4. The Factor of Authority in the Body of Christ and in the Local Churches
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Scripture Reading: Rom. 9:23; Matt. 28:18;

Eph. 1:22-23; Heb. 4:16; Rev. 4:2; 22:1-2

Rom. 9:23     In order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He had before prepared unto glory,

Matt. 28:18   And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

Eph. 1:22      And He subjected all things under His feet and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church,

Eph. 1:23      Which is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all.

Heb. 4:16      Let us therefore come forward with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace for timely help.

Rev. 4:2        Immediately I was in spirit; and behold, there was a throne set in heaven, and upon the throne there was One sitting;

Rev. 22:1      And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.

Rev. 22:2      And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

I.     God is the supreme authority; He has all authority—Rom. 9:21-22:

Rom. 9:21     Or does not the potter have authority over the clay to make out of the same lump one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor?

Rom. 9:22     And what if God, wishing to demonstrate His wrath and make His power known, endured with much long-suffering vessels of wrath fitted for destruction,

 

A.     God’s authority is actually God Himself; authority issues out from God’s own being—Rev. 22:1.

Rev. 22:1      And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.

B.     All authority—spiritual, positional, and governmental—derives from God—2 Cor. 10:8; 13:10; John 19:10-11; Gen. 9:6.

2 Cor. 10:8    For even if I should boast somewhat more abundantly concerning our authority, which the Lord has given for building you up and not for overthrowing you, I will not be put to shame.

2 Cor. 13:10  Therefore I write these things while being absent in order that when present I would not have to use severity, according to the authority which the Lord has given me for building up and not for overthrowing.

John 19:10    Therefore Pilate said to Him, You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You and I have authority to crucify You?

John 19:11    Jesus answered him, You would have no authority against Me if it were not given to you from above; for this reason, he who has delivered Me to you has the greater sin.

Gen. 9:6        Whoever sheds man's blood, / By man shall his blood be shed, / For in the image of God / He made man.

C.     Knowing authority is an inward revelation rather than an outward teaching—Acts 22:6-16.

Acts 22:6      And as I journeyed and drew near to Damascus about midday, suddenly a great light flashed out of heaven around me;

Acts 22:7      And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?

Acts 22:8      And I answered, Who are You, Lord? And He said to me, I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you persecute.

Acts 22:9      And those who were with me beheld the light, but did not hear the voice of the One who was speaking to me.

Acts 22:10    And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said to me, Rise up and go into Damascus, and there it will be told to you concerning all the things which have been appointed to you to do.

Acts 22:11    And as I could not see because of the glory of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me and came into Damascus.

Acts 22:12    And a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well attested to by all the Jews dwelling there,

Acts 22:13    Came to me, and standing by, said to me, Saul, brother, receive your sight! And in that very hour I looked up at him.

Acts 22:14    And he said, The God of our fathers has previously appointed you to know His will and to see the righteous One and to hear the voice from His mouth;

Acts 22:15    For you will be a witness to Him unto all men of the things which you have seen and heard.

Acts 22:16    And now, why do you delay? Rise up and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on His name.

D.     The Lord Jesus was a man under authority; He humbled Himself, did the Father’s will, and was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross—Matt. 8:9; John 4:34; 6:38; Phil. 2:7-8.

Matt. 8:9       For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my slave, Do this, and he does it.

John 4:34      Jesus said to them, My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work.

John 6:38      For I have come down from heaven not to do My own will but the will of Him who sent Me.

Phil. 2:7        But emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, becoming in the likeness of men;

Phil. 2:8        And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient even unto death, and that the death of a cross.

E.      In His divinity, as the only begotten Son of God, the Lord had authority over all, but in His humanity, as the Son of Man and the King of the heavenly kingdom, all authority in heaven and on earth was given to Him after His resurrection—Matt. 28:18.

Matt. 28:18   And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

F.      Now as the Ruler of the kings of the earth, the God-exalted Jesus is the Ruler over all the ones who are in power; He is the chief Ruler in the divine government for the fulfillment of God’s eternal plan—Acts 2:23, 36; 5:31; Rev. 1:5.

