doing good deeds in secret

Living Stream Ministry Podcast ::

Matthew 6:1 says, “But take care not to do your righteousness before men in order to be gazed at by them; otherwise, you have no reward with your Father who is in the heavens.” It then goes on to list three (3) activities that were frequently done by the religious people of the day in public. To pray…to gives alms to the poor…and to fast. But the Lord’s encouragement to all of His people is to do these things in secret where only He can see.

This is not an easy word to carry out. In fact, in our life this is impossible, but in the divine life in our spirit, we can do it. Let’s talk about these 3 items at the beginning of chapter 6 that deal with the doing of good deeds in an outward way as opposed to doing them in secret. In chapter 5, the thing that’s exposed there…in this constitution of the kingdom…is anger and lust. And we think that these are the most terrible things. They are really things that we need to avoid and get away from. Yes, they are terrible, but when you come to chapter 6 you see even more subtle problems and difficulties. Especially the self with the flesh.

And so we need to see this matter of praying, of giving and of fasting according to the Lord’s view so that these two subtle enemies which are even worse than lust and anger might be exposed. That is the flesh and that is the self. So that we would hate the self and repudiate the flesh. This word is very helpful to us if we really want to grow in the divine life and if we want the Lord’s kingdom to come in reality.

Giving alms, praying and fasting. These 3 things are used by the Lord to illustrate how we are filled up with the self and how we are filled up with the flesh. In these 3 illustrations, the Lord Jesus always used one word “secret.” “In secret.” You do it in secret, and your Father sees it in secret. In other words, to do things in secret is to kill the self; to do things in secret is to kill the flesh.

In society today, if you don’t let people make a show in their good doings, no one would do it. If you don’t give them any opportunity to show themselves off, no one would do it. In raising money, they just build up the best opportunity for the givers to make a good show. That is the flesh.

And so there is a basic principle with the kingdom people. That is…in doing anything, don’t show off your self. Do as much as you can in secret. Hide your self and have your self always covered. This constitution of the heavenly kingdom surely doesn’t give an inch to our anger, lust, natural being nor any ground to our self and flesh.

We must…by His mercy and grace…do everything if possible in a hidden way. Always try the best to do things pleasant to God…righteous with man…yet you do it in secret.

Living Stream Ministry

constitution of the kingdom of the heavens

Living Stream Ministry Podcast ::

Matthew 6:21 says “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” This simple expression is full of meaning. If we expect to get our heart on heaven and on the heavenly things, we need to get our treasure there first.

Matthew chapters 5,6 and 7 is a section of the Bible we are calling the constitution of the kingdom of the heavens. This section has been called the sermon on the mount…,but in our Life-study, Witness Lee is using this term the constitution of the kingdom of the heavens. Why is seeing this section as a constitution helpful for us in understanding the real meaning and importance of this section of scripture?

It’s very important for us to realize that these three chapters (Matt. 5,6,7) are the constitution of the kingdom of the heavens. We call it the constitution because (we can say it this way) every nation has a constitution. In 1 Pet. 2:9, Peter refers to the believers in Christ as a holy nation. So in Matthew 5,6 and 7, what we see are God’s divine principles concerning the way we should live…the way we conduct ourselves. And actually He reveals to us, if we actually live Christ in our daily life…if we live by Christ…if Christ has a way to live through us, Matthew 5,6 and 7 will be the expression of that very Christ that we live.

So this is why we call this the constitution of the kingdom of the heavens. This is the way we should live in our christian life described in these chapters.

This constitution is altogether composed…constituted…with the Father’s life…the Father’s nature. The constitution always is based upon certain kind of life. Suppose you are going to make a constitution for the dog. You have to make it based upon the dog life. You cannot say “Dog every day in the morning you have to keep your morning watch by flying in the air.” He cannot FLY! But if you say “Dog, you are to keep your morning watch by barking,” they all would say “BARK!” This is a good constitution.

The Lord Jesus on the mount was not giving a constitution based upon the dog life. This constitution was made upon the Son of God. “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the sons of God.” “You therefore shall be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.” This section of the word was given based upon the divine life and the divine nature.

Many many thought these 3 chapters were given just to the human beings. NO! The human life cannot make it. The human life is just like the dog life. If you ask the human life to fly, the human life cannot fly. For the dog to bark…that’s OK, but for the dog to fly in the air that’s impossible.

This is not the constitution of the dog kingdom. This is the constitution of the bird kingdom. This is the constitution given based upon the divine life…based upon the divine nature.

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the priesthood and the kingship

Living Stream Ministry Podcast ::

There are two (2) basic ministries that characterize both the Old and New Testament. The ministry of the priesthood and the ministry of the kingship. It’s interesting that in Matthew chapter 3, we see two representatives of these two basic ministries together as the age is changing.

