PRACTICING THE GOD-ORDAINED WAY
We need to have a willing spirit and be filled with the Spirit of God in order to practice the God-ordained way to meet and to serve. In the past in the recovery, we paid attention to many crucial things, but we did not pay attention to the New Testament way to meet and to serve. Brother Nee found out by his study of the New Testament that prophesying by all the attendants of the meetings according to 1 Corinthians 14 should be recovered. But at the time that Brother Nee saw this, we did not have a way to practice it.
In 1984 I sacrificed a number of things regarding the work in the United States in order to find out the way to meet and to serve according to the New Testament. The first three years, from 1984 to 1987, were years of investigating because we were not that clear concerning the practice of the new way. Thus, there was much experimentation and many changes. But today the steps of the new way have been clearly defined. From 1988 until today, the churches have become very clear about the new way, and they have welcomed it. However, to welcome the new way is one thing, but to practice it is another thing.
The first step in the practice of the new way is to gain sinners for Christ. This is the step of begetting. To beget new believers fulfills our service as priests serving in the priesthood of the gospel (Rom. 15:16). If we do not beget sinners to become believers, we are not exercising our priesthood. In the New Testament priesthood of the gospel, the first item is to "tell out the virtues of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Pet. 2:9). Our goal is to bring sinners out of their darkness into His marvelous light. Once they are saved, they become members of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13), children of light (Eph. 5:8), and living stones (1 Pet. 2:5).
The second step in the practice of the new way is to feed the new ones. By feeding the young ones, we raise them up. The third step is to perfect the new ones in the group meetings. In the group meetings, the saints have fellowship, intercession, mutual care, and mutual shepherding. In the group meetings, the Body of Christ is built up directly by all the perfected members, not just by the gifted persons. This is the fulfillment of Ephesians 4:11-16.
The fourth step is to build up all the saints to prophesy. We must train all the saints not only to function as apostles sent by God to bring His good news to others, but also to function as prophets to teach others by prophesying. It is not sufficient to prophesy only on the Lord’s Day morning in the church meetings. We must prophesy all day long and in every place. To prophesy is to speak for the Lord. It is not mainly a matter of predicting. We must speak for God to our fathers, mothers, uncles, cousins, in-laws, neighbors, classmates, and colleagues. We all should endeavor to prophesy, to speak for the Lord, to all kinds of people.
(The Triune God to Be Life to the Tripartite Man, Chapter 14, by Witness Lee)