Acts 2:23      This man, delivered up by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you, through the hand of lawless men, nailed to a cross and killed;

Acts 2:36      Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you have crucified.

Acts 5:31      This One God has exalted to His right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.

Rev. 1:5        And from Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and has released us from our sins by His blood

G.     In Christ’s ascension God made Him the unique Head of the Body, the church, and inaugurated Him into the headship of the universe; the Head of the whole universe is Jesus—Col. 1:18; Acts 2:36; Eph. 1:22-23.

Col. 1:18       And He is the Head of the Body, the church; He is the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead, that He Himself might have the first place in all things;

Acts 2:36      Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you have crucified.

Eph. 1:22      And He subjected all things under His feet and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church,

Eph. 1:23      Which is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all.

II.   Christ is both the Head corporately of the Body, the church, and individually of all the believers; He is the Head directly of every one of us, and we all are under His authority—Col. 1:18; 1 Cor. 11:3:

Col. 1:18       And He is the Head of the Body, the church; He is the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead, that He Himself might have the first place in all things;

1 Cor. 11:3    But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of the woman, and God is the head of Christ.

A.     For Christ to be the Head is for Him to have all the authority in the Body—Rom. 9:21, 23; Matt. 28:18:

Rom. 9:21     Or does not the potter have authority over the clay to make out of the same lump one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor?

Rom. 9:23     In order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He had before prepared unto glory,

Matt. 28:18   And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

1. The Body cannot move freely; it can move only at the direction of the Head.

2. The authority to direct the Body and all its members rests with the Head.

B.     Whether we are under the authority of the Head determines whether we know the life of the Body—1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 4:15-16; Col. 1:18; 3:4:

1 Cor. 11:3    But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of the woman, and God is the head of Christ.

Eph. 4:15      But holding to truth in love, we may grow up into Him in all things, who is the Head, Christ,

Eph. 4:16      Out from whom all the Body, being joined together and being knit together through every joint of the rich supply and through the operation in the measure of each one part, causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.

Col. 1:18       And He is the Head of the Body, the church; He is the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead, that He Himself might have the first place in all things;

Col. 3:4         When Christ our life is manifested, then you also will be manifested with Him in glory.

1. The Body can have only one Head and can submit only to one Head—1:18.

Col. 1:18       And He is the Head of the Body, the church; He is the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead, that He Himself might have the first place in all things;

2. Only Christ is the unique Head, and we must submit to Him, honoring and testifying to the unique headship of the God-exalted Christ—Eph. 1:22-23; Matt. 23:8-12.

Eph. 1:22      And He subjected all things under His feet and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church,

Eph. 1:23      Which is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all.

Matt. 23:8     But you, do not be called Rabbi, for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers.

Matt. 23:9     And do not call anyone on earth your father, for One is your Father, He who is in the heavens.

Matt. 23:10   Neither be called instructors, because One is your Instructor, the Christ.

Matt. 23:11   And the greatest among you shall be your servant.

Matt. 23:12   And he who will exalt himself shall be humbled, and he who will humble himself shall be exalted.

C.     In order to live in the Body, we need to recognize the authority in the Body—Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18; 2:19:

Eph. 1:22      And He subjected all things under His feet and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church,

Eph. 1:23      Which is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all.

Col. 1:18       And He is the Head of the Body, the church; He is the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead, that He Himself might have the first place in all things;

Col. 2:19       And not holding the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied and knit together by means of the joints and sinews, grows with the growth of God.

1. Concerning the authority in the Body, first and foremost is the need for the authority of the Head flowing throughout the whole Body—Eph. 5:23-24:

Eph. 5:23      For a husband is head of the wife as also Christ is Head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the Body.

Eph. 5:24      But as the church is subject to Christ, so also let the wives be subject to their husbands in everything.

a. When we submit directly to the Head, we also care for the Body; it is impossible for us to say that we are submitting to the authority of the Head without caring for the Body.

b. Only the Lord is our Head, and only He has the authority to direct the moves of the members of His Body.

2. In the Body the elders and the apostles are deputy authorities, carrying out the authority of the Head—Acts 14:23; 1 Tim. 5:17a; 1 Cor. 12:28:

Acts 14:23    And when they had appointed elders for them in every church and had prayed with fastings, they committed them to the Lord into whom they had believed.

