SETTLED ON THE GROUND OF THE UNIQUE ONENESS
We also need to see that the church has its definite ground—the ground of the unique oneness. This is the ground not merely of a particular kind of oneness but of the unique oneness. Today there are many different kinds of oneness. However, the genuine oneness is unique; all the other kinds of oneness are divisions. We need to have a clear vision concerning this.
I can say with full assurance that only when you are settled with regard to this unique ground of oneness will your Christian life be settled. If you are not settled regarding the ground of oneness, you will be continually wandering and changing your tune. Today you have one tune, but tomorrow your tune will change. You will not be settled and your tune will not be constant until you are settled regarding and settled on the ground of the unique oneness.
You need to see that the church is the desire of God’s heart, and you need to see that the church is practical and local. Then you need to see that among so many divisions and in the midst of so much confusion, there is the definite standing of the church, and this standing is the ground of the unique oneness. If you see these things, you will not care about how many others will come to this ground. You will realize that, as far as you are concerned, as long as you are on this ground, you are settled. You are like the Israelites who came back to Jerusalem and who became settled there. We need to see a vision of the church that will cause us to become settled on the ground of the unique oneness.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE VISION
OF THE CHURCH AND THE VISION OF THE BODY
After we have seen the vision of Christ and the vision of the church, we need to see the vision of the Body. You may be wondering what the difference is between the vision of the church and the vision of the Body. By the Lord’s mercy many of us have been brought to the ground of the church and are now practicing the church life on the proper ground. Although we have been brought to a realization of the ground of the unique oneness, we still need the realization of the Body. We need to see the vision that we are members of the Body and that we need to be built up together and related to one another. It is not sufficient just to be brought to a realization concerning the church ground, but on this definite ground we need to be built up as the Body. The three main portions of the New Testament which speak of the Body are Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4.
First, we need to see the vision of Christ; second, the vision of the church; and third, the vision of the Body. With respect to each of these visions, there is a particular hindrance.
The Substitutes of Christ
Formerly you did not see the vision of Christ, but now you see this vision. What kept you from seeing the vision of Christ before now? What hindered you, and what hinders others today, from seeing the vision of Christ? The answer is that people are hindered from seeing Christ by the various substitutes. Many things are substitutions for Christ, and these are the hindrance to seeing the vision of Christ.
The Unwillingness to Pay the Price
Some may say that divisions are what hinder them from seeing the vision of the church. To speak like this is to speak in a doctrinal way. I prefer to talk about this matter in an experiential way. People oppose the church, especially the ground of the church, because of the cost involved in coming to the church ground. Some claim that they cannot understand this matter of the ground of the church. Actually, they do understand it, but they are unwilling to pay the price to meet on the church ground. They may offer an excuse, saying, “I do not like to be so narrow. I love all the children of God, and I want to be broad-minded. I cannot understand this strange speaking about the ground of the church.” This sounds good, but it is actually a cloak that covers the unwillingness to pay the price. People talk like this because of the cost involved. The Lord knows and their conscience knows that they are not faithful to the Lord in the matter of the cost of practicing the church life on the proper ground.
We should not argue with such people. When people came to argue with Brother Nee, he would smile and say, “You can argue with me, but there is something within you that agrees with me.” Today people may argue with us about the ground of the church, but something within them takes sides with us regarding this. Their conscience knows that they are hindered by the cost, by the price. For more than thirty years we have seen people come and go. In each case they were frustrated by the cost.
(The Heavenly Vision, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)