OVERCOMING BY BEGETTING, NOURISHING, PERFECTING, AND PROPHESYING
We need to realize that the Lord’s recovery today is absolutely different from Christianity. To be an overcomer, we must overcome three "isms"—Judaism, Catholicism, and Protestantism. In Revelation 2 these three "isms" are represented by the teaching of Balaam, the teaching of the Nicolaitans, and the teaching of Jezebel (vv. 14-15, 20). We must overcome these three kinds of teachings. Revelation 2 and 3 do not say that we must overcome sin, our temper, or the love of money. These things are mentioned in other books, but not in Revelation 2 and 3. The satanic chaos that we must overcome has arisen from these three sources—Judaism, Catholicism, and Protestantism. These three sources as three "isms" have captured a great number of people and have usurped and spoiled God’s chosen ones.
In the Lord’s recovery the first thing that must be recovered is Christ with His Body. The second thing to be recovered is the function of every member of Christ’s Body (Rom. 12:4-8; 1 Cor. 12:12-22; Eph. 4:11-12, 16). The God-ordained way is to recover the function of every member of the Body of Christ. Although those in Christianity preach Christ and teach people concerning Christ, they do so in a very shallow way. They have the term church, but they do not have the reality of the Body of Christ. Thus, the first item of the Lord’s recovery today is to recover Christ with His Body, and the second item is to recover the function of every member. In the recovery we desire to see all the dear saints become living and functioning members of the Body. When we function we cannot get away from these four things: begetting, nourishing, perfecting, and prophesying. This is why I would like to see every college graduate spend at least one or two years to be trained to function and to be a living member of Christ. Then, if they get a job to make a living in order to maintain a family, that should not be their primary interest. Their interest should be Christ and His Body. If they live such a life and are such a person, every day they will be involved with these four things: begetting, nourishing, perfecting, and prophesying. To do these things is to proclaim the word. In 2 Timothy 4:1-2a Paul said to Timothy, "I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: Proclaim the word; be ready in season and out of season." To do this is to live a life that is Christ for the church.
When the Lord Jesus comes back, the first thing He will check with us is concerning how we lived our life. I do not believe that He will be concerned mainly with our overcoming various negative things. The Lord Jesus may ask us, "What kind of life did you live? How many members have you begotten for Me? How many members in My Body have been nourished by you? How many members in My Body have been perfected by you? To what extent has My Body been built up through your prophesying?" I am very concerned that many of the saints may not be approved at the Lord’s judgment seat. I do not believe that the number of overcomers will be large. We all need to see that one day we will stand before Him to answer these four questions. Thus, we must endeavor to get into these four things: begetting, nourishing, perfecting, and prophesying. This is vital. These four things are crucial.
We suffer defeats in our Christian life because we do not live this kind of life. If we live such a life, we will be fully occupied with begetting, nourishing, perfecting, and prophesying. We will not have any time to consider anything else. After reading this message, I hope that many will pray, "Lord Jesus, have mercy on me and help me every day to find some way to beget someone, to feed someone, or to perfect someone, and every week to prophesy by speaking You to my fellow saints, that they all may be built up as Your organic Body." If we endeavor to get into these four things, we will have no time and no interest to care for anything else. We will be a person who is absolutely for Christ and His Body, and we will be occupied with knowing the crucial points of the Lord’s word so that we can be well trained, equipped, and furnished to do these four things. Then every day and everywhere we can beget members for Christ; and every day and everywhere we can feed the newborn believers and perfect the saints; and in any kind of church meeting we will be able to prophesy. We will not need any special preparation, because we will already have been well trained, disciplined, equipped, and furnished to speak the Lord forth to others. Every day we will know only one thing: to live Christ for His Body.
Begetting, nourishing, perfecting, and prophesying are not easy; therefore, we need to learn. At times we may fast, not letting others know, for the sake of our learning. We need to be desperate with the Lord. We all have been drugged by Christianity, thinking that it is all right for us to remain the same year after year, without learning and advancing in our function as members of the Body. When the Lord comes we will all stand before Him (Rom. 14:10b). He will ask us how many we begot, how many we fed, how many we perfected, and how much we prophesied. According to Matthew 25:14-30, all the Lord’s slaves who have received one, two, or five talents from Him will have to come before Him to answer to Him. We need to live Christ; we need to be genuinely for His recovery; and we need to mean business to build up the Lord’s Body. If we are like this, we will surely endeavor to carry out the four crucial items of the God-ordained way. However, if we continue in our present situation, we will delay the Lord and set up a poor pattern for the new ones.
We all need to see that God wants an organism and that this organism is produced and built up through our begetting, feeding, perfecting, and prophesying.
(The Practice of the Church Life according to the God-ordained Way, Chapter 13, by Witness Lee)