FROM RELIGION TO THE CHURCH
Originally we were hungry, fallen, impotent, and blind. Hallelujah, today we are the flock, the church, the Bride for the Bridegroom. Today we are no more in the pit, no more in the religious porches, no more in the fold, but on the pasture which is Christ Himself. We have been lifted out of the pit, released from the porch, led out of the fold, and flocked together as the one flock with one Shepherd, feeding on the green pasture. This is the church life.
Let us return now briefly to see how the trouble between the Lord Jesus and religion began. According to the record of the four Gospels, it all started with the matter of fasting and praying. The Lord Jesus came into an atmosphere utterly impregnated with religion, and the break began. It did not start with Him or from Him, but from the religious people, the disciples of John and of the Pharisees. We have already seen how they came to the Lord Jesus inquiring about fasting. That was the beginning of the break. The Lord did not keep fasting; He broke this religious thing. Following His breaking of the fasting system, He began to break the sabbath—the four cases we have seen. When we come to the last case, we have come to the climax. This is the ultimate station; we do not need the fifth sabbath. Now we are on the mountain top; now we have a flock, and we are the flock, the church. We reach this point by coming out of the fold through the door, by following Him under His shepherding, and by enjoying Him day by day in all His riches as our pasture. It is by this that we are all together. We are not organized together; we are flocked together by the Lord Jesus as the door, the Shepherd, and the pasture. It is by this that we become the church, the ultimate, eternal intention of God. Everything is now accomplished. It is all His wonderful doing.
It was in 1932 that I first came into the local church. The Lord Jesus led me out of the "synagogue" into the "cornfield" to feed on its riches. Oh, the church to me at that time was just like the cornfield: I could pick all the ears and enjoy the corn. Then He lifted me up out of the pit; I was a withered member, I was waiting in the porch, waiting for something or someone, but He imparted life into me and made me an active member of the Body. I was impotent, I was blind, but He put something of Himself into me, not just that I might have life, but that I might have it abundantly, and in so doing I received my sight. Then I was made clear; I could see Him as the door and follow Him out of the fold into the pasture. Now I can testify that day and night I am on the pasture enjoying Him. How good it is to be in the flock! Hallelujah, we are flocked together. We never try to unite; we are flocked together. We are not united by any charters or creeds made by human hands; we are united by the Lord Jesus as the door, the Shepherd, and the pasture.
When the flock comes into being, everything is completed. Now we really have a Sabbath. We do not break this Sabbath; we keep this Sabbath for eternity. Day by day we are resting in Christ, we are enjoying the real Sabbath. All the working sabbaths are over; we are now in the resting Sabbath. We are resting in the flock.
(Christ versus Religion, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)