RECOVERING ALL BELIEVERS TO PROPHESY
Not only do we need to be perfected, but we need to go on to practice prophesying also. By this, all the believers will be able to speak for the Lord. They will not be speaking their own words, but they will learn to speak forth the Lord and to deposit the riches of Christ into others. When these riches are experienced by man, they will become Christ’s fullness. This is the reality and the content of the church life. Today, this situation is generally lacking among the saints. In their meetings, for the most part they depend on one person to speak. This is not rich enough. Suppose all the brothers and sisters could prophesy, and all could present some riches. This would be like a love feast in the church, where everyone brings a dish. When everyone brings something, the love feast will surely be rich.
Hence, according to the Bible, the way to meet today is for everyone to speak. Not only should the brothers speak, but the sisters should speak as well. No one should come empty-handed. Everyone should supply Christ to others. This is the way for the church to be built up. If everyone comes empty-handed, the result will be a return to the old way, where one pastor is hired to speak to everyone. That kind of meeting week after week and year after year does not have much value to it.
For this reason, today there is the need to recover not only Ephesians 4, but 1 Corinthians 14 as well. During the past two thousand years, not many people have paid attention to these two passages. But this time when we studied them specifically, the Lord opened them up to us and showed us that if we really want to build up the church, we cannot depend on one speaker any longer. First, everyone has to practice Ephesians 4, perfecting the saints one by one in the home meetings and the group meetings. Next, in the meetings every saint should prophesy. They should all speak for the Lord and should all speak forth the Lord. In other words, everyone should exhibit the riches of Christ. Only then will the church be built up.
Prophesying Being the Most Excelling Gift
Paul revealed to us in 1 Corinthians 14 that prophesying is the most excelling gift. All other gifts are secondary. Since to prophesy is to speak for the Lord and to speak the Lord into others, this gift is necessarily the highest and the most excelling one. The gift of tongues is the lowest of all gifts, because it does not build up the church. It is prophesying that will build up the church. At the same time, if we pursue after prophesying, we ourselves will also excel. This is why Paul exhorted us in 1 Corinthians 14:1 to desire prophesying. At the end of the chapter in verse 39, he said again: “So then, my brothers, desire earnestly the prophesying.”
Prophesying Being to Speak to Men Building Up, Encouragement, and Consolation for the Building Up of the Church
When we speak to men building up, encouragement, and consolation, we are speaking the riches of Christ. When everyone speaks these things, the church will be built.
Every Believer Can and Should Prophesy
If everyone prophesies one by one in the meeting, and an unbeliever comes to the meeting, he will be convicted by all and judged by all. The secrets of his heart will become manifest, and he will be able to humble himself before God (1 Cor. 14:24-25). Hence, in this kind of prophesying, everybody learns, and everybody can be encouraged (v. 31). In short, all the riches of Christ are released through the prophesying of every member of Christ. Some prophecies are for building up, and others are for encouragement or for consolation. Still others are for conviction, for judgment, and for the manifesting of the secrets of the heart. In the end, all will learn and all will be encouraged. The result is that all will be supplied and the church will be built up.
First Corinthians 14:26 says, “What then, brothers? Whenever you come together, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation.” This reveals to us that whenever we meet, everyone should “have’’ something. Whatever each one has, he has to release it by his speaking. According to Ephesians 5, even our hymns are primarily not for singing, but for speaking. Verse 19 says: “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and psalming with your heart to the Lord.’’ We should treat the hymns in a very living way. Strictly speaking, while we are speaking to one another, there is much possibility that we will be prophesying. In addition, teaching and revelation are also prophesying. In the church meetings, if we can prophesy, we will be able to build up one another mutually.
(The Riches and Fullness of Christ and the Advanced Recovery of the Lord Today, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)