BEING BUILT TOGETHER WITH OTHERS IN THE CHURCH AND ABSOLUTELY NOT BEING INDIVIDUALISTIC
We should not think that as long as we are spiritual and as long as we pursue God individually, we will be all right. This is not right! We need to see that we must be built together with the brothers and sisters, we must be builded stones. Regardless of where we are, we must not be single stones; rather, we must be built together with at least two or three brothers and sisters. In the church we must be harmonious, united, and joined with others.
I have seen some brothers and sisters who are humble and gentle. They are truly lovable, just like beautifully carved precious stones. Nonetheless, someone who is like this may not be built together with others. Individually, he may not hurt, harm, offend, or stumble others. On the contrary, he may conduct himself properly in all things. He may be really good. But if we observe his relationship with others, we will notice that he is not connected to anyone. When someone mentions another brother to him, although he does not say anything outwardly, he shakes his head inwardly. When someone mentions a certain sister, he gives no opinion outwardly, but inwardly it is another story. He is altogether a self-centered person who is not attached to anyone. He is truly like a marble that nothing can stick to. This kind of condition is very abnormal. Such a brother or sister is useless in the church.
Such a believer may be likened to a childless old woman. People who are very old and have no children are often very neat. Please forgive me for saying that in particular, old, single females are often so neat that they become peculiar. They can be neat to the extent that they are not attached to anyone; no one dares to be attached to them. The self-centered brothers and sisters are also the same. They care only about being clean and without a speck of dust before God; they do not care whether others live or die. Therefore, spiritually, they are old people who do not have spiritual descendants. There is no blessing of God upon them.
However, there is often another group of people in the church. These ones seemingly are not very spiritual. They are common in every way, without anything special. Yet you can see that there is building among them and that they can be attached to anyone, including the weak and the backsliding ones. They are full of the blessings of God, and many are helped and supplied by them. Therefore, what matters is building. If there is building, there is usefulness; if there is building, there is blessing.
AS BOTH THE DWELLING PLACE AND THE BRIDE, THE CHURCH NEEDING TO BE BUILT UP
We must see that what God ultimately will obtain is a city, not many scattered stones. This city, this building, is on the one hand, the dwelling place, the house of God, and on the other hand, the bride of the Lamb and the counterpart of Christ. Being a counterpart is more advanced than being a dwelling place. We know that everyone needs a home, but in order to have a proper home, there is the need of a spouse. If there is no spouse, there cannot be a proper home. Therefore, the Chinese refer to marriage as the establishing of a home. If a man is not married, he does not have a home. After a man is married and has a spouse, then he has a home. The Scriptures show us that God and man are counterparts to each other. God is the Husband, and man is the wife. Without man, God is single; without God, man is alone. Both are without a home. Only when the two, God and man, are united will there be a universal home in which man has a place to dwell and God has a place of rest.
As both a dwelling place and a counterpart, the church is corporate. God’s counterpart is not an individual believer but the church corporately. I hope that God will enable us to see this. No matter how spiritual we are, as long as we are individualistic, we damage the dwelling place of God, the house of God, as well as the counterpart of God. Therefore, Christians should by no means be individualistic. They must be built together with the brothers and sisters in the church.
(The Building Work of God, Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)