Bible Study with Jairus – Philippians
Today’s study will mainly focus on one topic: how to manifest Christ in our lives. What does it mean to manifest Christ? It’s what Paul said in Philippians 1:20-21 (NIV), “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
In other words, manifesting Christ is living and revealing Christ through us in any given situation. When we are saturated by Christ, not only will people see us but like Paul we will manifest Christ to those around us. People didn’t only see Paul at this time, but also Christ Himself.
How is this possible? Paul said in 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV), “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” Paul further said in 2 Corinthians 4:6 (NIV), “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”
Paul uses the analogy of a mirror here. To put it in simple terms, I am the mirror. When I follow Paul and do the things he does, I am reflecting Paul. Paul follows Christ and reflects Him and Christ follows God and reflects Him. When people look at me (the mirror) ultimately they should see God reflected in my life.
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:1 (NIV), “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” This means that Paul used his unveiled face or mirror to reflect that he has seen the face of the Lord. The face of the Lord is also transparent, a mirror, and a reflection of the glory of God. As Hebrews 1:3 (NIV) says, “Christ is the radiance of God’s glory”.
So, when I imitate Paul, I look into Paul’s mirror. And then Paul’s mirror reflects the mirror of Christ, which reflects the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 4:6 said, “to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ”. What you clearly saw was my face, but what you actually are seeing is the glory of God through me.
This is manifesting Christ, which is, showing the glory of God revealed in our body or in our faces because Christ is in us. No matter what situation we encounter, when others are anxious and worried, we aren’t worried and are able to manifest peace and joy in God. When people see you, they see God and that is a witness to them that God is real.
This is our destiny as Christians. Unfortunately many Christians don’t act like or reflect Christ in the world around them. Unbelievers often criticize those who say they are Christians yet act like the world. If you are in the workplace and someone says “I didn’t know you were a Christian,” this speaks loudly that you aren’t reflecting God in your work or relationships.
If individual Christians reflect God like a mirror, the church as a whole should be brightly lit to the surrounding community. The Lord said the light is placed on a hill illuminating the city. That is not often the case however. Many cities are still in the dark because the church isn’t doing its job of reflecting Christ. This in turn goes back to the individual Christians who need to do a better job being the light of Christ.
The main reason why Christians aren’t brightly lit is because they are living in their flesh or soul which includes their emotions, mind and will. They also live in the culture, and even religion rather than living in their spirits. Proverbs 20:27 says that the spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord. When we, with unveiled heart, live and keep in step with the spirit, we will manifest Christ and reveal the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 3:15-17 says, “Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (NIV)
I’m very grateful to the Lord for leading me to the Local Church movement where I was saved. I am also grateful for the thirteen years of Bible study I received there. I learned so much about living in the spirit and manifesting Christ from Witness Lee. The Lord led me to leave the Local Church in 2015 in order to learn more about the Charismatic and Prophetic movements. It was during this process that I realized there were some mistakes in Witness Lee’s teaching. Many of his teachings however, are correct and worthy to be studied by believers.
In my personal experience I’m aware of several evangelical groups that condemned Witness Lee’s teachings as heretical which turned many believers away from following him. Many Christians in the Charismatic movement have heard of Watchman Nee but very few know about Witness Lee’s ministry.
Before I left the Local Church I was in a doctor’s office in Baltimore humming a Bible verse to a popular Christian tune. An African American woman nearby asked me if I was a Christian. While chatting with her I recommended Witness Lee’s ministry to her. She went home and began to read the Life Study and other spiritual works by him. I invited her to attend our Local Church and she came to several meetings. Her goal wasn’t to join our church but to transform her Pentecostal church. She said she had been a Christian for decades but never heard these teachings although she had heard of Watchman Nee. Over time she wrote me several letters thanking me for introducing her to Witness Lee’s ministry. Since she hadn’t been tainted by the evangelicals who condemned Witness Lee, she was able to grow in her spiritual life through learning about living in the spirit and manifesting Christ.
Later in 2015 while attending a Charismatic Ministry meeting in Pennsylvania a pastor testified that he wanted to be holy. He fasted for 40 days hoping for breakthrough in some of his weaknesses but ultimately he failed. The person in charge of the ministry took him aside later and told him that holiness was a person and His name is Christ. He was told that personal efforts or fasting didn’t bring about holiness. Letting Christ live through him was the answer. This helped him tremendously and he ended up following the leader of this ministry.
