Next let us look at a parable the Lord Jesus told in the Age of the Grace.
3. The Parable of the Lost Sheep
(Mt 18:12-14) “How think you? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, does he not leave the ninety and nine, and goes into the mountains, and seeks that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, truly I say to you, he rejoices more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.”
This is a parable. What feeling does this passage give you? In human language, the expression of parable is a figure of speech and is something within human knowledge. If God had spoken such words in the Age of the Law, people would feel that these words did not match God’s identity. However, as this passage was expressed by the Son of man in the Age of the Grace, people feel that they are very comfortable, very warm, and very considerate. God was incarnated, and he appeared in the image of a man. In humanity he used a very suitable parable to express his heart’s voice, which represented God’s own heart’s voice, represented the work God would do in that age, and also represented an attitude God had toward man in the Age of the Grace. From this attitude God had toward man, it can be seen that God likened everyone to a sheep, and if a sheep got lost, he would spare no effort to look for it. This represented a principle by which God worked on man when he was incarnated that time. God used such a parable to describe his determination and attitude in his working at that time. This was an “advantage” God incarnate had: He could speak to man and express his heart’s desires with human knowledge and with words of humanity. He explained or “translated” the profound and incomprehensible words of divinity to man in words and ways of humanity, which would be advantageous to man’s understanding his will and knowing what he would do. In addition, he could also talk with people in the position of a man and talk with people in human language and in the ways people could understand, and he could even speak and work with human language and knowledge, so that people would feel that God is amiable and approachable and see God’s heart. What do you see here? Is there any prohibition in God’s speaking and doing things? In man’s view, God could not possibly speak what he wanted to speak and do the works he wanted to do and express his own will with human knowledgeand human language or in a human way. This was just man’s wrong imagination. God used such a parable, and this parable made man feel God’s realness and God’s sincerity and see God’s attitude toward man during that time. This parable aroused the people from their dream who had lived under the law for a long time, and also it encouraged generation after generation of people who lived in the Age of the Grace. Through reading this parable, people know God’s sincerity in saving man and also know man’s weight in God’s heart.
Next, look at the last word in this passage: Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish. Was this word of the Lord Jesus spoken by himself or by the Father in heaven? Outwardly, it was spoken by the Lord Jesus, but his will represented God’s own will, so he said, “Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” The people of that time only acknowledged the Father in heaven as God and the man they saw before their eyes just as one sent by the Father in heaven, who could not represent the Father in heaven, so the Lord Jesus must add such a word, so that they would clearly feel God’s will for them and also feel the trueness and accuracy of this word. Although this was a simple word, it was very considerate, and it manifested the Lord Jesus’ humbleness and hiddenness. No matter whether God was incarnated or worked in the spiritual realm, he was most clear about man’s inner being, knew best what man needed, and also knew what man was worried about and for what man was puzzled. So he added such a word. This word clearly revealed a problem hidden in men: Men all half-believed in what the Son of man said; in other words, when the Lord Jesus spoke, he must add such a precondition, “Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish,” so that he could achieve the results of his speaking, make men believe the accuracy of his word, and improve the trustworthiness of his word. Thus it can be seen that when God became an ordinary Son of man, man’s relationship with God was so embarrassing, and the Son of man’s circumstance was so embarrassed. And it can be seen that the Lord Jesus at that time had so little place among men. By speaking such a word, actually he was telling men, “You can just rest assured; what I say does not represent my own will, but the will of the God in your hearts.” Isn’t this word very ironic to man? Although when God was incarnated to do his work, he possessed many advantages God’s original person did not possess, he had to endure the doubts and rejections from man and also man’s numbness and obtuseness. It can be said that the course of the Son of man’s working was the course of his tasting man’s rejection and was also the course of his tasting man’s competition with him, much more the course of his working personally to win man’s trust and conquer man constantly with what he has and is and with his substance. More than being incarnated to wage an on-the-spot war with satan, God became an ordinary man to wage a fight with those who followed him. In such a fight, with his humbleness, what he has and is, and his love and wisdom, the Son of man accomplished his work, gained the men he wanted to gain, and also won the status and position he should have, and he “returned” to his throne.
Next, we will read the following two passages of scripture.
4. Forgive Seventy Times Seven
(Mt 18:21-22) Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus said to him, I say not to you, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
5. The Love of the Lord
(Mt 22:37-39) Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Of these two passages of scripture, one talks about forgiveness and the other talks about love. They put forward very clearly the contents of the work the Lord Jesus wanted to do in the Age of the Grace.