1 Tim. 5:17   Let the elders who take the lead well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in word and teaching.

1 Cor. 12:28  And God has placed some in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then works of power, then gifts of healing, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.

a. On the one hand, all the members of the Body submit directly to the Head—Eph. 5:24a.

Eph. 5:24      But as the church is subject to Christ, so also let the wives be subject to their husbands in everything.

b. On the other hand, the members submit to the deputies of the Head—Heb. 13:17.

Heb. 13:17    Obey the ones leading you and submit to them, for they watch over your souls as those who will render an account, that they may do this with joy and not groaning; for this would be unprofitable to you.

III.  The order of the church comes out of the authority in the church—the honoring of the unique headship of Christ—Col. 1:18; Phil. 1:1:

Col. 1:18       And He is the Head of the Body, the church; He is the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead, that He Himself might have the first place in all things;

Phil. 1:1        Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:

A.     In the church there is no human organization, but there is a spiritual order—v. 1; 1 Cor. 14:40; 11:34b.

Phil. 1:1        Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:

1 Cor. 14:40  But all things must be done becomingly and in order.

1 Cor. 11:34  If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, that you may not come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.

B.     The Head of the church is Christ the Lord, and the authority in the church is the headship of Christ—Matt. 28:18; Col. 1:18.

Matt. 28:18   And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

Col. 1:18       And He is the Head of the Body, the church; He is the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead, that He Himself might have the first place in all things;

C.     In the church there must be order, but this order comes from the headship of Christ—Eph. 1:22-23.

Eph. 1:22      And He subjected all things under His feet and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church,

Eph. 1:23      Which is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all.

D.     We can have the real practice of the church life only by submitting to the unique headship of Christ—Col. 1:18; 2:19:

Col. 1:18       And He is the Head of the Body, the church; He is the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead, that He Himself might have the first place in all things;

Col. 2:19       And not holding the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied and knit together by means of the joints and sinews, grows with the growth of God.

1. The order in the church comes from the headship of Christ being realized by us in a practical way—1 Cor. 11:3, 16; Eph. 1:22.

1 Cor. 11:3    But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of the woman, and God is the head of Christ.

1 Cor. 11:16  But if anyone seems to be contentious, we do not have such a custom of being so, neither the churches of God.

Eph. 1:22      And He subjected all things under His feet and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church,

2. If we do not have the spiritual order in the church that comes from realizing the headship of Christ in a practical way, there is no possibility for us to practice the real church life—1 Cor. 11:3; 14:40.

1 Cor. 11:3    But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of the woman, and God is the head of Christ.

1 Cor. 14:40  But all things must be done becomingly and in order.

IV.  In the church God’s authority is expressed and represented by the apostles and elders—12:28; 1 Pet. 5:1-3:

1 Cor. 12:28  And God has placed some in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then works of power, then gifts of healing, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.

1 Pet. 5:1       Therefore the elders among you I exhort, who am a fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, who am also a partaker of the glory to be revealed:

1 Pet. 5:2       Shepherd the flock of God among you, overseeing not under compulsion but willingly, according to God; not by seeking gain through base means but eagerly;

1 Pet. 5:3       Nor as lording it over your allotments but by becoming patterns of the flock.

A.     God has appointed elders and apostles to be the authority in the church—1 Cor. 12:28; Acts 14:23.

1 Cor. 12:28  And God has placed some in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then works of power, then gifts of healing, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.

Acts 14:23    And when they had appointed elders for them in every church and had prayed with fastings, they committed them to the Lord into whom they had believed.

B.     Apostles and elders have no authority in themselves; they have authority only as they stand under the authority of the Head; they exercise authority in the church by representing the authority of the Head.

C.     In order to manifest His authority in the church, God appoints elders in every local church to represent His authority—v. 23; Titus 1:5:

Acts 14:23    And when they had appointed elders for them in every church and had prayed with fastings, they committed them to the Lord into whom they had believed.

Titus 1:5        For this cause I left you in Crete, that you might set in order the things which I have begun that remain and appoint elders in every city, as I directed you:

1. In the universal church there is the office of apostleship, which gives the apostles the position and the right to appoint elders for the administration of the local churches—1 Cor. 12:28; Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5.

