THE CHURCH BEING ONE BODY
Now we may speak something concerning the one Body. When I was young, I heard the preaching of the fundamentalists, and I also read their books. They said that the New Testament employs many figures of speech to portray the church, such as a wife and a body. They also said that this does not mean that the church is actually a wife or a body but that the church is only likened to a wife or a body. At that time, I listened to what they said and felt that it was logical, but gradually I discovered in my experience that the church as a body is not merely a figure of speech; the church today is indeed the Body. The New Testament does not say that the church as a body is a figure of speech. Rather, it says that we who are many are one Body. We are one Body!
When I was young, I often listened to an old English missionary preaching his favorite sermon: Love one another. Sometimes he would even discontinue coming to the Lord’s table for a period of time because he felt that we were not loving one another and that we would have to love one another before we could break the bread. I heard the teaching of loving one another many times. But, brothers and sisters, today it is not simply a matter of loving one another. You must also know that we are members one of another. Let me use our body as an illustration. Suppose that the arms do not love the shoulders and the hands do not love the arms, or suppose that the arms regret being under the shoulders and the hands lament being under the arms. The Lord may say, “It is too late for regrets, because the hand is the hand and the arm is the arm. Whether you like it or not, you are what you are. It is not up to you; rather, it is according to My arrangement.”
I do not believe that there are two people on earth today who can love each other until eternity without ever at some time disliking each other. Even, which husband and wife who truly love each other can testify that he or she has never found the other unlovable? I can testify that in one day my feelings can change many times: at six in the morning I may feel my wife is lovable, while ten minutes later I may feel she is unlovable, but after fifteen minutes I will love her again. Thus, loving one another is not very reliable. The Bible speaks not only of loving one another but also of being members of one another. Those who love one another are members one of another; those who do not love one another are still members one of another. Even if they gnash their teeth, the fact remains that they are still members one of another; there is no alternative. According to the way of the worldly people, if a husband and wife do not love each other, they get a divorce, but the hand and the arm can never be divorced. Today we not only love one another; we are also members one of another.
We must see what the church is. The church is the Body, and there is only one Body. You need light and revelation to see that the church is the Body. On the earth today there is Christianity, but that is not the Body. There are those who love the Lord, but that is not the Body. There are those who are well-cultivated, but that is not the Body. There are those who pursue spirituality, but that is not the Body. What the Lord wants today is not your spirituality or your cultivation; He wants the Body. There is only one Body. Brothers and sisters, I can assure you that, unless there is a substantial expression of the Body, the Lord Jesus will never return. The Lord said, “I come quickly,” but He has not yet returned. Why? Because the Body is not here; because the Body has not yet been manifested on the earth.
THE BODY NEEDING TO BE EXPRESSED IN EACH LOCALITY
In conclusion, I am very happy to see many young working people in the Taipei district, and I would tell you that your responsibility is great. In addition, almost all the ones from Southeast Asia who have come to attend this conference and training are young people. This is a good sign, and I would like to say also to you that your responsibility is great. Since the gospel has been preached all over the earth today, it is hard to find a city that is without the gospel. There are thousands, tens of thousands, even millions of Christians on the earth, yet there is no Body. There are tens of thousands of Christians on the island of Taiwan, but with the exception of the small expression in the Lord’s recovery, you cannot see the Body among any group of Christians. You can talk to them about the Holy Father, the Holy Son, and the Holy Spirit, and they will understand you, but if you talk to them about the Spirit, they will not understand. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we must pray for the day to come when our eyes will be opened and we will know what the Spirit is and what the Body is. We must bear a testimony on the earth and in the universe that there is only one Body. One Body and one Spirit—we must bear this testimony. We should not testify only in a big city such as Taipei, but we should also go to testify this in the towns and small cities with a population of 10,000 or 20,000. One Body and one Spirit—how glorious this is!
I hope that one day on the island of Taiwan, there will be a lampstand in each of the three hundred sixty large and small cities and towns. Perhaps some localities will have only twenty, thirty, or fifty brothers and sisters, but every town and every city will have a golden lampstand bearing the same testimony—one Body and one Spirit. That will be splendid! That could be the day of the Lord’s coming.
I believe that today this testimony is on your shoulders, and you must bear this testimony as you return to your localities. You need to testify to this. You should not merely preach the gospel to get people saved; neither should you merely bring people to know life and understand the Bible. Rather, all of you must testify that there is one Body and one Spirit. We all live by this Spirit, and we all are the one Body.
(One Body, One Spirit, and One New Man, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)