit indicates that God is now mingling Himself with man—Luke 1:35.
    C.     The Spirit of Jesus is a particular expression concerning the Spirit of God and refers to the Spirit of the incarnated Savior who, as Jesus in His humanity, passed through human living and death on the cross—vv. 31, 35; Matt. 1:21; Acts 16:7:
    1. In the Spirit of Jesus there is not only the divine element of God but also the human element of Jesus and the elements of His human living and His suffering of death as well.
    2. The Spirit of Jesus is not only the Spirit of God with divinity in Him so that we may live the divine life but also the Spirit of the man Jesus with humanity in Him so that we may live a proper human life and endure its sufferings:
    a. In his suffering Paul needed the Spirit of Jesus because in the Spirit of Jesus is the suffering element and the suffering strength to withstand persecution—Col. 1:24; Acts 9:15-16; 16:7.
    b. In our preaching of the gospel today, we also need the Spirit of Jesus to face the opposition and persecution.
    D.     In Acts 16:7 Luke turns from the Holy Spirit to the Spirit of Jesus:
    1. As a man, Jesus first lived a human life and then was crucified and resurrected—2:23-24, 32-33.
    2. He ascended to the heavens and was made Lord and Christ—v. 36.
    3. The Spirit of Jesus therefore implies the Lord’s humanity, human living, death, resurrection, and ascension—16:7.
    4. The Spirit of Jesus involves more than the Holy Spirit does—vv. 6-7:
    a. The Holy Spirit involves only the incarnation and birth of the Lord Jesus—Luke 1:35; Matt. 1:18, 20.
    b. The Spirit of Jesus involves His humanity, human living, death, resurrection, and ascension—Acts 1:1-3, 8; 2:23, 32, 36.
    5. The Spirit of Jesus is the totality and the full realization of the all-inclusive Jesus—16:7.
    E.      Just as the Spirit of Christ is the reality of Christ, so the Spirit of Jesus is the reality of Jesus—Rom. 8:9; Acts 16:7:
    1. If we do not have the Spirit of Jesus, Jesus will not be real to us.
    2. Jesus is real to us because we have the Spirit of Jesus as the reality, the realization, of Jesus—v. 7.
  • Scripture Reading: Acts 1:8; 5:20; 6:4, 7; 9:31; 12:24; 19:20

    I.     The flowing of the divine life, which started on the day of Pentecost and has been flowing throughout all generations to this day, is just one stream for God’s goal to build up the church for His corporate expression—Matt. 16:18; cf. Ezek. 47:1-12:

    A.     When we give the Lord the preeminence in our entire being, making Him our first love, He becomes the divine stream to us, flowing within us and out of us as the first works; the first works are works that are motivated by, issue from, and express the Lord as our first love—John 4:14b; Rev. 22:1; 2:4-5.

    B.     Only works that are motivated by the first love are gold, silver, and precious stones—1 Cor. 2:9; 3:12.

  • Scripture Reading: Acts 4:10-12; Psa. 118:22, 24; 1 Pet. 2:4-8

    I.     In Acts 4:10-12 we see that as the cornerstone Christ was despised and crucified by the Jewish leaders, the builders, but raised from the dead by God, becoming the cornerstone of God’s building with God’s salvation being uniquely in Him.

  • Scripture Reading: Acts 20:18-38

    I.     To shepherd the flock of God according to God is to shepherd the flock of God according to God’s desire—1 Pet. 5:1-4:

    A.     We must see that the heart’s desire, the good pleasure, of God in His economy is to be the fountain, the source, of living waters to dispense Himself into His chosen people for their satisfaction and enjoyment; the goal of this enjoyment is to produce the church, God’s counterpart, as God’s increase, God’s enlargement, to be God’s fullness for His expression—Jer. 2:13; John 3:29-30; Eph. 1:22-23; 3:16-19, 21:

    1. Instead of drinking Him to become His increase for His expression, we can become like Israel by forsaking God as the fountain of living waters to hew out cisterns (typifying idols) to replace God as our enjoyment—Jer. 2:13.

    2. An idol is anything within us that we love more than the Lord or that replaces the Lord in our life; whatever we possess, and even whatever we are, can become an idol—Ezek. 14:3; 1 John 5:21.

    3. Our peace, safety, health, and possessions may become idols to us, but God is faithful in His purpose to take these things away so that we might drink of Him as the fountain of living waters; God is faithful in leading us into His economy, and His economy is for us to enjoy Christ, to absorb Christ, to drink Christ, to eat Christ, and to assimilate Christ so that God may increase in us for His expression—1 Cor. 1:9; 5:7-8; 12:12-13; Jer. 2:13.

