NOT BEING LITTLE CHILDREN CARRIED ABOUT BY WINDS OF TEACHING
After this, verse 14 continues to say that we should no longer be little children. Let me ask you young brothers and sisters, have you grown up? If you have not grown up, then you are little children. Verse 13 says, “Until we all arrive…at a full-grown man.” Then verse 14 says, “That we may be no longer little children tossed by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching.” If you are little children, you will be easily carried about by every wind of teaching, but if you have become a grown-up person, you will not be tossed by waves and carried about by the winds of teaching.
What does it say here about where the winds of doctrine come from? How do they blow? The winds of doctrine blow out of the sleight of men in craftiness. In this verse Paul used words with very deep connotations because he had much light and was able to see through the devil’s subtleties. We need to see that much of Christianity is in craftiness. If you have the Lord’s view and light, you will absolutely say amen to this word. You will see through today’s Christianity and realize that it has the sleight, the deceit, of men and that it is involved with craftiness.
What does this mean? God’s eternal purpose is that His redeemed ones may become His one Body for Him to obtain His fullness and that they may also become the one new man for God’s economy to be lived out on earth. This is God’s intention, and this is the Lord’s eternal purpose. However, everything Christianity does today completely destroys this purpose. You must know that many zealous Christians today who are working for the Lord do not mean to be crafty or deceitful. In their love for the Lord their desire is to be zealous, but they have been tricked by the subtle one. Behind them is a deceiver with his sleight. It is very evident that today’s Christian workers have caused Christians to become divided. How do they do this? It is by preaching good doctrines to them. A certain good-sounding doctrine can divide a group of Christians. Many have absolutely no concept concerning the Body of Christ and the new man. On the surface they are preaching biblical doctrines to people, which is a good thing. Nevertheless, underneath and behind this good thing is the sleight of Satan.
From this point of view, you can see that there are many groups in Christianity, each of which seems to be doing good things because they are preaching the gospel, teaching the truth, saving people, helping people, and teaching people to know the Bible. Who would have thought that underneath and behind these good things there is Satan’s craftiness and sleight? By this sleight many Christians are fully divided. Many members of these groups do not have an ear to hear when you try to talk to them about the truth of the Body or the new man. Not only do they refuse to listen, but they also turn around to oppose and condemn you. Is this not craftiness? Is this not deception? Many doctrines, many teachings, many groups, and many practices in today’s Christianity appear to be for Christ, but in reality they are simply the sleight of men and craftiness that divide the Lord’s people.
Here I must use as an example an event that took place among us fifteen or sixteen years ago. At that time a few among us were influenced by a certain spiritual man, and these few shouted the slogan that they had seen the full Christ; they claimed that they were those with a vision. Some of the brothers and sisters at that time were shaken by what was said. Today almost twenty years have passed. History has become facts, and the facts prevail over everything. Look around; where have those people gone who shouted that they had the vision? They have divided again and again on this island. I cannot tell you how many times they have divided. During the ten years from 1957 to 1967 they damaged at least one or two hundred useful young people. During this time their craftiness was not to damage the useless ones; they sought to damage only the promising ones. On the surface, they said they had seen the vision of the full Christ, but secretly they were doing this kind of damaging work.
At this time I must expose Satan’s craftiness and show you that this is today’s Christianity. Therefore, I would advise you not to readily follow those who shout various slogans nor quickly listen to what others say. No liar will ever tell you that he is lying. Every liar will tell others that he is speaking the truth. All of Christianity today is in a deception, in that so-called Christian workers put people under their control and thus divide the Body of Christ. As long as they can arrive at this goal, they do not care about their methods. This is why you must be clear about one matter: Do not listen when others tell you this or that. Ignore any slogans, and remember only one thing—one Body and one new man. If anyone wants to make them two, we cannot agree. How many new men are there? One new man. How many Bodies are there? One Body. There is one Body and one new man. If anyone tries to produce two, that must be false; if anyone tries to divide, that must be a deception. One Body and one new man. It is one in all of Indonesia, one in all of Thailand, one in all of Southeast Asia, and one on the entire earth. If someone makes another one, regardless of how real it looks outwardly, it must be false because there is only one Body and one new man.
This is why Ephesians says that we should no longer be little children carried about by the winds of teaching, which are not necessarily the winds of heretical teaching but may be winds of proper teaching. How do those winds of teaching blow? They blow in the sleight of men and in craftiness to bring people into a system of schemes and error. The system here is Satan’s system, and the schemes and errors here are systematized. All divisions and damage are plots, made not by men but by the devil, who is behind men. The devil utilizes the craftiness and sleight of men to bring people into his system of schemes and error.
From this we all can arrive at the conclusion that by having been enlightened and seen a vision, we know that today the Lord wants nothing other than one Body and one new man. For the Body, we must take Him as our life; for the one new man, we must take Him as our person. When we all truly take Him as the person of the universal new man, we will be willing to pay any price. We will grow, and we will also experience Him as our life. Then the stature of the Body will grow in its measure. Then at this point, we will have to be on guard against the craftiness of the enemy.
Over the past ten or more years, it seems that we have become seriously ill due to that incident that happened among us. You must know that after your body goes through a serious illness and recovers, its resistance to that particular sickness is strengthened. We thank the Lord. I believe that today the churches in the Lord’s recovery all have such a resistance against that kind of thing. If it happens again, we certainly will know how to swallow up that craftiness and not be deceived by it again.
(One Body, One Spirit, and One New Man, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)