The Building Work of God, by Witness Lee

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Second, if the church is built up, it will have the throne of God, the ruling of God. In the New Jerusalem there is the throne of God. This throne is not only a matter of God’s presence but also a matter of God’s ruling. In this building there is the presence of God, and there is also the dominion of God. Because the throne of God is established, God can exercise His authority. If we want to know whether a certain church is being built up, we need to see whether there is God’s throne and God’s dominion among them.

Sometimes when you go to a certain place and meet some brothers and sisters there, you can sense that among them there is not the throne of God but the throne of man. When you attend their service meeting, you notice they speak as if they are sitting on a throne. Whoever speaks is on the throne. Before one finishes speaking, another one speaks over him. He seems to be saying, “Come down from the throne now and let me get up onto it.” Although he does not say this plainly, this is the impression he gives by his attitude and demeanor. After this one finishes, another sister would say, “Brother So-and-so, what you have said is not correct.” While she speaks, her voice may sound very gentle, but the impression is the same: “Come down from the throne.” This is not my imagination. Many times while I was sitting together with God’s children, I saw this kind of situation. This means that the throne of God, the dominion of God, is not there. Rather, everyone is sitting on his own throne. Please remember that once there is such a situation, the presence of the Holy Spirit is definitely not there. This proves that in such a place God’s children have not yet been built up.

Although there are numerous Christian groups today, where is the throne of God? In many places you cannot see any building. On the contrary, everywhere you see human skills and organization. People use all kinds of ways to facilitate communication among church members and to win believers over. We have to admit that this kind of communication and winning-over is not building; instead, it is man’s organizing work. Therefore, there is no presence of God, and even more there is no throne of God. I hope that we all will remember that wherever we are, if we also depend on these ways of facilitating communication and winning people over, then the building of God no longer will be among us. The church cannot depend on these ways; the church has to be built up in God.

In the New Jerusalem God Himself is the temple, and the throne of God is there. Therefore, if we want to know whether a certain church has been built up, we have to see whether the presence of God, the throne of God, and the dominion of God are among them. This is the condition of a built up church. Let me tell you a real story. A brother once gave me his testimony. He said, “Brother Lee, I was saved two or three years ago, and I was meeting with the brothers in the church. However, when the brothers came together, they were very cold. This was especially the case with the responsible brothers. They did not greet people before the meeting, neither did they go to the door to shake hands with people after the meeting. Therefore, I was unhappy inwardly. At that time a certain pastor came to visit me. He was very warm toward me and showed great concern for me. This really touched me. Hence, I decided to go to his place for Sunday worship. When I went, as soon as I reached the entrance to the chapel, the pastor came forward to greet me and to shake hands with me. After the service the pastor went quickly to the door and shook hands with every attendant. I really felt that this was very good. Therefore, I decided to go there regularly. But one thing was very strange. After I went to this place for a period of time, although I did not know why, I felt that I had lost God’s presence within me. Although I felt very comfortable outwardly, inwardly I felt as if I had lost something. Therefore, subsequently I went back to be among the brothers. Strangely, when I went back, the presence of God which I had lost was recovered immediately. Another amazing thing is that when I am in any other Christian gathering, it seems that I can speak things loosely, but when I am with the brothers, although they do not prohibit me from doing so, there is something within me that restrains me and does not allow me to utter anything loosely.”

This shows us the experience of God’s presence and of God’s ruling. Therefore, to determine whether or not a church has been built up, we should not look at whether they have communication and warmth among them; instead, we should see whether or not they have God’s presence and God’s throne among them.

(The Building Work of God, Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)