Lesson Book, Level 5: The Church—The Vision and Building Up of the Church, by Witness Lee

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[Let us first approach it from the standpoint of love. One thing is quite marvelous when we contemplate this verse: “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren’’ (l John 3.14). All who have passed out of death into life love one another. All who have become members of the same spiritual Body love one another. Such love comes from life and it flows spontaneously. Could a person be considered a child of God if, after answering affirmatively in a church meeting that he is a Christian and after being reminded that as a Christian he ought to love other Christians, he then says, “I will start to love other Christians tomorrow if you say so’’? Oh, let us see that everyone who is truly born from above and has the life of God spontaneously loves all who are members together with him in the Body of Christ. Whether he is reminded or not, he has a consciousness of loving the brethren. He unquestionably needs many times to be reminded to love the brethren. Yet this reminder does not add anything to him which is not already within him, it instead merely stirs up into more fervency what is already present in him. If the love of God is present in a person, the love of the brethren is there. And if God’s love is absent, brotherly love is not there. It is that simple. Nothing can be created or manufactured. When a believer meets another person who belongs to God he strangely but quite naturally loves him because he has that inner consciousness within him which must express itself in love towards that other person.]

All of us who were born of God and have been baptized into the Body of Christ cannot help but love one another. When we live in the flesh, we have the tendencies to insult others by our offensive remarks. We need to repent from such behavior. We must take care of one another’s feelings by living in the spirit.


[One who has seen the Body of Christ and who thus possesses the consciousness of the Body feels unbearable inside when he does anything which may cause division or separate God’s children. For he loves all who belong to God and cannot divide His children. Love is natural to the Body of Christ, whereas division is most unnatural. It is just as in the case with our two hands: no matter for how many reasons one hand may be raised against the other hand, there is no way to sever their relationship: division is simply impossible.]

[The Body of Christ will deliver us from sect and sectarianism; it will also save us from self and individualism. How sad that the life principle of many is not the Body but the individual self. We may discover this principle of individualism in many areas.] For example, [sometimes three or five, even ten or twenty brethren at a meeting will all speak only whatever concerns themselves, without showing any interest in the affairs of the others or listening to the others’ thoughts. Or, as the case might be, as you or others sit with such a person as has been described, he may talk with animation for an hour or two about his own business; but when you or the others talk, he does not pay the slightest attention—for if you ask him afterwards, he evidences the fact that he hardly seems to have heard anything. In small things such as these, you can tell if a person has truly discerned the Body of Christ.

The plague of individualism can grow from simply expressing one person’s individualism to that of several persons. You may notice in the church that three or five, perhaps even eight or nine persons will sometimes form a small circle. Only these few are of one mind and love one another. They do not fit in with the other brothers and sisters. This indicates that they too have not perceived the Body of Christ. The church is one, it cannot be severed. If a person has really known the Body, he cannot endorse any kind of individualism. He cannot form a party or any small circle.

If you have genuinely experienced the Body of Christ you will be conscious of something wrong whenever you begin to show your individualism, and obviously you dare not take any action. Or else, when you or several others should make a wrong move, this Body consciousness will cause you to be aware of being disconnected from the other children of God, thus preventing you from proceeding further. There is something in you which restrains, speaks, reproves, warns, or hinders. This consciousness of life can deliver all of us from any taint of division.]

(Lesson Book, Level 5: The Church—The Vision and Building Up of the Church, Chapter 21, by Witness Lee)