Well, we’re coming to the first part of Matthew chapter 3 today and the appearance of the ministry of John the Baptist. This chapter is very interesting, because in a very real sense the whole age is changing…some would say the dispensation is changing. This is a pivot point in God’s economy…in His divine revelation. And we see these two ministries…John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Christ…together in this chapter for the first time. It’s very interesting…John the Baptist’s heritage is one out of the tribe of Levi which was the tribe of the priesthood. And John the Baptist was somebody who ended the Old Testament economy which was of the law.

The law was lifeless…helpless…could cause no one to really experience the King…but only be exposed by the King. But this marvelous ministry of John the Baptist also introduced the King of kings and ushered people to the King and allowed the King to be brought to the people.

John the Baptist ministry therefore is something that terminated the Old Testament economy and ushered in the New Testament economy…which is an economy of grace. And grace is just God in Christ coming to us to be our life and our everything…even coming into us to be our “Inside King.”

So John the Baptist terminated that Old Testament priesthood and brought us into the New Testament priesthood which is a priesthood full of the experience of Christ. Full of the King of the kingdom of the heavens who wants to come into us as life and everything and be the “Inside King” within us.

We need to repent for the kingdom.

In the whole Bible, there are only two basic ministries that constitute the kingdom of God. And these two ministries are firstly the priesthood…then the kingship. In the Old Testament, the priesthood was with the tribe of Levi. John the Baptist was just a descendant of Levi. He is the consummation of the priesthood of the Old Testament. Then Jesus is the consummation of the Old Testament kingship. The kingship in the Old Testament was in the tribe of Judah, and Jesus came to be a descendant of Judah as the consummation of the kingship.

So you can see these two persons…John the Baptist and Jesus Christ…They, on the one hand, terminated the old priesthood and kingship. They also germinated the New Testament priesthood and kingship. When the priesthood brings people to God, the kingship brings God to man. Then there is the heavenly reigning…the heavenly ruling. That is the kingdom.

And this kingdom is just today’s proper church life. And this church life will continue till the millennium comes. Then in the millennial kingdom, there will be the priesthood and the kingship. The overcomers will be there…on the one hand the priests…and on the other hand the kings. So in the millennial kingdom, the priesthood and the kingship will be even stronger to maintain God’s kingdom on this earth. That the king may have the people and all the people may gain the king. This is the millennium.

Then after the millennium there will be no more need of the priesthood. What will be left for eternity will be only the kingship, because in the new heaven and new earth with the New Jerusalem, everyone is in the presence of God. So there’s no need any longer for the priesthood to bring people to God, because by that time God will be with man. God’s presence eliminates the priesthood by that time. But the kingship will be still there reigning over the surrounding nations.

Well, this is just a summary of the whole Bible in the light of the priesthood and the kingship.

Living Stream Ministry

the Lord will judge and examine His people

Living Stream Ministry Podcast ::

Of all the parables in the final chapters of Matthew, none is more striking and sobering than the parable of the ten virgins in chapter 25. Coupled with the other parables around it, we can clearly see that at His coming, the Lord will judge and examine His people…the believing and saved ones.

This judgement will not be concerning sin or our eternal salvation. Of that, we have been assured. But in the matters of watchfulness and faithfulness, we will be examined. Not at the risk of our salvation, but at the potential risk of the reward of the enjoyment of the kingdom.

…You have to pay a price. There is some cost. To be a foolish virgin…while you were living on this earth, you didn’t pay the proper price, and the price is mainly to deal with yourself, to give up the world and to love the Lord by all means. Then verse 10, “And as they were going away to buy, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast. And the door was shut”. Not the door to go to heaven, but the door to go to the marriage feast. Not the door of salvation, but the door of the reward of the enjoyment of the kingdom age. This door was shut. Verse 11, “And later the rest”, the foolish ones, “of the virgins came also.” Not only resurrected but also raptured; “came” means raptured. They also got raptured, but late. They got the help, and they bought the oil, and they paid the price and they got it…but too late. Time means a lot. The door into the feast was shut. So they say, “Lord, lord, open to us!”

“But he answered and said, Truly I say to you, I do not know you.” The simply means, I do not approve your way. The way you lived on the earth and the way you came so late…I do not approve. That means rejection. Not rejection for eternal salvation, but rejection for the enjoyment…the participation…in the kingdom feast. Watch therefore. After we get through this completing word, we can see how to be watchful…how to be ready. You have a complete word concerning watchfulness and readiness. This is a serious matter! I do believe no other book warns us so much as the book of Matthew. Are you going to be foolish? Are we the foolish ones or the prudent ones? We all have to answer this question. It all depends upon the preparation of the extra portion of the Holy Spirit in our vessels.