When God was incarnated, he brought with him a stage of work and brought the disposition to be expressed in that age and the specific items of the work. What the Son of man did in that period were all centered around the scope of the work God wanted to do in that age. He would do no more or less than that. Every word he said and every work he did had to do with that age. No matter whether he expressed them in a human way and with human language or with divine language, no matter in which way or position, his purpose was just for man to know what he would do, what his will was, and what his requirements for man were. He would use manifold ways and take different positions to make man realize, know, and understand his will and understand his work of saving man. Therefore, we see that in the Age of the Grace more often the Lord Jesus used words of humanity to express the things he wanted to make clear, and more often he stood in the position of a common guide to talk with man, supply man’s needs, and grant man’s requests. Such a way of working could not be seen in the Age of the Law before the Age of the Grace. He got closer to man and more considerate of man, which could better achieve practical results in form and in manner. Here the parable of forgiving others “seventy times seven” well illustrates the point. The figure in this parable is for man to see from this word the Lord Jesus’ intention of telling this parable at that time. His purpose was so that man should forgive others not just once or twice, nor seven times, but seventy times seven. What was the concept of “seventy times seven” here? It was that man was required to take forgiving others as his responsibility and his obligatory course and observe it as the “way.” Although it was only a parable, it brought out the crucial point, and it helped man deeply understand the Lord Jesus’ will and from the word have the way he should practice and have the principle and standard for his practice. This parable gave man a clear understanding and an accurate concept that man should learn to forgive and be able to forgive others without condition and without limit on the number of times, and do it with the heart of sympathizing and forbearing with others. What was the Lord Jesus thinking when saying that word? Was he really thinking of seventy times seven? No. Is there a limit on the number of times God forgives man? Many people are very interested in the “number of times” mentioned here and want very much to know the origin of this number and its implied meaning. They want to know why the Lord Jesus spoke out such a number. They believe that this number must have some deeper implication. As a matter of fact, it is only a parable God spoke in humanity. If it is said to have any implied meaning or inner meaning, it cannot be separated from the Lord Jesus’ requirements for man. Before God was incarnated, many of his words man did not understand, because his words were from the full divinity. The angle and background of his speaking were invisible and unreachable to man and his words were expressed from the invisible spiritual realm, which man who lived in the flesh could not get access to. But after God was incarnated, he talked with man in the position of humanity, which came out of and went beyond the spiritual realm. He could express his divine disposition and will as well as his attitude by certain things that man could imagine in his notion or could see and contact in his life, or by the ways man could accept, the words man could understand, or the knowledge mankind grasped, so that man could understand God, know God, and comprehend and realize God’s will and God’s required standard in the scope and extent he could reach. This was the way and principle by which God did his work in humanity. Although the way and principle of God’s working in the flesh was achieved more often by or through humanity, it produced the result that could not be achieved by the divinity doing the work directly. The work God did in humanity was more specific, more real, and more targeted in content. It was more flexible in manner and exceeded the Age of the Law in form.
The next is about loving the Lord and loving your neighbor as yourself. Were these words directly expressed in divinity? Obviously not! These words were all spoken in the humanity of the Son of man. Only man will say such words as these, “Love my neighbor as myself, and care for others as my own life.” Only man speaks in this way. God never speaks in this way, and at least in God’s divinity, there are no such words. This is because God does not need such a creed as “love my neighbor as myself” to standardize his love for mankind, for God’s love for man is the natural manifestation of what he has and is. When have you ever heard God say such a word as “I love mankind as myself”? It is because love is in God’s substance and in what he has and is. His love for man and his way and attitude in treating man are the natural expressions and manifestations of his disposition. He does not need to make a conscious effort to do anything or follow a certain way or a moral norm so as to be able to love others as himself; rather he naturally possesses such substance. What do you see here? When God does his work in humanity, many of his manners, many of his words, and many of the truths are expressed in human ways, while at the same time God’s disposition, what God has and is, and God’s will are also expressed for man to understand and know. What man understands and knows are exactly God’s substance and what God has and is, which represent God’s own original identity and position. That is to say, the incarnated Son of man expresses God’s own original disposition and God’s substance to the utmost in a most accurate way. The humanity of the Son of man is not the hindrance and obstacle to the association and communication between man and the God in heaven, but instead is the only channel and bridge to connect mankind with the Creator. At this point, don’t you feel that the nature and way of the work the Lord Jesus did in the Age of the Grace are similar to those of this stage of work now in many aspects? In this stage of work, God also uses many words of humanity to express his disposition and uses much of everyday language or many words and ways of human knowledge to express his own will. Once God is incarnated, no matter whether he speaks in the position of humanity or in the position of divinity, many of his words or expressions are spoken in human language or in a human way. In other words, when God is incarnated, it is the best opportunity for you to see God’s almightiness and God’s wisdom and know all aspects of God’s practicalness. When God is incarnated, in his growth he knows, learns, and grasps in humanity some knowledge, common sense, and words or expressions from man. When the incarnated God equips himself with these things from the created mankind, they become a tool by which he expresses his disposition or expresses divinity in the flesh, so that when God works among men in the position of a man and with human language, he can do the work more appropriately, truly, and accurately, easier for man to approach and understand, thereby achieving the working results he desires. Isn’t it more practical that God works in this way in the flesh? Isn’t this God’s wisdom? When God was incarnated and his flesh was adequate to undertake the work he aimed to do, it was the time God’s disposition and God’s work would be expressed practically. At that time, that is, when the Son of man could formally begin to perform his ministry, it meant that there would no longer be the “generation gap” between man and God, it meant that God was about to stop the work of messengers conveying messages for him, and God Godself could personally express in the flesh all his words and works he aimed to express, and it also meant that the mankind God was saving became closer to God, meant that God’s management work entered a new realm, and meant that a brand new age was about to face the whole mankind.