After hearing his advice I realized that the teaching I had received at the Local Church about manifesting Christ was one of the most basic truths. The pastor in the above story had fasted and prayed for 40 days without understanding this. Each group of Christians holds truths that may not be known in other groups. For example I had no idea what the baptism of the Holy Spirit or speaking in tongues was when I was in the Local Church. It was only after I left and began to investigate the Charismatic Movement that I learned about teachers like Kenneth Hagin, Bob Jones and Derek Prince. I had no idea how the Pentecostal movement had developed over the last 100 years.
Of course, I was very eager to learn about the truth that God revealed through the Pentecostal Movement and the Modern Prophetic Movement. I was also actively seeking the gift of healings and gift of prophecy. In addition to my wife’s supernatural healing and us having a miraculous baby, I’ve also activated my prophetic gift. God often talks to me through prophetic dreams.
Looking back on these experiences, I realize that the division in the body of Christ is very serious. Every group has its own richness, but it doesn’t necessarily know and accept the richness of others.
I’ve talked about the fact that many of Witness Lee’s teachings greatly helped many to grow spiritually although he was misunderstood and not well known. The same goes for many Christians who haven’t learned or don’t understand the Charismatic and Modern Prophetic movements. Many Christians believe that these movements are of the devil.
The attitude of many churches can be likened to martial arts sects described in Chinese martial arts novels, such as the Shaolin Temple and Wudang Sect. Actually, every martial arts sect has its own unique skills, and considered one of a kind in Chinese martial arts. However, many sects are strictly guarded. They cut off their disciples if they learn the martial arts of other sects. They also feel that their martial arts are the only authentic ones. They hope to conquer or dominate Chinese martial arts through their own martial arts sect. The same is true for many Christian denominations. They think they have the only truth and want others to buy in to that but they often can’t humble themselves and learn the truths that others have.
Actually, God created each snowflake differently. God allows us to be rich and diverse in His wisdom in order to manifest His richness and diversity. God’s purpose is not to let us conquer each other, but to help us coexist and complement each other. One man said something that left a deep impression on me. He said unity is not conformity.
An older woman from China who has served in the Local Church movement for many years always comes to see us when she is visits her son in the U.S. She is very caring and full of life. She heard that I had begun to study the Charismatic movement and became very concerned about my spiritual life. She encouraged me many times to return to my Local Church. I told her that the Lord put me on this path just like Joseph was bound for Egypt, I was also bound for this journey. The more involved I become in the Charismatic church, the more burdened I become to see them grow more in their spiritual lives. Many of the things I learned in the Local Church would help them tremendously. I told this woman that those of us in the Local Church aren’t familiar with Charismatics and don’t have a heart to love them. Many evangelical believers believe that they are deceived by evil spirits or live in the flesh. I don’t accept this because I’ve seen that these Charismatic believers truly love the Lord. God has given me a burden to help Charismatic believers in the United States.
In addition to enthusiastically sharing the truths I learned in the Charismatic and Modern Prophetic Movements with evangelical brothers and sisters, I also hope to share some of the truths that I had learned in the Local Church movement. I personally think that just like the experience of the African American sister I mentioned earlier, it will be a great help to Charismatic believers.
Therefore, I suggest that those who are interested take a look at the series “Life-study of Philippians” by Witness Lee to see if it can help your spiritual life. Although Witness Lee’s teachings have a lot of controversy on the Internet, these controversies are mainly about theological issues such as the person of Christ and the problem of One City One Church. I don’t feel that there is a problem with his teaching about how to practice spiritual life.