1 Cor. 12:28  And God has placed some in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then works of power, then gifts of healing, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.

Acts 14:23    And when they had appointed elders for them in every church and had prayed with fastings, they committed them to the Lord into whom they had believed.

Titus 1:5        For this cause I left you in Crete, that you might set in order the things which I have begun that remain and appoint elders in every city, as I directed you:

2. The Holy Spirit was one with the apostles in their appointment of the elders, and the apostles did this according to the leading of the Holy Spirit—Acts 20:28.

Acts 20:28    Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among whom the Holy Spirit has placed you as overseers to shepherd the church of God, which He obtained through His own blood.

3. The authority of the elders is for representing and expressing God’s authority—1 Pet. 5:1-3.

1 Pet. 5:1       Therefore the elders among you I exhort, who am a fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, who am also a partaker of the glory to be revealed:

1 Pet. 5:2       Shepherd the flock of God among you, overseeing not under compulsion but willingly, according to God; not by seeking gain through base means but eagerly;

1 Pet. 5:3       Nor as lording it over your allotments but by becoming patterns of the flock.

4. The main responsibility of the elders as overseers is not to rule but to shepherd, to take all-inclusive tender care of the flock, the church of God—Acts 20:28.

Acts 20:28    Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among whom the Holy Spirit has placed you as overseers to shepherd the church of God, which He obtained through His own blood.

5. The scriptural principle with regard to eldership is plurality; with the plurality of the eldership, there is no definite leader, and the unique headship of Christ is regarded, preserved, and respected—14:23; Titus 1:5.

Acts 14:23    And when they had appointed elders for them in every church and had prayed with fastings, they committed them to the Lord into whom they had believed.

Titus 1:5        For this cause I left you in Crete, that you might set in order the things which I have begun that remain and appoint elders in every city, as I directed you:

6. In the church life we need to obey the ones leading us and submit to them (Heb. 13:17); if we cannot submit to God’s appointed deputy authority, we cannot submit to God.

Heb. 13:17    Obey the ones leading you and submit to them, for they watch over your souls as those who will render an account, that they may do this with joy and not groaning; for this would be unprofitable to you.

V.   There is a divine government in the church life today, and this government comes from the throne of God and of the Lamb—Rev. 22:1-2:

Rev. 22:1      And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.

Rev. 22:2      And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

A.     The divine authority in the church is for God to dispense Himself into us as life, as the life supply, and as the all-sufficient grace; only by submitting to the throne can we share in His all-sufficient source of the flowing grace—2 Cor. 13:14; Rev. 22:1-2, 16a.

2 Cor. 13:14  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Rev. 22:1      And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.

Rev. 22:2      And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

Rev. 22:16    I Jesus have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the bright morning star.

B.     The throne of grace in Hebrews 4:16 is the throne of authority in Revelation 4, which becomes in Revelation 22:1-2 the throne of God and of the Lamb, out from which flows “a river of water of life, bright as crystal” (v. 1):

Heb. 4:16      Let us therefore come forward with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace for timely help.

Rev. 4:1        After these things I saw, and behold, a door opened in heaven, and the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, Come up here, and I will show you the things that must take place after these things.

Rev. 4:2        Immediately I was in spirit; and behold, there was a throne set in heaven, and upon the throne there was One sitting;

Rev. 4:3        And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance, and there was a rainbow around the throne like an emerald in appearance.

Rev. 4:4        And around the throne there were twenty-four thrones, and upon the thrones twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and upon their heads golden crowns.

Rev. 4:5        And out of the throne come forth lightnings and voices and thunders. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God;

Rev. 4:6        And before the throne there was as it were a glassy sea like crystal; and in the midst of the throne and around the throne, there were four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind.

Rev. 4:7        And the first living creature was like a lion, and the second living creature like a calf, and the third living creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle.

Rev. 4:8        And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings apiece, are full of eyes around and within; and they have no rest day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God the Almighty, who was and who is and who is coming.

