CONCERNING THE LIFE-STUDY TRAININGS
On the personal side now, due to my age, I cannot do too much and much less go to visit faraway places. The life-study trainings will probably be completed by the summer or winter of next year. This winter we will cover 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther and thereby conclude the historical books. Next year we will cover Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs, thereby concluding the life-study trainings on the entire Bible. After that, every winter and summer training, the Lord willing, we will specifically cover the crystallization of the main points. What you have been hearing these days is mostly the crystallized speaking. This means that I will re-study the main points in the New Testament. This is my burden. Of course, at the same time, I will still be here helping the full-time training and also leading the church. All these things require your intercession.
NEEDING TO BE EXERCISED IN SPIRIT AND LIFE
What you need to do now is go back and help the saints in the exercise of the spirit. We need to show the brothers and sisters that without life and spirit, there is no reality of the church, there is no reality of the Body of Christ, and there is no reality of the house of God. Both the Body of Christ and the house of God hinge on life and spirit. You have to repeatedly read and pray-read Ephesians 4:1-16, 2:11-22, and 1 Timothy 3:15-16. These three portions of the Word are on the house, the household of God, and also on the Body of Christ. If you get into the depths of these portions, you will realize that both the house of God and the Body of Christ hinge on life and spirit. Life and spirit are the reality, the substance, of the Body of Christ. The same is true with the house of God. Without life and spirit, the house of God is finished; it is vanity and insubstantial. First Timothy 3:15 says that the house of God is the pillar and base of God’s truth. This God is the living God, and the church is the house of the living God. This house is the great mystery of godliness, of God manifested in the flesh. This is the church.
A local church must be in a condition that is full of life and spirit, a condition of living out the living God. This is because the house of God is the living God becoming flesh and being manifested in the flesh. In the four Gospels, God was manifested in the flesh in Jesus as a single individual. But in 1 Timothy 3, God’s manifestation in the flesh is in the entire church corporately. Every local church should be a manifestation of God in the flesh. Hence, it is not enough just to have zeal and service. Our zeal and service must originate from spirit and life.
How do we know that our service is of spirit and life? This requires us to live the crucified life to be conformed to Christ’s death and thereby manifest the power of Christ’s resurrection from us. Furthermore, we need to let others see that we are those who live by the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Therefore, our living shows whether our service is of spirit and life. We must live in the shadow of the cross daily. I am not, but the Lord is—not I, but Christ. He is everything, and everything is of Him. Both in our daily living and in our activities in the meetings we need to be living and full of the Spirit. I feel that up to this day we still have not fully lived out the vision which we have seen of the Lord. All of us should be so living that before we come to any meeting, we begin to meet from our home by getting our spirit ready and by releasing our spirit. Once we get to the door of the meeting hall, we are singing; we sing while climbing up the stairs, we sing while going to our seat, and we sing even after sitting down.
In the meetings there is the need for the elders to take the lead, but all they need to say is that today we want to first read Ephesians 4. This is good enough; there is no need to say more. You do not need to tell the saints how to read the Scriptures, how one section should read one verse and another section read the next verse. After the brothers and sisters hear that the reading is in Ephesians 4, a young sister may pray before the reading begins, saying, “Lord, we really thank You for another wonderful meeting. We are here to read Your holy Word; in Your holy Word there is life and light. We pray that You would release Your life and light again.” A young brother may add something, saying, “O Lord, Your word is Yourself. Therefore, when we read Your Word today, we are reading You.” Then someone may stand up to read Ephesians 4:1, and after he finishes the reading, others may begin to pray-read. Our meetings should be living to such an extent. All that is required is for the elders to make a simple announcement, and the rest should come out in a living way.
However, most of our meetings in the churches have not been freed from the dead and depressed condition of Christianity. It is not easy to overthrow such a condition. This has to start with us. First we need to be living, and then we need to stir up others and make them living. We need to do this until all the churches are so living. We need to take the cross and live by the power of the resurrection of Christ through the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
THE NEED FOR BLENDING
Lastly, the churches also need the blending. Today due to the progress in telecommunications and means of transportation, the geographic distances have been greatly reduced. Prior to World War II, it was not easy for people to travel from the United States to Hong Kong. Because of the different modes of transportation and difficulties of travel, people could not arrive and be gathered together at the same time. If so, how could there be the blending? However, there are so many airplanes flying throughout the whole world; they are speedy and punctual. Today all kinds of inventions and instruments have caused the people in the entire world to be blended. The blending of the Body of Christ is possible through all the modern means of transportation. Hence, all the churches should live in life and in the spirit and be blended with one another for the manifestation of the reality of the Body of Christ.
How marvelous that the Lord raised up His recovery in China and then brought His recovery to the different places of the world through the changes in the world situation and the various scientific inventions! What the Lord has done is truly wonderful. We all need to catch up with the Lord’s move and cooperate with Him for the fulfillment of His heart’s desire in eternity.
(A General Outline of God's Economy and the Proper Living of a God-Man, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)