Since we are speed reading Philippians at this meeting, a friend who is a new believer invited me to briefly introduce the background and summary of Philippians. I said that the main essence of Philippians is to manifest Christ in all kinds of circumstances. Recently I was getting ready to go to class in my doctoral program at the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. My mother-in-law and my wife had a little misunderstanding (which they reconciled later) that almost made me miss my class. Due to the heavy rainfall in Chicago that day, I had to change my ticket. Plus, I was hesitant wondering if the Lord was the one leading me to study this PhD. I almost cancelled it. However, when I got there, I was blessed and I clearly knew that God was the one leading me to this doctoral program. This friend, who asked me to talk about Philippians, recently experienced a similar crisis in his family. We all experience trials. As Christians we should manifest Christ in every crisis or in any situation. The greatest power of Christians is to live in peace and joy when people are troubled and worried. This isn’t something that money can buy. Big entrepreneurs like Jack Ma may not be able to do it, but a Christian who has life in the Lord should be able to do it.
Bob Jones, a Charismatic prophet from the United States, said that God is already judging the United States. One of His judgements is anxiety. This anxiety is what Satan released from hell. If a person or a Christian does not live in fellowship with God, he may be bound by anxiety. On the one hand, anxiety is an attack from the enemy. On the other hand, it’s the judgment of God. As the Bible records, after Saul betrayed God, an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him (NIV, 1 Samuel 16:14). Bob Jones said that anxiety, fear, and worry are the three most important tools from Satan’s realm of the dead. In the last days, they will plunder and devour every person who is not deeply rooted in the Lord. I am paraphrasing his words. Forgive me if I didn’t quote exactly what he said.
Philippians 4:5-6 says, “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (NIV) I came to the United States shortly after I was saved. I only had a few hundred dollars with me. The Lord helped me through the Local Church and His wonderful leading by providing for my basic necessities, but I still had no tuition fees, and many other things to worry about. At that time, some fellow believers taught me to pray using Philippians 4:5-6. I began to pray these verses. I don’t know many times I prayed. This was a lifesaving verse. I prayed it over and over again giving my anxiety to God. Pray-reading the word which I learned from the Local Church is very simple and effective. It’s similar to traditional meditation in Christianity. You repeat God’s Word, you add your own prayers and slowly, you focus your attention on the Lord and His words. Afterwards, you will find yourself slowly entering into communication with God and you can also get the peace of God, which transcends all understanding.
This process of entering and getting peace is not automatic. It takes time to build up and it needs long-term practice. The more we practice these prayers and entrust everything to the Lord, the more we will grow in the spirit and live in the peace of Christ. Hebrews 4:11 (NIV) says, “Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest”. This rest is not a complacent rest. It takes effort like our muscles need training to make them stronger. Our ability to enter into peace and rest needs continuous prayer in order to be strengthened. Christians who don’t make the effort to train themselves will find that they won’t be able to endure anxiety and are forced to go with the tide and succumb to it.
During that difficult time, according to the teachings of Witness Lee I practiced pray-reading this verse. I repeated this over and over again, bringing into play my own prayer entering the depths of the verse and into God’s presence.
For example, when I started to pray, I would say this: The Word of God says “do not be anxious.” It’s not an option, it’s a command. It commands us not to be anxious about anything, so anxiety is a violation of God’s command. It’s a sin. Lord, I am often anxious. This is considered as unbelief to you. I have committed a sin. Please forgive me. Your word says “See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you?” (NIV, Matthew 6:28-30). We really shouldn’t worry. No one can solve problems by worrying. Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (NIV, Matthew 6:27). God, You command us not to worry about tomorrow. Each day has enough trouble of its own (NIV, Matthew 6:34). Lord, forgive me for my little faith, and my worries. I will trust you and not worry.
Then I would pray, “The Word of God says to be anxious about nothing.” It doesn’t say it’s okay to worry about small things, big things or things that we can’t solve ourselves. It says not to worry about anything. My tuition problem couldn’t be solved but I knew I didn’t need to worry about it.
I continued to pray the next phrase, “everything.” It turns out that everything can be done in this way. No matter if it’s a big or small thing, something within my ability, or something beyond my ability; I can solve it through prayer and supplication.
“Praying” is telling God the thoughts in your heart. God, I am now praying to You and telling You what I need. “Supplication” is a specific request. I’m asking and believing that you will help me with the tuition problem. I am willing to dedicate myself to you.
It should also be with “thanksgiving.” The Bible tells us to enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise (NIV, Psalm 100:4). I thank You, Lord. You saved me for eternity.
The verse here also says, “Present your requests to God.” At this time, I prayed and I told God my supplication and requests.
