New Believers Series: Seeking God's Will #17, by Watchman Nee


God’s will is revealed through His Word, man’s spirit, and the environment. God’s will is also revealed through the church. In seeking God’s will concerning a certain matter, you should be clear about the Spirit’s leading, the Scripture’s teaching, and the environment’s provision. As much as it is possible, you should also fellowship with those who know God in the church to see whether they will say amen to your guidance. This will give you additional confirmation concerning God’s will. These ones know God’s Word more, their flesh has been dealt with somewhat, and they are under the direction of the Spirit. Their spiritual condition allows God to speak His heart more freely through them. They will consider your condition in the church, and they will sense whether or not they can say amen to what you have seen. If they can say amen, you can be sure that what you have is God’s will. If they cannot say amen to it, it is better for you to wait and seek more guidance. As individuals, we are limited. An individual’s personal feeling, understanding of the Scripture, and knowledge of the environment may be wrong; they may not be that accurate. The church is much more reliable in this respect. If the other members of the church think that the "guidance" you have is not reliable, you should not insist on your opinion. Do not think that your "guidance" is always reliable. In such cases we should learn to be humble.

Matthew 18 speaks of the principle of the church. If a brother sins against another brother, the offended one should speak to the offending one while they are alone with each other. If the offending party does not want to listen, the offended party should take with him one or two more. By the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word may be established. If the offending party still refuses to listen, the matter should be told to the church. In the end the offending one has to hear the church. We have to accept the feeling of the church. The Lord Jesus says, "Whatever you bind on the earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on the earth shall have been loosed in heaven" (v. 18). Because the church is God’s habitation and the beacon of God’s light, we need to believe that God’s will is revealed in the church. We should humble ourselves and should be afraid of our own judgment. This is why we need to fellowship with the church and receive the supply of the Body.

The church has a heavy responsibility before God. It has to act as God’s light. If the church is careless or if it does things loosely according to the flesh, it will be impossible to have such a thing as the confirmation of the church. The church can render an accurate and divine confirmation because it has become the mouthpiece of the Holy Spirit. The church must be spiritual, and it must allow the Spirit to preside over it before it can be used by the Spirit to be God’s mouthpiece. The confirmation of the church does not mean a discussion among all the brothers and sisters in the church together. It means the speaking of a group of people who know God and who are being led by the Spirit. For this reason, the elders taking responsibility in the church, as well as those given to the Lord’s work, must have a certain amount of knowledge of spiritual things. Their flesh must be dealt with to a certain extent. They must be watchful at all times and have unceasing fellowship with the Lord. They must be full of God’s presence and must live under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Only then can there be accurate judgment, and only then will the Spirit give accurate confirmation through them.

Some people may quote Galatians 1:16-17, which says that when Paul received a revelation, he did not confer with flesh and blood, neither did he go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before him. They think that it is sufficient for them to be clear by themselves and that there is no need to fellowship with the church. No doubt a person with a clear revelation like Paul can be truly confident of what he sees. But have you received the revelation the way Paul received his? Even Paul received the Lord’s help and supply through other brothers. He saw the great light on the way to Damascus, fell to the ground, and heard what the Lord said to him alone: "Rise up and enter into the city, and it will be told to you what you must do." He received the laying on of hands from an obscure brother named Ananias, and he also received the laying on of hands and the commissioning from co-workers in the church in Antioch (Acts 9:3-6, 12; 13:1-3). The words he spoke in Galatians 1 were to prove that the gospel announced by him was not according to man, but that he had "received it through a revelation by Jesus Christ" (vv. 11-12). There is no flavor of self-exaltation in such words. We should be humble and not intractable. We must not think highly of ourselves. The fact is that we are too far behind Paul to compare ourselves to him! Because we are the party involved, we are clouded by our own interests and subjectivity when we seek God’s will. It is difficult for us to see things clearly. This is where the church comes in; it can supply us and render us much help. This is why we should seek confirmation from the church when we are in need.

(New Believers Series: Seeking God's Will #17, Chapter 1, by Watchman Nee)