GOD’S ULTIMATE RECOVERY
What is the Lord’s ultimate recovery? The initial recovery was in the time of Martin Luther. What is the ultimate recovery? Is it to recover the communal life? Is it to recover the washing of feet? Foot-washing is in the Bible, but foot-washing is not the Lord’s ultimate recovery.
The Lord’s ultimate recovery is the same as the Lord’s ultimate move. That is, He wants to recover Christ, the mystery of God, becoming the indwelling Spirit to infuse, impart, the Triune God into the tripartite man, thus making us who believe in Him members of His Body for His expression. This Body is expressed locally as the lampstand, which becomes His testimony, the testimony of Jesus.
The ultimate move of God has been lost sight of. Now the Lord is going to recover it. Three to four hundred years ago some matters were recovered by the Puritans, but the points were not as great as what Zinzendorf and John Nelson Darby saw. The Brethren saw something great, but they became centered on doctrines and were killed by the letter of the Bible. What the Lord is going to recover is simply this: Christ as the mystery of God to live in us as the indwelling Spirit, making us His members that we may become the church, the mystery of Christ, as the Body to express Him. This expression is the lampstand.
After the Lord recovers this, He will have completed what He intended to do. This is as far as God went while Paul was on earth. How could He recover more than this? God is now recovering this last item among us: Christ in you, the hope of glory, making us all His living Body.
KEPT FROM DISTRACTIONS
If you see this, you will never be led astray. Nothing will distract you. It is because I have seen what the Lord’s ultimate move is that I have been kept in the recovery over a half century. I have been kept, not because the churches were always wonderful, not because the co-workers were always pleasant. What has held me is my seeing of the Lord’s ultimate recovery from the very first day I started on this way. In the twenty years I have been with you, I have never changed my tone. If the Lord grants me another twenty-five years, I should be able to finish the Life-study of the entire Bible. Then you will see that all the Life-studies are on the same subject: the two great mysteries, the mystery of God (Christ) and the mystery of Christ (the church). All of you need to see this. Do not be preoccupied with anything else. Focus instead on this ultimate move of God.
THE PREPARATION IN CHINA
In the past two centuries God sent the finest spiritual missionaries to China. Hudson Taylor was one; his experience of John 15 was rare. Another was Mr. Woodbury, who set up a Christian and Missionary Alliance Church in Shanghai around 1920. In the years after that, spiritual seekers realized that that was the most spiritual mission that went to China. One medical student he helped was a Dr. Lee, who became an outstanding spiritual native. He knew the cross and the resurrection life. Then there was also Miss M. E. Barber, who helped Brother Watchman Nee. Through her we became acquainted with the spiritual writings from the West. How could we have been in a faraway, backward country and still have gotten to know spiritual books that even some of you are not familiar with? It was through these top spiritual persons.
In 1927 Brother Watchman Nee began to write The Spiritual Man. In this book he has many translations from the writings of others. In the preface of the first Chinese edition Brother Nee indicated this. It was more than fifty years ago that Brother Nee translated these spiritual writings into Chinese and made them available to us. Neither Brother Nee nor I had been to the Western World, but by the Lord’s sovereignty we went to English-speaking colleges. We read in English the history of the church, the biographies and autobiographies of the spiritual giants of the past, and the central themes of the great writers.
When Paul was still Saul, before he was called to the completing ministry, he had been taught the Old Testament at the feet of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). I am grateful for what I learned from the great Brethren teachers on the Old Testament and on prophecy. Many of the messages I have given on the tabernacle and on the ark were based on their teachings. Though their teaching was just in a doctrinal way, it was correct. After all these years, I have gained some experiences. I do not like to teach the types in a doctrinal way, but rather to apply them to our experience. But, we owe much to the Brethren teachers; we are on their shoulders.
If such missionaries had not been sent to China, how could we have become Christians? Less than two centuries ago the blood of Christ’s Body flowed to China and produced new cells. Now it has flowed back to the Western World. I am sorry to say that due to pride many Christians refuse to take what has come back. But thank the Lord, many have taken it.
(The World Situation and God's Move, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)