Rev. 4:9        And when the four living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits upon the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever,

Rev. 4:10      The twenty-four elders will fall before Him who sits upon the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever; and they will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

Rev. 4:11      You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, for You have created all things, and because of Your will they were, and were created.

Rev. 22:1      And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.

Rev. 22:2      And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

1. Although the throne is the throne of authority, the throne of headship, out of the throne flows the river of water of life—v. 1.

Rev. 22:1      And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.

2. The fact that the throne is not only the throne of God but the throne of God and of the Lamb means that God in the Lamb is flowing out as grace for our enjoyment:

a. We should never separate authority from grace or grace from authority; grace and authority are one—Heb. 4:16; Rev. 22:1.

Heb. 4:16      Let us therefore come forward with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace for timely help.

Rev. 22:1      And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.

b. Whenever we come to this throne, we have the sense that the grace of God is like a river flowing into us—Heb. 4:16; Rev. 22:1-2.

Heb. 4:16      Let us therefore come forward with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace for timely help.

Rev. 22:1      And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.

Rev. 22:2      And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

3. Today the Lord Jesus does not reign merely with authority; He is reigning in the church, among the churches, and over all the churches through the flowing of His life as grace—4:2-3; 5:6; 7:9; 22:1-2.

Rev. 4:2        Immediately I was in spirit; and behold, there was a throne set in heaven, and upon the throne there was One sitting;

Rev. 4:3        And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance, and there was a rainbow around the throne like an emerald in appearance.

Rev. 5:6        And I saw in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures and in the midst of the elders a Lamb standing as having just been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

Rev. 7:9        After these things I saw, and behold, there was a great multitude which no one could number, out of every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes and palm branches in their hands.

Rev. 22:1      And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.

Rev. 22:2      And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

C.     The throne, the authority, of God and of the Lamb is not only the source of the divine administration; it is also the source of the divine fellowship—vv. 1-2:

Rev. 22:1      And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.

Rev. 22:2      And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

1. Authority and fellowship are two lines in the Body—1 Cor. 11:3; 12:12-13, 18; 1:9; 10:16-17.

1 Cor. 11:3    But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of the woman, and God is the head 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. 12:13  For also in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and were all given to drink one Spirit.

1 Cor. 12:18  But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, even as He willed.

1 Cor. 1:9      God is faithful, through whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Cor. 10:16  The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the fellowship of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the fellowship of the body of Christ?

1 Cor. 10:17  Seeing that there is one bread, we who are many are one Body; for we all partake of the one bread.

2. Whereas the throne is a matter of authority, the flowing river is a matter of fellowship, signified by the street, which is of “pure gold, like transparent glass”—Rev. 21:21:

Rev. 21:21    And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was, respectively, of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

a. The throne represents the divine authority, and from the throne flows the river of water of life for us to enjoy the divine fellowship—22:1-2.

Rev. 22:1      And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.

Rev. 22:2      And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

b. In this fellowship there is the divine authority, for in God’s economy authority always goes together with fellowship—2 Cor. 10:8; 13:10, 14.

2 Cor. 10:8    For even if I should boast somewhat more abundantly concerning our authority, which the Lord has given for building you up and not for overthrowing you, I will not be put to shame.

2 Cor. 13:10  Therefore I write these things while being absent in order that when present I would not have to use severity, according to the authority which the Lord has given me for building up and not for overthrowing.

2 Cor. 13:14  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

3. In order to build up a local church in a practical way, we need both the throne of God and of the Lamb and the water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne and flowing on the street—Rev. 22:1-2.

Rev. 22:1      And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.

Rev. 22:2      And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

 

 

Excerpts from the Ministry:

 

THE LAMB OF GOD BEING ON THE THRONE WITHIN THE CITY

The Throne Being the Source and Goal of the Divine Administration

The throne has a source, and the throne is the source; the throne has a goal, and the throne is the goal. It is the source flowing out and the goal coming back. This is the divine traffic, and this traffic is the administration. This traffic, this administration, is signified by a golden street, which is the base itself. Each one of us needs to declare, “I am not a person without a throne in the universe. I have the throne of God, and I am in His administration.”

