IN THE EPISTLES
What is sown as a seed in Matthew 13 is developed in 1 Corinthians 3. There we see the growth, the transformation, and the building with precious materials. Bible knowledge is good, but do not remain there. We all must grow. The Lord is looking for the building which comes out of the growth in life and the transformation by life. Nothing else can satisfy Him.
The ultimate consummation of the Bible is the New Jerusalem. In the New Jerusalem gifts, knowledge, and regulations cannot be found. There is simply the flow of life, the tree of life, gold, pearls, and precious stones.
To perfect the saints is not simply to teach them the Bible or to train them to exercise gifts. To perfect the saints is a matter of feeding them and of helping them to grow. If speaking in tongues and Bible knowledge have helped people in some way, we thank God. However, they must go on positively to have the growth in life. To perfect the saints is to cause them to grow into a full-grown man. Has tonguesspeaking produced this kind of growth? Has it produced a full-grown man? People who stress gifts are "babes.. carried about by every wind of teaching" (Eph. 4:14). Among them there is no full-grown man. They do not know how to grow into Christ in all things for the direct building up of the Body. Ephesians 4:15 says that we need to grow up into the Head in all things. Then verse 16 says that after growing up into the Head, we must all be fitted and knit together by every joint of supply, according to the operation in measure of each part. This is the way that the Body, the church, is built up directly.
Do not be distracted by anything. Bible knowledge may help, but do not be distracted by it. Gifts may help, but do not be frustrated by them. After using these bridges to get from one side to another, leave them and go on to the growth in life that will produce adequate and proper transformation. Then we will have gold, pearls, and precious stones for God’s building. God’s intention is to have a building.
In Matthew we do not find gifts or Bible knowledge, and in 1 Corinthians Paul belittled both gifts and Bible knowledge. Neither Ephesians nor Romans says much about gifts, although in Romans the gift of hospitality and other such gifts are mentioned. We need the gift of hospitality. Although you may speak in tongues a great deal, if you keep three guests in your home for a period of time, you will be exposed as to how little growth you really have. We need the growth in life. For the building of the local churches we do not need the so-called gifts; we need growth.
(The Kingdom, Chapter 16, by Witness Lee)