VIII. HOW TO MEET
A. Being Gathered Into the Lord’s Name
Matthew 18:20 says, “For where…are gathered together into My name, there I am in their midst.’’ [The most crucial thing in the believers’ meeting is to be gathered into the Lord’s name. This means that we have to meet in the name of the Lord. Since we are the Lord’s and were saved by His name, we should gather only into that name and meet in that name. We must not gather into and meet in any other name, whether it is the name of an individual, of a corporate body, of a mission, or of a denomination.] When we meet in His name, we are meeting in His person, because the name denotes the person. Now the Lord is the Spirit. So, to meet in His name means to call on His name and to be in spirit where His Spirit dwells.
B. Meeting with the Basic Factors and Elements—The Word, the Spirit, Praying, and Singing
[In all of our meetings there should be four basic factors and elements: the word, the spirit, praying, and singing. If we handle these four elements in a proper and living way, there will be a rich display and expression of Christ in all of our meetings.
The word is the holy word revealed in the Scriptures, either the constant Word or the instant word. If we are going to be the speaking ones in our meetings, we must let the word of Christ dwell in us richly (Col. 3:16). The riches of Christ are in His word. The word of the Lord must have adequate room within us that it may operate and minister these riches into our being. Then our speaking of the word in the meetings will be an exhibition of the riches of Christ.
When we refer to the spirit, we are following the apostle Paul to denote our spirit indwelt by and mingled with the Holy Spirit. According to the New Testament, the divine Spirit and our human spirit are mingled together as one spirit. He that is joined to the Lord, who is the Spirit, is one spirit (1 Cor. 6:17; 2 Cor. 3:17). In a regenerated person, the divine Spirit and the human spirit are no longer two separate spirits. The Spirit of the Lord and the spirit as our inward being are one spirit.]
[Our Christian heritage today is in two things—the Word and the Spirit. We have the Word without and the Spirit within, and these two are one. The Word is the Spirit and the Spirit is the Word. When I have the Word in my hands it is the Word outside of me, but when I pray-read the Word, it gets into me and becomes the Spirit. When I speak the Spirit out to you, the Spirit becomes the word, and when you receive this word into you, it becomes the Spirit. As I am speaking the word, you are receiving the Spirit. But the strangest thing is this—we are supposed to be the speaking people of the speaking God, yet we do not speak. We need to learn how to handle the Word and the Spirit. My intention and my burden is that the saints would learn how to speak forth Christ properly, to speak in the Spirit and with the Spirit.
Another basic factor and element in our meetings is prayer. We have to learn to pray. The word and the Spirit must issue in our praying. In our meetings there should be many prayers.] [Actually, our church meetings need to be full of spontaneous and living prayers. We offer too many religious, duty-fulfilling prayers. Our prayers are not that spontaneous, real, genuine, or true. They are not that much in our spirit. We should not plan what to pray ahead of time. Our prayers should come out of us spontaneously in the way that we breathe. Our meetings are dead because we are short of these living, spontaneous prayers.
Another basic factor and element in our meetings is singing. Both speaking and singing are the issue of the infilling of our spirit. If we are filled in our spirit something will flow out of us in speaking and singing. In Ephesians 5:18-19, Paul tells us to “be filled in spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and psalming with your heart to the Lord.’’]
The meetings of the church are crucial to God, the church, ourselves, and others. Without the meetings, there can be no practical expression of the church, and the Lord’s speaking is restricted. Without the meetings, the economy of God is not carried out and the church is not built up. Therefore, we must give ourselves to the Lord to be in every meeting of the church. We should never excuse ourselves from the meetings, regardless of the reason; otherwise, we may excuse ourselves from the church life and the kingdom reward.
(Lesson Book, Level 5: The Church—The Vision and Building Up of the Church, Chapter 17, by Witness Lee)