The throne of God and of the Lamb is for God’s administration. God is the One who had a purpose, made a plan in eternity past, and created all things for the fulfillment of His plan. The Lamb is the One who redeemed us, the One who has accomplished a full redemption to fulfill God’s plan. Thus, the throne of God and of the Lamb denotes that this throne is to carry out God’s plan through Christ’s redemption. Both God’s plan and Christ’s redemption are being carried out through this throne. The throne is the source from which the river of water of life flows, and it flows with the tree of life growing in it (Rev. 22:2). The throne for the accomplishment of God’s eternal purpose is to flow out God Himself so that by this flow of life His purpose could be accomplished.

God who is in us is the source of life. The throne of God and of the Lamb should be the center of our being. In the meeting we may say the throne is in us, but many times in our daily living, the throne is often neglected by us. We need to ask ourselves if we have the throne of God in us in our living. Who is our Lord, Head, and authority in our daily life? Often, even in small things, we would not let the throne rule in our heart.

The Throne Being the Source of the Divine Fellowship

The throne is the source not only of God’s administration but also of the divine fellowship. The street signifies not only the traffic of God’s administration but also the fellowship of God’s redeemed. This divine fellowship, signified by the street with its communication, flows with the divine supply. This supply is the river of the water of life and the tree of life. The river is for beverage, and the tree is for food, for life supply. One is for quenching, and the other is for nourishing.

The administration of the New Jerusalem, an organic building, is joined to the street, the communication of which, from the throne to the gates, signifies the execution of the administration of this organic building. In the New Jerusalem there is a street that is joined to the throne. The street is for communication. The street joined to the throne is for the governmental dealings, the administration, in the New Jerusalem.

As we have seen, Revelation 22 shows that the river of water of life proceeds out of the throne of God and of the Lamb (vv. 1-2). Hence, when God and the Lamb are enthroned in our being and are able to rule and reign in us, this life will be manifested as power that supplies us inwardly. Because the Lord desires to set up His throne within us, He cares for the authority, the ground, and the dominion within us. We must give Him the dominion. God has already made Him Lord and Christ and has given Him all authority in heaven and on earth. The entire universe is His domain. Yet it seems that we are those who do not give Him the authority. God has made Him King, but we may not honor Him as King. Instead, often in our daily living, we are our own king and do many things by ourselves. Even to this day there seems to be little room for Christ in us. Our inner being may not be Christ’s domain but our own domain. It seems that in many things we are the lord, we are in control, and we have the final word. The Lord Jesus is frustrated in us. He is the Lord who is enthroned in heaven, but He may not be enthroned in our heart.

The church is the place where God exercises His authority, and the throne of God’s Son is set up among the churches. His authority and reign should have the ground in all the saints. Although they all have God’s life, the Lord Himself, and the Lord’s throne, authority, and kingdom in them, many will not submit to the Lord’s authority, allow the Lord to be seated on the throne within them, or allow Him to establish His kingdom and obtain His domain in their being. We must realize that if this is our situation, we cannot be living and strong Christians, the power of the Lord Jesus cannot be expressed through us, and the divine life cannot be a supply to us.

The gospel saves us so that we may become the Lord’s kingdom. God regenerates us with His life so that we may have the throne of His Son in us. Satan seeks to overthrow God’s authority in the universe. He is unwilling to let God’s authority be brought to earth. In the meantime, he also usurps the earth among the worldly people so that God’s kingdom cannot come to earth and His authority cannot be exercised among men. Through His Son’s dying for man, being raised from the dead, cleansing away man’s sins with His blood, and regenerating man with His life, God brings His throne, His authority, and His kingdom into the saved ones so that they may have His authority in them and become His kingdom.

We need to apply the throne of God with its administration to our daily life. Every day we need to realize that we are persons who are under the divine throne and who are also in the divine administration. We need to remember this crucial matter; this is to apply the throne and the administration. If we can remember that we are persons under the divine throne and in the divine administration, this will change our daily life. With this realization we cannot be loose and uncontrolled. Every day we need to apply this. We should remember: “I am a God-man under the throne of God and in the administration of God. I cannot be free. I am fully ruled, governed, by the Lord.”

