GENERAL SUBJECT: THE EXPERIENCE OF CHRIST
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The Intrinsic Significance of the Experience of Christ
 
  
Scripture Reading: Phil. 1:3-6, 19-21a, 27; 2:2, 20-21, 30; 3:1; 4:1, 4
Ⅰ 
The experience of Christ is a mystery:
A 
God is a mystery, Christ is the mystery of God (Col. 2:2), and the church is the mystery of Christ (Eph. 3:4); hence, the church is actually a mystery within a mystery.
B 
Our Christian living is a mystery; for example, although human love is limited, the proper love lived out by a Christian is unlimited; hence, it is a mystery—cf. v. 19a.
C 
To magnify Christ is to express Christ without limitation (Phil. 1:20); it is to show the whole universe that the very Christ by whom we live is unlimited.
D 
Paul's experience of Christ as his unlimited endurance was the magnification of the unlimited Christ; any attribute we have through living Christ by the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ will be unlimited and thus mysterious—vv. 19-21a.
E 
Even our forgiveness of others needs to be a magnification of Christ; our forgiveness is the inexhaustible Christ Himself being magnified in us—Matt. 18:21-22.
F 
In the midst of suffering, we should simply love the Lord and experience Him; then we will magnify Christ, expressing Him as the One who is unlimited; it is a joy to magnify Christ through suffering—2 Cor. 12:7-10.
G 
The experience of Christ is a mystery, and whatever we experience of Christ is unlimited; if we see this vision, it will not only control our life but also strengthen our Christian walk; God's intention is to magnify Christ through us.
H 
The church life is the sum total of our Christian living; we all live Christ, and our Christian living is added together to make the church life; when we come together as the church, we are a complete mystery—1 Tim. 3:15-16.
I 
Paul says, “To me, to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21a); this means that we can live to be Christ; the Christ whom we experience and whom we live is a mystery; we should not have any assurance of our experience, for all experiences of Christ are mysterious.
Ⅱ 
Philippians unveils that the experience of Christ is our fellowship unto the furtherance of the gospel until the Lord Jesus comes back—1:3-6:
A 
From the time that we are saved until the time the Lord Jesus comes back, our Christian life should be a gospel-preaching life:
1 
The Christ-experiencing and -enjoying life is a life in the furtherance of the gospel, a gospel-preaching life, not individualistic but corporate; the more fellowship we have in the furtherance of the gospel, the more Christ we experience and enjoy; this kills our self, ambition, preference, and choice.
2 
Whether we speak or remain silent, our life, our living, our being, and our entire person must be a preaching of Christ.
B 
Paul charges us to conduct ourselves “in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ,” which is to “stand firm in one spirit, with one soul striving together along with the faith of the gospel”—v. 27:
1 
To be with one soul and to be like-souled for the gospel work are more difficult than to be in one spirit for the experience of Christ—2:20-21, 30.
2 
To be with one soul requires that, after having been regenerated in our spirit, we go further to be transformed in our soul—2 Cor. 3:18; Rom. 12:2.
3 
If we are not one in our affections, thoughts, and decisions, we are not with one soul; as long as we are not one in soul, we are not in the fellowship unto the furtherance of the gospel, and our conduct is not worthy of the gospel.
4 
When all the members in the church are in one spirit with one soul, this oneness will be convincing, subduing, and attractive, and we will experience Christ and enjoy Him.
Ⅲ 
Strictly speaking, Philippians is a book not only on the experience of Christ but also on the enjoyment of Christ:
A 
Since Philippians is concerned with the experience and enjoyment of Christ, which issue in joy, it is a book filled with joy and rejoicing—1:4, 18, 25; 2:2, 17-18, 28-29; 3:1; 4:1, 4.
B 
The experience of Christ is primarily in our spirit, but the enjoyment of Christ is in our soul; like children who are made to eat without enjoying their food, many times we experience Christ without enjoying Him.
C 
Thus, we can have the experience of Christ without the enjoyment of Christ; the problem here is with our soul—our mind, emotion, and will.
D 
“I am somewhat concerned that you may not have very much enjoyment of Christ” (The Experience of Christ, p. 29); the reason that many lose the enjoyment of Christ is the problem they have in the soul; if you do not have much enjoyment of Christ, it indicates that you are not one in soul, joined in soul (2:2).
E 
Among the Philippians there was dissension in their thinking (4:2), which troubled the apostle; hence, he asked them to think the same thing, even the same one thing, that they might make his joy full (2:2):
1 
According to the context of this book, the one thing must refer to the subjective knowledge and experience of Christ (v. 2; 1:20-21; 2:5; 3:7-9; 4:13); Christ, and Christ alone, should be the centrality and universality of our entire being.
2 
The one thing is the subjective experience of Christ as our enjoyment for the church life, the Body life; this one thing should occupy our mind all the time; if we think the one thing, immediately the enjoyment of Christ will be our portion.
3 
Our thinking should be focused on the excellency of the knowledge and experience of Christ (3:8, 10); focusing on anything else causes us to think differently, thus creating dissensions among us.
4 
To think something other than the one thing is to rebel against God's economy; God's economy is that we think the one thing.
5 
Because of the dissension in their thinking, the Philippian believers had different levels of love (2:2); they did not have the same love toward all the saints for the keeping of oneness; if our love toward the saints has been regulated and dealt with, then we will enjoy Christ as we love the saints.
6 
Being one in soul, joined in soul, is not only for the experience of Christ but even more for the enjoyment of Christ; our experience of Christ should also be an enjoyment of Christ.
7 
To experience Christ with enjoyment, we need to be in one spirit with one soul; in order to enjoy Christ, we need to have a proper soul, a “co-soul” that is one with the souls of other saints.
8 
The most important thing for us to do is to experience Christ as our enjoyment today so that the church may be built up for His glory; this is the way for us to be preserved in the Lord's recovery until He comes back.
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