The Vital Groups, by Witness Lee


We are being discipled from being a natural man to being a God-man, living the divine life by denying our natural life according to the model of Christ as the first God-man (Matt. 28:19). The young people have come to the full-time training not to be trained in the human understanding, but to be discipled in the divine understanding. While I am helping them to be discipled, I am also being discipled day by day in many aspects to live the divine life by denying my natural life.

We should live such a life according to the model of Christ as the first God-man. When Christ was on this earth, He denied His natural life, Himself. He said that whatever He spoke was not His word but the word of the Father who sent Him (John 14:24). He never did anything out of Himself (5:19,30). He did everything out of and by the sending Father. He was not the Sender but the Sent One. He did not live Himself; instead, He lived the Sender, the Father (6:57a). This is the model of the first God-man.

There has never been such a man in all of human history. Abraham and Moses were good, but they were not God-men. After God’s incarnation there was a particular man on earth who was a God-man. This God-man did not live His human life. Instead, He lived the divine life, God Himself, by denying His human life. The Lord called some to follow Him just to see how He lived so that He could show them the pattern of a God-man. For three and a half years they saw and were discipled by this pattern. In the church life we are also being discipled by the Lord. The church life is a discipling life to disciple us from being a natural man to being a God-man. God does not care whether you are a good man or a bad man, because everything of our natural man, good or bad, must go to the cross. All the natural persons should be discipled to the cross because we have another Person in us. We have another life and nature, both divine, according to which we must live.


By the Lord’s discipling we become the witnesses of Christ to magnify Him by living Him (Acts 1:8; Phil. 1:19-21a). Are we the real witnesses of Christ in our daily life? Many of the sisters are very concerned about their hairstyle and about the way their hair looks. They spend much time in front of the mirror to care for their hair. Is this the conduct of a witness of Christ? We must be His witnesses in our whole being.

Paul was such a witness. After he was saved on the way to Damascus, the Lord sent Ananias to him. Ananias said to Paul, "You will be a witness to Him unto all men of the things which you have seen and heard" (Acts 22:15). When people saw Paul, they saw Christ. He was really worthy to say, "I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me" (Gal. 2:20a). By the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, Paul lived Christ in order to magnify Him. He desired to magnify Christ through life and through death (Phil. 1:19-21). Every day Paul was a demonstration, a display, of Christ to show and present the exalted Christ to others. In his living Paul was Christ because to him to live was Christ. We have to be discipled to such an extent that we become such a living witness.


We are the members of Christ, constituting an organism for His increase through His multiplication (Rom. 12:5; John 15:5). Because we are Christ’s members, we are a part of Him. We are members of Christ, not individualistically, but corporately. I have been in the United States for over thirty-three years, and I have always tried to practice ministering Christ, not individualistically, but with my co-workers. This is for Christ’s increase. Christ must be multiplied so that He can have an increase. In John 3 the bride is the increase of the Bridegroom (vv. 29-30), just as Eve was the increase of Adam.


We are His brothers participating with Him in the divine sonship with the divine right to express God mainly through speaking for the dispensing of God through His oracle (Rom. 8:29; Heb. 1:2). The Lord Jesus was with the disciples for three and a half years, but He never called them His brothers until after His resurrection. When He resurrected, He told Mary, "Go to My brothers and say to them, I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God" (John 20:17). Through regeneration in resurrection, we all became His brothers (1 Pet. 1:3). His resurrection was a great delivery of Himself as the firstborn Son of God and of us as His many brothers, the many sons of God. We are His brothers, sharing in His divine sonship.

(The Vital Groups, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)