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the end of the age

Living Stream Ministry Podcast ::

After shocking His disciples with the prophecy concerning the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, they asked the Lord then for signs that would signal the end of the age and His coming. He responded by telling them to watch for a very specific event…the abomination of desolation spoken of through Daniel.

Just what is this key event that will signal the end of the age and the coming of Christ? We’ll find out on today’s Life-Study of Matthew broadcast.

The end of the age begins with verse 15 (Matt 24). Verse 15 says “When therefore you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet…” Abomination here means the idol, and here the doubt…refers to Antichrists’ image, and that image will be able to speak (according to Rev. 13). When the great tribulation comes, the idol…the image of Antichrist…will be able to speak and that idol will be the abomination and this abomination will bring in the desolation in 2 ways. (1) when He (Antichrist) will setup His image forcing people to worship him, he will destroy all religions and (2) this abomination this idol will provoke the Lord’s anger. God will come in to destroy Antichrist.

And this abomination, this idol will stand in the temple in the holy place. This means Antichrist will setup his image to be in the holy of holies. This is clearly revealed in Daniel.

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living by the principle of faith

Living Stream Ministry Podcast ::

In the Old Testament you had to keep the law then you can have a good fellowship with God. But today, you need to have the Faith, then you can get into the fellowship with God. Today, God’s dealing with His people is based upon the principle of faith.

If you look into God’s dealing with Abraham, you could see God’s dealing with him was based upon God’s promise. God didn’t give Abraham any commandments. God only gave Abraham the promise. So God’s dealing with Abraham was according to God’s promise. So the promise given by God to Abraham became the principle upon which God dealt with Abraham.

Then later on Moses came and God gave the law through Moses to the children of Israel. Then that law given at Mount Sinai became the principle according to which God dealt with the children of Israel. In the New Testament, you could see that today God deals with the believers in Christ not according to the law…but according to the Faith.

So Abraham’s entire relationship with God was based on God’s promise.

If the children of Israel kept the law, then they were able to have a good relationship with God. If they broke the law, however, then they were in trouble in terms of their relationship with God. We see in the Old Testament many times the children of Israel had a big problem with God because they did not keep the law, and God had to come in and deal with them and judge them based upon the principle of the law.

Well this principle didn’t work well in the Old Testament so in the New Testament God brought in a new principle and that is the principle of Faith. So today, our relationship with God is not based upon our keeping of the law of the Old Testament, but it’s based upon our faith in Christ. Actually, this Faith is not just a kind of a mental agreement with the gospel or the teachings of the Bible. This Faith is a living Faith in a living person that joins us to that Person and that causes that Person to enter into us and to become one with us.

So now we have a relationship with God in the principle of Faith which makes us one with Christ and makes Christ one with us. God wants us to live our Christian life based upon this principle. Not on the principle of trying to keep the law by the strength and the effort of our natural life. God wants us to be joined to Christ by Faith and to live by the principle of Faith.

The standard of the kingdom of the heavens is to have no anger toward our brother and no lust. Who can keep such a standard? Actually, only one person in the entire universe is able to keep this standard and that is Christ Himself. And this is precisely the key thing here. What this shows us is that if we’re going to live in the kingdom and meet the requirements of the kingdom, we cannot rely on our own natural life. Because our life is not capable of living to such a high standard. This means that we must join ourselves to Christ every day and every moment of every day by Faith.

Christ today…He’s the life-giving Spirit, and He dwells in our spirit. If we are one with Him, then spontaneously we will live a life that keeps not only the requirement of the Old Testament law, but that also satisfies the requirement of the higher law of the kingdom of the heavens. This is a life that is just the living of Christ in us.

After we have been saved according to the principle of faith, we need to live a higher life. …You are qualified to be judged at the judgement seat of Christ. And that judgement at the judgement seat of Christ is described here three times by three (3) kinds of judgement.. All 3 levels of judgement refer to that one judgement, the judgment at the judgement seat of Christ. We Christians…we the saved ones according to the principle of faith will be judged…not at the white throne recorded in Revelation chapter 20…but will be judged at the judgement seat of Christ, and this will be 1000 years earlier than the white throne.

Yes to be saved it is absolutely by Faith through Grace…that is right. But after you have been saved, be careful. You need to live a life that is higher than what the old law requires. It not only touches the outward doing…but it touches the inward moving. Such a high standard. What should we do then? The Lord’s word warns us, if you would not be serious, you’ll be put into the fire. Don’t think this is to be lost. We have to be fearful and trembling.

I must keep myself to the resurrected Christ. I must be one with Him. I must trust in Him. I must rely upon Him. I must stay in Him. I must remain with Him because the standard of morality of the kingdom of the heavens is too high for me. And this is too serious. We have to flee your temper…flee your lust. This not a small thing to lose your temper. This serious word may force us to keep ourselves to Christ.

Living Stream Ministry