    B.     We must be brought back to the realization that we need Christ as our enjoyment; we also have to help others to know how to enjoy Christ, and we have to bring the distracted believers back to the simplicity of the genuine appreciation, love, and enjoyment of the precious person of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself as their life and everything—2 Cor. 11:2-3; 1:24; Rev. 2:4, 7:

    1. To enjoy Christ as our life supply should be the primary matter in the church life; the content of the church life depends upon the enjoyment of Christ; the more we enjoy Him, the richer the content will be.

    2. First Corinthians is a book on the enjoyment of the all-inclusive Christ; the enjoyment of the crucified and resurrected Christ as the life-giving Spirit solves all the problems in the church—1:2, 9, 24, 30; 2:2; 5:7-8.

  • Scripture Reading: Acts 1:8; 2:32-36; 3:14-15; 4:33; 5:30-32; 7:56; 20:28; 26:16; 16:31

    I.     In the book of Acts the apostles and the disciples were witnesses of Christ—1:8; 4:33:

    A.     According to the revelation in the book of Acts, everyone who is raised up and sent out by the Lord is a witness of the Lord—1:8; 26:16.

    B.     In the New Testament the meaning of witness is primarily to bear a living testimony of Jesus Christ in His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension—1:22; 2:32; 5:32; 10:39-40; 17:3, 18; 23:11; 24:14-15.

    C.     Testifying requires experiences of seeing and enjoyment concerning the Lord or spiritual things; it is different from merely teaching—2:42.

    D.     The Lord appointed Paul as a minister and a witness—26:16:

    1. A minister is for the ministry; a witness, for a testimony.

    2. The ministry is related mainly to the work, to what a minister does; a testimony is related to the person, to what a person is.

    3. Paul was a witness of the things in which he had seen the Lord and of the things in which the Lord would appear to him—v. 16.

    E.      In His ascension the Lord carries out His ministry in the heavens through witnesses, who testify of Him in His resurrection life and with His ascension power and authority—1:8; 2:32-36; 40; 4:33.

  • Scripture Reading: Acts 28:31; John 5:17; Acts 1:14; 6:7; 11:23-24; 19:20; 26:18

    I.     The book of Acts reveals a group of people who live in the divine history within human history as the acting God; they have become God in life, in nature, in expression, and in function (but not in the Godhead) for the spreading and building up of the church as the corporate manifestation of Christ—1:8, 14; 2:14a; 4:10-20, 31-32; 5:20, 38-39; 13:1-4; 26:16-19; 28:31:

    A.     In Peter’s first proclamation of the gospel in the book of Acts, he quoted from the book of Joel, which reveals the intrinsic, divine history within the outward, human history—Acts 2:17-21; Joel 1:1-4; 2:28-32.

    B.     The divine history within the human history is Christ’s “goings forth…from the days of eternity” (Micah 5:2) across the bridge of time into eternity future (Psa. 90:2) so that He might be dispensed into His chosen ones as the Desire of all the nations (Hag. 2:7) for His corporate manifestation and His full glorification.

    C.     Joel speaks concerning the outpouring of the processed, consummated, compound Spirit, who was poured out on the day of Pentecost; this Spirit is the consummated Triune God and the realization of Christ for the manifestation of Christ—2:28-29; Acts 2:1-4, 16-21; 1 Tim. 3:15-16.

  • Scripture Reading: Acts 13:23, 32-34, 38-39; Rom. 1:3-4; 8:29
    I.     “From this man’s seed, God, according to promise, brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus…And we announce to you the gospel of the promise made to the fathers”—Acts 13:23, 32:
    A.     The seed of David mentioned in 2 Samuel 7:12 is actually Christ as God’s firstborn Son (v. 14; Heb. 1:5-6), who has both divinity and humanity and is typified by Solomon.
    B.     The word concerning “your seed” in 2 Samuel 7:12 and “My son” in verse 14 implies that the seed of David would become the Son of God; that is, a human seed would become a divine Son:
    1. This corresponds with Paul’s word in Romans 1:3-4 concerning Christ as the seed of David being designated the Son of God in His humanity in resurrection.
    2. These verses clearly reveal that a seed of man, that is, a son of man, can become the Son of God:
    a. God Himself, the divine One, became a human seed, the seed of a man, David.
    b. This seed was Jesus, the God-man, who was the Son of God by virtue of His divinity alone—Luke 1:35.
    c. Through His resurrection He as the human seed became the Son of God in His humanity as well.