THE DIRECTION OF THE WORK—
FROM THE CENTER TO THE CIRCUMFERENCE
The gospel spread from Jerusalem to Samaria, and then to the ends of the earth. This is God’s way. If a man starts working from the ends of the earth, he is taking the wrong direction. We must work from the center to the circumference. At the same time, it would be equally wrong if all the believers were to remain in Jerusalem, for the intention of the Lord was that the gospel would be preached to the ends of the earth. For this reason, the Lord scattered the believers by raising up persecution in the environment. However, it was not wrong for the apostles to remain in Jerusalem. There should still be the apostles and the elders in Jerusalem, because Jerusalem was a center of testimony. In addition, Antioch was also a center of testimony. The problem today is that we do not have a Jerusalem, and we do not have an Antioch. All we have is simply local churches.
In the Bible, there was definitely a Jerusalem, and there was an Antioch. This is what needs to be recovered among us in these days. Our work today does not seem to have a Jerusalem. In 1937 we saw the ground of the church, but we did not see the light concerning Jerusalem. Nevertheless, we somehow felt then that the work should not belong to a locality. Thank God that He has led us on. What we have seen today is much more than what we saw then. We cannot change any part of God’s Word, and we cannot skip any part of His Word. We should never forget that in the Bible there is still a church in Jerusalem.
Because our light was not adequate in the past, we suffered losses. From now on, we must have a fresh start. If we do not do this, the work will belong to the local church again, and the Lord will have no way to go on among us.
Brother Witness Lee: Between 1940 and 1943, by the mercy of the Lord, we did quite a work there in Chefoo, Shantung. During those few years, many souls were saved, and many consecrated themselves. Of those brothers and sisters who were in Chefoo, ninety percent consecrated themselves. Later the migration started. Over one hundred people migrated to the northwest of China, and a few dozen migrated to Manchuria. With these migrating ones, their traveling expenses, ninety-five percent of them, were taken care of by the church. In the first three years after we began to have the testimony in Chefoo, about one hundred fifty brothers and sisters joined us in the breaking-of-bread meeting. This stirred up quite a lot of jealousy. Later the war started, and the Japanese began to persecute me. A dozen or more people in Christianity also began to join hands to attack me. The Japanese put me into prison for a month. After I was released from prison, I was not free from their hands. I was not the only one who was restricted; many other brothers and sisters also lost their freedom. At that time, the Lord prepared a way for me: I became ill and incurred tuberculosis of the lungs, and I had to rest for a year. During this period, I experienced many trials, and I was pressed on all sides. It was not until 1944 that I began to stand up to do a little speaking to the saints. I spent half of my life in Chefoo. In October of 1944, the Lord arranged for me to leave Chefoo to go to Tsingtao. At that time, I told the brothers and sisters that I had to go to take a rest. In this way, I left Chefoo, and I have never gone back.
(Messages Given During the Resumption of Watchman Nee's Ministry (2 volume set), Chapter 41, by Watchman Nee/Witness Lee)