Lesson Book, Level 5: The Church—The Vision and Building Up of the Church, by Witness Lee

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[The goal of Satan, God’s enemy, is to spoil and occupy mankind. In 2 Timothy 3:1-4 Paul says, “But know this, that in the last days difficult times shall come; for men shall be lovers of self, lovers of money…nonlovers of good…lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.’’ Today throughout the whole earth, young people are lovers of pleasure. Sports, amusements, and entertainment are simply pleasures.]

[Paul told Timothy to be aware that difficult times would come when men would be lovers of self. History tells us that at the time of the fall of the Roman Empire, the Romans were self-lovers. They did not care for anyone but themselves. Of course, they were also lovers of money. Self, money, and pleasure always go together. Where self is, money is loved and pleasures are sought. Men in this condition are fully spoiled and occupied with something other than God. They are lovers of themselves, of money, and of pleasures, but not lovers of God or of anything good.]

[Praise the Lord that in the midst of such a situation of ruin, He has visited many of us. Many of the young people among us have not only been caught by God but also occupied by Him. They have been “wrecked’’ by Him. Satan spoils people, but God “wrecks’’ people. Satan spoils people to make them useless for God’s purpose, but God wrecks people to make them useless for Satan’s purpose, the purpose of loving money and pleasure. Why would so many young people attend the meetings of the church? Why would they not seek sports or entertainment? It is because they are wrecked. Over sixty years ago, I was wrecked by God. I was a very active, ambitious, and somewhat smart young man. However, one day I was wrecked by God. Several times I tried to go back to my old way, but because I was wrecked, I could not make it. We have been caught and occupied by Him.]

Why did God “wreck’’ us and why does He want to “wreck’’ some of our friends? He needs to build His church. He needs material and co-laborers for the building up of the church.


[Daniel was taken into captivity as a young man. He and his three friends, who were of the children of Judah, were selected to come into the king’s palace to be taught. There they had to decide whether or not they would eat the food sacrificed to idols. That meat was no longer merely food; it had become related to the demons. To eat it was not a small thing. Daniel and his three friends purposed in their heart not to be defiled, not to have any share in that defiling element (Dan. 1:8).

For Daniel and his three friends not to eat the king’s food was to protest, to be God’s testimony, against the tide of idolatry. This was a great matter in the eyes of God and also in the eyes of the Devil. This was the fighting of a spiritual warfare. In such a situation, Daniel was one who was caught by God. From his very youth, he was called, captured, and fully occupied by God. Eventually, it was he who brought in the return from captivity.]

[Young people today are also in a situation of captivity. God’s testimony has been spoiled, and the riches, the vessels, of God’s testimony have been taken captive. Everything in this age is defiling, including religion and society with its pleasures. Today all religions are in a form of idolatry. Religion takes God’s name, but worships something other than God. This is idolatry. God needs some young people to keep themselves from being defiled by the idolatrous worship. Once some young people see the situation of today’s religion, they will purpose in their heart. They will say, “Lord, from today I would never become polluted with this religion. I would stay away from this defilement.’’ To flee youthful lusts is to keep from being defiled.]

[Do not go along with the present situation. At the time of Daniel, some young people might have said, “What is wrong for us to eat the king’s meat? Everything created by God is clean. We do not care whether or not this food has been offered to idols. We will just take advantage of it.’’ This is a word of failure and defeat. They should rather have said, “I will never go along with this current. I will keep away from it. I protest against the present situation. Let others eat, but I will not.’’ If the young people today would make a purpose such as this deep in their heart, God will use them.]

[The young people need to flee youthful lusts, and they should also pursue, that is, seek after, righteousness, faith, love, and peace (2 Tim. 2:22b). Righteousness, faith, love, and peace are all Christ. To pursue these things is to pursue Christ in different aspects. Flee youthful lusts, and pursue Christ as your righteousness in your relationship with others, as your faith in your relationship with God, as your love in your relationship with one another, and as your very peace. Such fleeing and pursuing is a living for God’s testimony. It is a daily gospel life. A daily walk which expresses righteousness, faith, love, and peace is the best gospel preaching. It is the life that opens the way for the gospel to reach people.]

(Lesson Book, Level 5: The Church—The Vision and Building Up of the Church, Chapter 22, by Witness Lee)