NO DIVISION, INDEPENDENCE, OR REBELLION
As those in the Lord’s recovery, our spirit and our motive must be pure, and we must do everything possible to avoid division. The Lord’s recovery is a matter of Christ and the church in oneness. If we are divisive, then we are not for the recovery. Furthermore, we should not act independently of the church. Although there is no need to gain the permission of the elders to function by opening your home, do not be individualistic in doing this. Furthermore, do not be rebellious, for rebellion kills our purpose. There is no room for rebellion in the church. The saints should respect the elders as the leading ones in the church and have fellowship with them. The elders should not control the saints, but the saints should be willing to fellowship with the elders. However, we should not make fellowship a matter of legality.
NOT TEACHING DIFFERENTLY
We have seen that the believers need not be the same in doctrine. However, in 1 Timothy 1:3 Paul indicates that we should not teach differently. This means that we should not teach our particular doctrine. We are not for our doctrine, but for the oneness of the church in Christ. Dozens of homes may be opened for the preaching of the gospel or for fellowship, but in these home meetings we should all teach the same things. Do not use a gathering in your home as an opportunity to teach your particular doctrine. Do not teach foot-washing, head covering, or a certain view of the rapture, but teach concerning Christ and the church.
NOT INSISTING ON OUR WAY
Moreover, we should not have the attitude that our way is the way. Also, we should not try to be particular. Whatever you do, do not label it as something special. This causes division. In 1 Corinthians 1:10 Paul exhorted the Corinthians to be perfectly attuned in one mind and in one opinion. Do not have the attitude that everyone in the church should take your way, and do not insist upon any certain way. For example, there are many ways to drive from Anaheim to Los Angeles. Although some ways are better than others, those who take a better way should not insist that everyone do the same. Likewise, in the church life we should not say that we have the way to be spiritual, to be one, or to be built up.
In addition to all the matters we have already covered, we also need to point out the importance of loving others. We need to love all people, especially all those who confess the name of the Lord Jesus. If we do not love all believers, we are narrow and sectarian. We should love not only those who are lovable, but especially the ones who are not lovable. In Matthew 5:46 the Lord Jesus said, “If you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not also the tax collectors do the same?” In the church life we should give more honor to the uncomely members. According to 1 Corinthians 12, the uncomely parts are more necessary. As a living testimony of Jesus and as an anti-testimony to this age, we are here, not as part of today’s Christianity, but for Christ and the church. For this, we need to love one another.
NEVER FORMING A PARTY
In the church life we should never form a party. Whether the formation of a party is intentional or not, the existence of a party in the church life is always damaging. Throughout the years, I have not had a special intimacy with anyone. Such intimacy is typified in the Old Testament by honey, which eventually becomes leaven. A personal intimacy is something of the natural life. Therefore, do not form intimate relationships according to your natural choice. The sisters especially must take heed to this warning, for, because they are emotional, it is easy for them to have “honey” in their relationships with one another. Sisters, do not spend so much time with those who match your personal taste; rather, have fellowship with those who differ from your natural choice. If we are for the Lord’s testimony, we shall have nothing to do with any party.
If we practice all the points covered in this chapter, the church will grow and be built up, and the Lord’s recovery will spread. Then the church life will be a living testimony. In activities we may be different, but in our speaking of Christ and the church we are one, not because the elders endeavor to make us one, but because we are for the testimony of the oneness of the church in Christ. A strong testimony of Christ and the church will defeat the enemy and pave the way for the Lord Jesus to come back. The Lord needs such a strong and living testimony today. This depends upon us all. May we not fail Him!
(All Ages for the Lord's Testimony, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)