THE CHURCH BEING BUILT
UPON THE UNIVERSAL PRIESTHOOD
First Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 show us that in God’s arrangement or plan, there is no such thing as one pastor monopolizing the service of the whole Body. Neither is there such a thing as one group of brothers and sisters serving while another group of brothers and sisters is being served. What we see in the Bible is the whole Body being a priesthood. The whole church are priests. God’s intention was for all the Israelites to be a kingdom of priests. But in actuality, not everyone was a priest. The situation among the local churches today is a little bit better than this. The brothers and sisters have the liberty to pray, to sing, to preach, and to take up responsibilities. But we have to realize that this is still not the church. The church is built upon the universal priesthood of the whole Body. The church is not built upon a few brothers and sisters. Once the priesthood is not universal, we have Roman Catholicism. Once the priesthood is universal, we have the church. We have to see that service to God is not a question of three or five people serving, or thirty or fifty people serving. Our service to God today must be entirely different. In order to serve God today, everyone has to rise up to do the work.
NOT THE SERVICE OF THE MINISTERS,
BUT THE SERVICE OF THE CHURCH
This time while we were in Foochow, we noted the fact that in the past century, God raised up many spiritual giants, and all of them were outstanding people. From 1820 until now, many spiritual giants were raised up. Yet strangely, among us today we see very few spiritual giants. It seems as if the spiritual giants are all gone. Today, we see the work of gospel preaching being done not through the so-called great evangelists, men like Charles Finney and Stanley. It is not easy to find giants like these anymore. It seems that God is taking a different way today. Today is the day of the service of the church, and not the service of the ministers. It is no longer a matter of individuals preaching the gospel, but a matter of the church preaching the gospel. Previously, we had to invite famous and eloquent speakers to come to preach the gospel, and we had to conduct much propaganda. But today, it is the church coordinating together to preach the gospel.
NOT THE INDIVIDUALS PREACHING THE GOSPEL,
BUT THE CHURCH PREACHING THE GOSPEL
Take the case of Foochow as an example. This time when the brothers were preaching the gospel, we had some brothers giving messages on the platform. But there were no advertisements and no famous speakers. One brother who had been saved for only two or three years was doing the preaching, and all the other brothers and sisters went out to invite friends. Twenty to fifty brothers and sisters could bring in four or five hundred people, and four or five hundred people could bring in a few thousand. Before the speaker stood up, two or three hundred people were saved already. Those brothers and sisters who brought their friends along with them knew if their friends sitting next to them were saved or not. The speaker on the platform could be deceived, but the brothers and sisters were clear about the condition of their friends. They could say that this one who stood up was genuine, and that one who stood up was not genuine. After the meeting, they helped the gospel friends to become more clear concerning the gospel. They helped them to write down their names, to show them the direction to the meeting halls, and to visit those who have expressed their willingness to believe in the Lord.
This time in Foochow, within one month, we had almost a thousand people saved. Today, some people are still opposing, and this is why our work is still not that strong. I believe, if there is no frustration, the whole Foochow can be taken over by us. Today, the church is not a few special brothers rising up to preach the gospel; it is the whole church rising up to preach the gospel.
(Messages Given During the Resumption of Watchman Nee's Ministry (2 volume set), Chapter 64, by Watchman Nee/Witness Lee)