All those who have read the Bible know that when the Lord Jesus was born, there happened many things. The biggest among them was that he was hunted by the king of devils and even all children under the age of two in the whole city were killed. It can be seen that what a great risk God took when he was incarnated and came among men, that what a great price God paid in order to accomplish his management of saving mankind, and that what a great expectation God had for his being incarnated to work among men. When God’s flesh was adequate to undertake the work among men, how did God’s heart feel? Man should know something about it, right? At least, God’s heart was happy, because his new work could be carried out among men. When the Lord Jesus was baptized and formally began to do his work and perform his ministry, God’s heart was extremely happy, because after having waited and prepared for so many years, God finally could put on a normal human flesh and begin to do his new work in the image of a man who had blood and flesh and who could be seen and touched by man. He finally could speak with man face to face and have a heart-to-heart talk with man face to face in the capacity of a man, and he finally could be face to face with man in human language and in a human way, could supply man or guide and help man in human language, could eat at the same table and live in the same space with man, and also could look at mankind, look at things, and look at everything in a human way and even with human eyes. These, to God, meant that his work in the flesh had succeeded in the first battle, or it could be said to have been crowned with success. That was certainly the happiest thing to God. From that moment, God felt for the first time a kind of comfort for his working among men. All this happened so practically and so naturally, and the comfort God felt was so real. This is because to mankind, whenever God accomplishes a stage of new work and whenever God feels gratified, it is the time mankind can come nearer to God and is also the time man comes closer to being saved; to God, it is the time his new work can be carried out and his management plan progresses forward, much more the time his will can come closer to complete accomplishment. It is fortunate and great to mankind that such an opportunity comes to them. To all those waiting for God’s salvation, it is extremely good news. When God does a stage of new work, he has a new start. When the stage of new work, the new start, is carried out and implemented among men, it is the time this stage of work is already settled and accomplished and God already sees the final result and achievement, and it is also the time God is satisfied with the result; of course God’s heart is happy. Because God’s eyes have already seen the men he wants to find and have already located and gained the men he wants to find, gaining a group of people on whom he can accomplish his work and with whom he is satisfied, therefore God’s heart is comforted, and he drops his sadness and his heart is happy. In other words, when God’s flesh can carry out the new work among men and begin to do the work he wants to do without any hindrance, and when he feels that all this is fulfilled, he has already seen the outcome, and he is satisfied with it and his heart is happy. In what way does God express his happiness? Can you imagine it? May God shed tears? Can God shed tears? Can God clap his hands? Can God dance a dance? Can God sing a song? What song should it be? Of course, God can sing a beautiful song, a melodious song, and a song that can express his happiness and delight in his heart, and sing it to man, sing it to himself, and also sing it to all things. God can express his happiness in any way. All this is normal, because God has pleasure, anger, sorrow, and joy. God can express his different moods in different ways. This is God’s right, and is something that cannot be more normal. You should not have any critical view about it and should not treat God with your trammels, telling God, “Do not do this. Do not do that. You cannot act in this way. You cannot act in that way,” restraining God’s happiness and restraining any mood of God. In man’s heart, God should not be happy, should not shed tears, should not weep, and should not express any mood. Through these two recent fellowships, I believe you will no longer treat God like that but will let God have some freedom and release. This is a very good phenomenon. In the future when you hear that God is sad and you can truly feel God’s sadness, and when you hear that God is happy and you can truly feel God’s happiness, or at least you can clearly know and understand what God is happy for and what God is sad for, when you can be sad for God’s sadness and happy for God’s happiness, your heart will have been completely gained by God, there will not be any barrier between you and God, and you will not bind God with human imagination and notion or knowledge. The God at that time will be living in your heart, true and real, will be the God as your life, and will be the Lord ruling over your everything. Do you have such a wish? Do you have the faith to reach it?
To be continued…
A Selected Passage from A continuation of The Word Appears in the Flesh
Read the whole piece of word: http://www.holyspiritspeaks.org/gods-work-gods-disposition-and-god-godself-3/
Eastern Lightning | The Church of Almighty God came into being because of the work of the returned Lord Jesus—the end-time Christ, “Almighty God”—in China, and it isn’t established by any person. Christ is the truth, the way, and the life. After reading God’s word, you will see that God has appeared.