The Throne Being the Unique Source of the Life Supply

The throne of God in the center of the New Jerusalem is the unique source of the life supply. It is by His administration that God dispenses Himself into us as life, as the life supply, and as the eternal, absolute, all-inclusive grace. His dispensing of Himself into us depends upon His administration. For this reason, in the church life today there is divine authority and church government. There is a divine government in the church life today, and this government comes from the throne of God. The divine authority in the church is for God to dispense Himself into us as life, as the life supply, and as the all-sufficient grace. Only by submitting ourselves to God’s authority, God’s government, can we share in His all-sufficient grace.

The throne of grace in Hebrews 4:16 is the throne of authority in Revelation 4, which becomes in Revelation 22:1 and 2 the throne of God and of the Lamb, out of which proceeds the crystal clear river of water of life. This river flows through the whole city of New Jerusalem. Within this river grows the tree of life, revealing that the rich Christ with the living Spirit flows out of the throne of grace. Grace is the flowing river in which the tree of life grows. To the unbelievers and to the demons, the throne of God and of the Lamb is a throne merely of authority; to us, it is the throne of grace. Whenever we come to this throne, we have the sense that something is flowing to water and supply us. This is grace. We can surely drink and eat of this supply.

On the throne of grace is not only God but also the Lamb, the Redeemer. On the wonderful throne of grace, God is sitting, and at His right hand is the Redeemer, our High Priest. That the throne is not only the throne of God but the throne of God and of the Lamb means that God in the Lamb is flowing Himself out as grace for our enjoyment. We need not do anything. We simply need to come forward, open up, and receive mercy and find grace for timely help. Every day the help that comes from this grace is very timely. It is always new and exactly fits our situation and need.

God’s mercy and grace are always available to us. However, we need to receive and find them by exercising our spirit to come forward to the throne of grace. The throne of God is the throne of grace. Whenever we come to the throne of grace, the grace of God is like a river flowing to us.

Today in our spirit there is heaven, the throne of authority, and the throne of grace with God and the Lamb. When we call on the Lord, we are in our spirit, and our spirit is in the heavens with the throne of authority, the throne of grace, and the coinhering God sitting on the throne.

God’s throne is thus the source of the flowing grace. To dethrone Him, to take the throne away from Him, is to disregard the source of grace. This causes the flow of grace to cease. This is not a mere doctrine but something very experiential. Many of us can testify that whenever we fail to enthrone the Lord, we do not receive grace in our times of prayer.

In eternity we will also enjoy the throne of God and of the Lamb (v. 3). In Hebrews 4 the throne is the throne of grace, but in Revelation 4 the throne is mainly the throne of authority. At the end of the Bible, the throne is both the throne of authority and the throne of grace. The throne of God and of the Lamb is certainly for God’s divine administration. Thus, it is the throne of authority. However, proceeding out of the throne is not authority but the river of water of life with the tree of life as the life supply. This is not only authority but also grace.

We should never separate authority from grace or grace from authority. Grace and authority are one. If we have grace, we are under authority, and if we are under authority, we partake of grace. Although it is true that, as Christians, we need to reign, we should not reign by authority. Rather, we should reign through the flow of life. The eldership, the representation of the headship, must be exercised through the flow of life. Although the throne is the throne of authority, the throne of headship, out of the throne flows the river of water of life. When we look at the throne, we see authority and headship. But when we look at the river, we see the water of life and the tree of life. This indicates that proper eldership is not the exercise of authority over others; it is the flowing of life into them. We are reigning, but we do not reign by authority; we reign through the flowing of the inner life.

Today the Lord Jesus does not reign merely with authority. He is reigning in the church, among the churches, and over all the churches through the flowing of His life as grace. The more we partake of His life, the more authority we have. The ones whom you respect in the church life are those who are mature in life. However, no one who assumes authority will be respected. Deep in the spirits of the saints there is no respect for that kind of eldership. Life is the expression of authority. Instead of assuming authority, we need to live out Christ. The Christ whom we live out will be our authority over others. We will enjoy this kind of authority for eternity. The throne, the source of the life supply with the divine authority, will be our eternal enjoyment.

We have experienced that when we subject ourselves to this headship, we immediately sense something full of God’s riches flowing within us. This is the flow of the Triune God as life, life supply, and everything to our being. Within us we sense such a flow, and this flow is from the throne of God and of the Lamb as the water of life.

