NOT A WAY BUT A VISION
Recently some of the leading ones asked me how the churches should go on. I told them frankly that to ask for a way to go on is to ask for more religion. Every way is a religion. If Brother Lawrence’s Practice of the Presence of God is merely a way, it is a religion. The same is true of Thomas a Kempis’ Imitation of Christ. The attempt to imitate Christ by killing the self is asceticism; it is not really a bearing of the cross. If what Madame Guyon experienced was merely a way, it was the religion of mysticism. Among ourselves some fifty years ago we practiced reckoning. If that was merely a way, it also was a religion. In 1939 Brother Watchman Nee began to see more of the Spirit in Romans 8. After that, he said that we could not experience the death of Christ as long as we were in Romans 6; we had to be in Romans 8. It is through the Spirit, not through our reckoning. If we depend on reckoning, we simply have a reckoning religion. You may ask, What is not a religion? The life-giving Spirit! The seven Spirits!
When the children of Israel traveled through the wilderness, they had no way. They followed the cloud, the Spirit. They followed the high priest’s contact with God in the Holy of Holies. When the high priest went into the Holy of Holies to contact God, on his breast was a plate with precious stones bearing all the names of the twelve tribes. This plate was like a typewriter. Through it the priest knew what God wanted them to do; it was not by written regulations. Today if we want to know what to do, where to go, or what to say, we do not go according to some verse in the Bible, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8 tells us this. The righteous requirement of the law will be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to flesh, but according to spirit (v. 4). And we must realize that the wonderful Christ is in our spirit.
It is not a matter of learning a way. We must come to see the vision! We must see the last recovery of the Lord! These messages are just to unveil to you the Lord’s ultimate recovery. The Lord does not want other things. He wants nothing except to have Himself wrought into you.
THE ULTIMATE WORLD SITUATION
In previous chapters we have covered how the Lord arranged the proper situation for the carrying out of His move. He prepared the Roman Empire for the accomplishment of redemption and for the spread of the gospel. For the Reformation He raised up Germany. For the gospel to be spread to all parts of the earth He raised up Great Britain.
For the Lord to achieve His ultimate move He also needs the proper situation. If you consider the entire world today, you would have to say that the best place for the spreading of His recovery is the United States of America. We labored on the mainland of China from 1922 to 1949. Many were gained; many churches were raised up. Then from 1949 the whole of China began to be closed to us. I was sent out, and many of my co-workers were put into prison. It was a grief and disappointment to me. Now, however, I am no longer disappointed. In fact, I am greatly encouraged.
The Best Language
I can see that if all the items of the recovery were only in the Chinese language, they would lie buried, unavailable to those who did not know Chinese. What is printed in Chinese is preserved, but it does not spread. The best language for the spreading of the truth is American English. Within two weeks after a message is given, it can be sent to all five continents in a universally understood language by printed page, by audio tapes, and by video tapes.
The Best Place
Through all of human history there has never been such a country as the United States. How I thank the Lord for such a country where there is freedom of speech, a democratic, constitutional government, all the modern conveniences, and an abundance of resources! Forty-five years ago I was in the interior of China, traveling, preaching, teaching the Bible. I traveled by mule wagon over poor roads. From early morning till late in the evening we were on the road, yet we covered at most thirty miles. There is no comparison between that and the way the word can be spread today throughout the whole world from the United States. Planes fly from here to any part of the globe in less than twenty-four hours. Telephone connects us with Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australasia. Publications and cassette tapes are easily sent abroad. The recovery will spread. Sooner or later, these truths will be adopted. Just as justification by faith spread, so the truth of the tree of life will spread.
(The World Situation and God's Move, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)