Elders' Training, Book 04: Other Crucial Matters Concerning the Practice of the Lord's Recovery, by Witness Lee


God’s holy Word is rich and profound. We need further discoveries and further visions in seeking the truths contained in the holy Scriptures. I would like to share with you one of my further discoveries as follows.

When Brother Nee asked me to stay for a few months in Shanghai to begin the work with him, I did. While I was staying there, Brother Nee did a number of things to put me on the test to find out where I was, what I was, and how much I could do. One of the tests involved a special gospel meeting which the church in Shanghai made a decision to have. I was happy about this decision because I wanted to hear Brother Nee’s preaching of the gospel. At that time, I was staying above the meeting hall, and on the evening of the gospel meeting I was looking forward to listening to his preaching. About less than half an hour before dinner time, a brother knocked on my door and handed me a note from Brother Nee. The note said, “Witness, please give the message tonight for the gospel preaching.” I had no thought or idea that I was going to be asked to speak, and the meeting would be shortly after dinner. Brother Nee did not let me know that he wanted me to preach until the last minute. I had no idea what the Lord wanted me to speak. Eventually, a burden rose up within me to preach on John 16:8-11. These verses tell us that when the Spirit comes, “He will convict the world concerning sin, and concerning righteousness, and concerning judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer behold Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.” WhWhen this burden came to me I was happy and I was strengthened. I became bold.

I told the people that evening that sin is related to Adam (Rom. 5:12). We were born of sin in Adam and as long as we remain in Adam we are sinful. Righteousness is related to the resurrected Christ. In verse 10 the Lord says that the Spirit convicts the world concerning righteousness because He goes to the Father. This points to His resurrection and ascension and indicates that redemption has fully been accomplished. Therefore, if we believe in Him, He is righteousness to us (1 Cor. 1:30), and we are justified in Him (Rom. 3:24; 4:25). If we believe in Him, we will be transferred out of Adam under the sinful condition into Christ on a righteous standing. The Spirit convicting the world concerning judgment refers to Satan. Satan has been judged and will be eternally judged. If we do not repent of the sin in Adam and believe in Christ, the Son of God, we will remain in sin and share the judgment of Satan for eternity (Matt. 25:41). Therefore, sin, righteousness, and judgment actually refer to three persons—Adam, Christ, and Satan. These are the main points of the gospel. The Spirit convicts the world with these points. We were born into Adam, and we have to believe into Christ to be transferred out of Adam and into Christ. If we do not, we will have a part with Satan in bearing his eternal judgment.

When I stood up to speak and looked around I noticed that Brother Nee was not there. Quite a time later he and I were taking a walk together. He told me that while I was preaching that evening on John 16, he was standing outside a door close to where I was standing. Only a door separated him from me. He told me that he had been listening to my message. He also told me that in China not many Christian teachers knew the Bible in this way, and he encouraged me to go on to bear the burden to preach and to teach the truth. It was really a further discovery and a further vision to me that in John 16 sin, righteousness, and judgment refer to Adam, Christ, and Satan. This took place in 1934.

(Elders' Training, Book 04: Other Crucial Matters Concerning the Practice of the Lord's Recovery, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)