In Revelation 22:1 we see the flow of the Divine Trinity—God, the Lamb, and the water of life (the Spirit). According to John 7:38-39, the water of life refers to the Spirit. God was the One who purposed, became the redeeming Lamb (1:14, 29), and became the life-giving, flowing Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45b). God flows in the water of life, the Lamb flows in the water of life, and the Spirit flows as the water of life. Thus, this is the triune flow, the flow of the Divine Trinity as the life supply.

We must realize that whenever the throne is gone, there is no source of the flow. This is why many times we have the feeling that we are dry and even dried up. There is not the flow of the living water, because we do not accept or recognize the lordship, the headship, and the authority of the Triune God in the center of our being. This is why the throne is the last item revealed concerning the New Jerusalem. Without the throne, the New Jerusalem does not have a center, and without the throne, there is no flow of life. As a result, the entire New Jerusalem would be dried up and even starved to death. The water of life flows out of the throne, and the tree of life grows in the water of life and on the two sides of the river of the water of life as a vine producing timely fruits for the food of God’s redeemed for eternity. Both the water of life and the tree of life are the issue of the throne. If there were no throne in us, what would be the issue? Many Christians are dried up, starved to death, and without growth in life because the throne is neglected in their experience.

According to our daily experiences, we Christians should experience the flow of the Divine Trinity every day. Every morning after rising up, we need to say, “Lord, thank You for a new day for me to take You as my Lord. I subject myself under Your headship for the whole day. Lord, set up Your throne in my life. Set up Your throne in the center of my being. Lord, bring my whole day with my daily life under Your throne.” If we offer such a prayer to the Triune God every morning, we will have the living water flowing within us. This living water flowing in us is the flow of the Triune God. It is not a small thing that the Triune God flows in us today. He flows in us as the One who purposed, as the One who redeemed, and as the One who is the life-giving Spirit. This One is the consummation of the Triune God reaching us as the living water.

Our daily life must be a life of the New Jerusalem. In that day when we arrive at the ultimate consummation of the divine revelation, we should not be surprised, because today we are experiencing the same thing. What will be in the New Jerusalem will be an intensification and a consummation of our present experience. Today we are experiencing the throne of God and of the Lamb out of which flows the Triune God for our enjoyment.

The Throne Being the Center of the Christian Life

In our Christian life the center is the throne of God and of the Lamb. We are not here living for ourselves. We are living and existing for the accomplishment of God’s purpose in order to carry out what Christ has accomplished. Therefore, we experience the One on the throne in His headship and lordship, and we submit ourselves to such an authority. In our daily life, in our family life, in our married life, in our business life, and in our church life, the center must be God’s throne. Everything should be subjected to His headship.

In our Christian experience the unique item should be the throne of the One who purposed and of the One who redeemed. Such a throne must be set up in our entire being, and this should be the center of our Christian life. This means that we would accept the God who purposed and the Christ who redeemed us as our Head, Lord, and authority. We should be willing to subject ourselves to such a headship. We adore Him as the Lord, and we take Him as our authority. We enthrone Him in our being and in our Christian life.

Within us, in the center of our being, there should be the throne of God and of the Lamb. Whenever we would take the Triune God as our Head, the divine life begins to flow in our being. We need to apply this to our daily life in every instance and in every thing. Even in our talk to the members of our family, we need to practice submitting ourselves to the inner throne. We should not look into the heavens but to the center of our entire being where there should be a throne. The throne should be prevailing in the center of our being. Then the water of life will be proceeding out of the throne to supply us and to bring to us the tree of life which nourishes us all day long.

We need to realize that what is recorded in Revelation 21 and 22 should be experienced by us today in a very personal way. Experientially, every proper and normal Christian is “a little New Jerusalem.” Whatever is ascribed to the New Jerusalem corporately should be experienced by us individually and personally. Furthermore, in each one of us there should be the throne of God and of the Lamb. We must enthrone Him in our heart and in our spirit. In other words, in the center of our being there should be the throne of God and of the Lamb. (The Conclusion of the New Testament, pp. 4416-4423)

 
 
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