Question: What is God doing in China today? What should be our emphasis? What are the steps we have to take? It seems that these matters are not so clear to us yet.
Brother Lee answered: In the past, we have laid quite a foundation for our work already. But the way to go on is indeed a problem. First, let us consider the question of migration.
God’s People Being Sojourners on Earth
God’s spiritual people are a group of people who are constantly on the move on earth. This was the way with the Israelites in the Old Testament. They were not settled in a fixed place. Rather, they moved around. We are a people who are called by a heavenly calling (Heb. 3:1, 9); we do not belong to the earth. Today, God has called us. We are but sojourners on the earth. The Bible says that we are the heavenly citizens. Our commonwealth exists in the heavens (Phil. 3:20). In the Old Testament, Abraham was called to leave Ur of Chaldea to go to the place that God had prepared for him and to serve Him there. He moved from one place to another, and he was a sojourner on earth (Heb. 11:8-9). A sojourner is a person whose heart is always on the move; he has no heart to settle down. This is like the co-workers who travel and work in various places; everywhere they go, they may be served with good food, comfortable lodging, and warm hospitality. Yet after they stay in a place for a while, they have to leave. This is how Christians should be—they should be like the Israelites.
The Calling, the Beginning,
and the Revival of the Church
The word "church" is ekklesia in the original language. It should be translated "assembly." The "assembly" is a group of people who have received a heavenly calling. They are but sojourners on earth. At the beginning, both the apostles and the saints as well were moving people. In Acts, the scattered saints went everywhere to preach the gospel. Not only were the co-workers moving; the saints were also moving (Acts 8:4). The way of the gospel is composed of the going out of the apostles and the going out of the saints. Before Acts 13, there was the going out of the saints. After Acts 13, there was the going out of the apostles. Later, both lines ceased. Two hundred years ago, there was the great Moravian revival in Bohemia. As a result of that revival, many people went out from that place to North America, the Pacific regions, and the Atlantic regions. This move was lost when the church became degraded. When the church is revived, the gospel goes out, and many workers go out also.
The Christian Way Being to "Go"
Today, however, how many saints are going? What God wants us to do is something that has not been done before, and that is migration. For people to move because of the war is something they did against their will. During our war with the Japanese, many people moved to Kunming, but after the Japanese were defeated, these people moved back to their original places. This should not be the case with those who are moving for the gospel. The Bible shows us that we "come" to receive grace, and we "go" to serve. In the Bible, there are many "comings." Many of us should circle these "comings" with a red pen. But the Bible also speaks of "going." The last chapter of Matthew speaks of "going." The first chapter of Acts also speaks of "going." By Acts 28, the "going" had only gone as far as Rome; it was not completed yet. Acts is an unfinished book. In heaven, there may be two hundred chapters to Acts by now. The gospel went from Rome to Europe, then across the Pacific, and finally to the east coast of China.
Although the gospel has come to the East, it was difficult for the Westerners to spread the gospel to the interior of China. The Chinese do not like to move, and hence the gospel stopped at the east coast of China. This is the case with the church and the saints today. Man likes to settle in a place. Some families have been living here in Swatow for over a century. Their living revolves around this place. Their children are born here, they die here, and they are buried here. Everything is set. I hope that some would go to Tibet for the Lord’s sake. When we "come," we drop the earth. When we "go," we take up heaven. This is the way of the Christian.
(Messages Given During the Resumption of Watchman Nee's Ministry (2 volume set), Chapter 34, by Watchman Nee/Witness Lee)