THE AMOUNT OF GOD’S BUILDING DETERMINING THE EXTENT TO WHICH GOD’S PURPOSE IS FULFILLED
From our experience we can see clearly that wherever there is a group of Christians who allow God to build in them in an extensive way, immediately there are two conditions among them. God is manifested among them—God is with them, and God is expressed in many aspects of their living. Not only so, Satan is defeated, dealt with, thus having no ground in them. These two situations show us that God’s purpose has been fulfilled among them. On the contrary, if in a group of Christians there is the lack of God’s building, God’s mingling, then when you go into their midst, you will also sense two kinds of situations. On the one hand, the presence of God will be missing, and on the other hand, the activity of demons will be rampant.
Once I went to a certain place where there were several dozen brothers and sisters. They warmly welcomed me and provided me hospitality. But while they were taking care of me, they began to have different opinions. Some suggested giving me cold drinks, while several others suggested serving me hot meals. The two groups became unhappy with each other. As a result, although they received me warmly, I felt very uncomfortable in my spirit. I felt that Satan was there instead of God. Another time while I was visiting a certain place, some brothers and sisters came to speak with me privately. When they came to speak with me, they all made accusations against one another. One said that a certain brother was wrong, and another said that a certain sister was improper. When I touched that situation, I could not help but have a deep feeling that God was not with those brothers and sisters; instead, there were many demons among them. Because God’s building was altogether absent there, I could not see the image of God. I could only see the ruling of God’s enemy.
Wherever there are some who have experienced God’s building, who are one in God, who have been dealt with by the hand of God, and who have been constituted with God, then God is present and Satan is defeated in that place. In that place the gospel can be spread, and the saints can be edified. In John 17 the Lord Jesus said that when the believers are completely one in the Triune God, that is, when God and man have been built together, then the world will believe that the Lord has been sent by God (v. 21). If the children of God would really allow God to do this building work, then the gospel would be powerful, the saints would be edified, and Satan would lose his ground.
This was exactly the condition of the disciples on the day of Pentecost. On that day Peter and about one hundred and twenty brothers and sisters were mingled with God and one with God. They were also one with each other. They were there as the temple of God, the house of God. God dwelt in them, and they also dwelt in God. Therefore, when they stood up to speak, sinners were pricked in their hearts, and the hardened ones were softened. Three thousand and then another five thousand were saved. At that time, if you were to go in their midst, you would have felt that God was among them in an evident way and that the enemy, Satan, had no place at all. This is the result, as well as the goal, of God’s building.
Yet what a pity that today among the children of God you can easily see those who are zealous and those who are laboring, but you can rarely see those who allow God to build in them. Many love the Lord, and many are zealously laboring for the Lord, yet at the same time, they are also full of opinions, full of their disposition, and full of naturalness. They have not experienced God’s building. Therefore, God does not have much ground among them. All their activities are fleshly, and all their works are manipulations of Satan who is hidden in their self. Since this kind of zeal and labor is void of the building of God, it cannot fulfill God’s intention in its two aspects and has absolutely no way to accomplish God’s eternal purpose.
(The Building Work of God, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)