Then, “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (NIV, Philippians 4:7). The guard here is like the battle of Roman legions. God will send angels to protect our hearts and minds and to defeat the enemy’s attack on our minds. Although the problems outside may not be solved at once, we can get the peace that transcends all understanding.
And so, I prayed this verse over and over again, and received unparalleled inner peace. The problem was solved through the help of my teacher at the university. She helped me to get a large deduction on the tuition. There was also a Christian lady whose heart was touched by God. She loaned me some money so that I could pay the remaining tuition. I was then able to get through that difficult day.
Much later, I was sharing the gospel with new Chinese students on campus in Washington, D.C. when I noticed a woman with a look of despair on her face. By the looks of her clothing I could tell she was from a rich family. I found out that she and her daughter had a fight about school. Her daughter wanted to quit school and go back to China but the mother was adamantly against it. I wrote down the above verse in Philippians and shared it with her and told her how I meditate and pray to receive answers. I showed her how she could set her hope in God and get the peace than transcends understanding.
It’s not only a lack of money that distresses people. Those who have a lot of money can also have troubles and difficulty. In this fast paced world, there are so many things that cause unbelievers as well as Christians to be bound by anxiety. Therefore, the practice of this prayer reading is wonderful for living in peace and joy every day.
Witness Lee’s teaching about calling on the name of the Lord is also a very effective tool. He testified that he often practiced this to the extent that when he quieted himself down, he called on the name of the Lord and in less than ten minutes, he could enter into God’s complete presence and rest. I have been practicing this method every day. When circumstances and worry attacks me, I will quiet myself down and continually call on the name of the Lord, because the Bible tells us that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (NIV, Romans 10:13). This method is simple and easy to learn. You can see the effect if you continually practice it over a long period of time. Americans are busy, have limited time and often don’t spend quality time in prayer. Learning to call on the name of the Lord will bring many benefits and internal peace. Of course, this practice can’t be mastered overnight. It needs to be a consistent long term practice to see the full effect. If you can practice calling on the name of the Lord three times a day (morning, noon and evening), every day for 10 minutes, you will find that you have more peace.
When I led a small group in the Local Church a new believer attended that wasn’t familiar with the term living in the spirit. He was very curious and asked what it meant to live in the spirit. It’s a difficult thing to explain to a new believer. He eventually left Baltimore and moved to another state. I happened to see him again when he came back to Baltimore to visit. He told me that he learned how to stop and call on the name of the Lord when he encountered difficulty at work. He’s a scientist and likes to quantify things. Each time he encountered problems in his experiments he would stop and call on the name of the Lord ten times. As he practiced this he not only had peace but often received enlightenment from God regarding the experiment. It was obvious that he had learned how to live in the spirit. Paul said in Romans 8:6 (NIV), “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace”.
Often fast paced living and the various pressures that go along with that keep our minds focused on the negative aspects of life and cause us to be worried or anxious. This is the mind governed by the flesh, which ends in death. We don’t necessarily have physical deaths now, but there are spiritual deaths. It is the weakness, darkness, emptiness, boredom and distress often mentioned in Local Church teachings. But if we can quiet down by calling on the name of the Lord and turn our attention to our Lord Jesus Christ, we will be able to get brightness, light, fullness, liveliness, and peace.
Although Philippians is just a short letter, it has a very practical meaning for Christian life. I hope what I’ve shared opens up a window for you to learn more from others in the body of Christ. Christians can easily develop a bias toward other ministries or denominations but it is very difficult to humble ourselves and learn from others. I heard Rick Joyner testify that he learned the most from those who hold different or opposing views. I love to use a Chinese idiom to express my thought about this. “Stones from other mountains can polish your own jade.” That means even when other’s teachings are worthless stones compared to your own jade, they still can be used to polish your jade. Let’s humble ourselves and learn from others even if their views don’t match your own.
One night in a dream I heard a voice proclaiming to me in English, “You will soon be on national TV”. Plus a number of prophetic dreams about my ministries will be enlarged to a TV ministry. If I was able to have a Christian TV program in the future, I would call it “Stones on the other mountains.” The Lord also appeared to me in another dream and told me convergence is happening. We are definitely entering into an age to tear down our fences and learn from others.
Are you willing to humble yourself? May the Lord bless you.