THE NEED TODAY
A. Committing Oneself to the Body
I see clearly that with our present condition, we need a second salvation. This is a great matter. The term "handing over" is only our borrowed term. I do not wish that it be taken by others and used as a standard terminology. Originally, man was rebellious, individual, and unwilling to hand himself over. Now through the work of the Lord, he is willing to drop everything and to hand himself over voluntarily. Today, if a man wants to hand himself over willingly, he has to do it; and if he does not want to hand himself over, he nevertheless has to do it. Some may think that they cannot hand themselves over, but they should go ahead and try it. Once a sacrifice is on the altar, the altar will sanctify the sacrifice. This is like some people saying that they cannot believe and that they have too many questions. But once they decide to believe, all their questions are solved. A person can believe even though he has many doubts and questions. As long as a person is willing, God can work on him. If a man thinks that he cannot hand himself over, all he has to do is to place himself in the church. The church will help him to become able. If one individual has some problem, he can ask for help from the church; a few others can come along to help him to hand himself over. Today, as long as man makes a little move, God will move along with him. The handing over that we speak of today is not an individual handing over, but a handing over that is done in fellowship. Such handing over is a kind of committing of ourselves. It may seem that a person is only putting himself on the altar on a trial basis, and it may seem that God is only accepting such a one on a trial basis. Actually, whether or not a man considers his move a trial effort, God takes it up seriously. He takes up those who do it whole-heartedly, and He also takes up those who do it half-heartedly. Today, when we hand ourselves over, we are committing ourselves to the Body. The Body is our greatest protection. In the coming days, we shall see that those who do not live in the Body will suffer great loss. The supply of the ministry is in the Body. Once we are separated from the Body, we are cut off from the supply of the ministry.
B. Realizing the Supply of the Body
The book of Acts indicates that when Paul was in Athens, he was provoked in his spirit and was ill at ease (Acts 17:16). Yet when Timothy joined him in Corinth, he immediately received the supply (Acts 18:5). This is like a certain brother passing by your locality, or a new one joining your meeting. Immediately, you can feel the supply. Sometimes, when a few brothers visit a locality, supply follows them wherever they go. The brothers may not even need to say anything. All they have to do is to sit there, and the supply is there. Many times, as long as there is the proper audience, a speaker will be able to release his burden. The thing that causes the most suffering is for a person to come with a burden and to go home with the same burden on him.
Since we are a Body, we affect one another. However, we are not very clear how we affect one another. Sometimes we feel that our fellowship with the Lord is particularly intimate. At other times, we have some inexplicable feelings. The reason for these phenomena is that there exists a supply in the Body. With the Body life there is a supply. This supply is a reality. However, we do not know how this supply affects the members. In the Body, we should not be a brother or sister who consumes others’ supply; we should have a clear realization of the Body. All our failures and weakenings today are due to the fact that we behave as individual Christians. There are some things that we cannot explain very clearly today. In the days ahead, perhaps there will be the opportunity for us to speak about them in a clearer and more precise way.
During the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, many Christians were martyred. At the same time that this was going on, many churches around the world had the feeling that something was happening. Many people were depressed in their spirit for many days, and they felt the need for prayer. This feeling was not something that came from the physical eyes or the ears. It was a feeling of the Body. Who can say that the faithful martyrs were not supplied during those hours by the effect of these prayers? Miss Barber was in England at that time, and she was oppressed in her spirit. She felt the need to pray. Soon after that, she found out what had happened.
Whenever one part of our body becomes sick, the other parts of the body will come to the sick member’s aid and will try to deal with the sickness. In the same way, there is a supply in the Body of Christ. The Body life is not a term, but a reality. Many people think that the church is only a mysterious and abstract Body. They do not realize that this Body is a reality.
First Corinthians 11:29 mentions the discerning of "the body." The Body denotes two things: the Lord’s Body, and the Body of Christ. Here it only mentions the body, without making reference to either the Lord’s Body or the Body of Christ. Therefore, on the one hand, it refers to the Lord’s Body, whereas, on the other hand, to the Body of Christ. Within this Body, there are the riches of the Lord, and there are the riches of Christ. Every Christian can receive the benefits of the Holy Spirit and of the Lord’s grace in this Body. The greatest lack among Christians today is the supply of the Body. May the Lord open our eyes to see this Body and to realize the supply in this Body.
(Messages Given During the Resumption of Watchman Nee's Ministry (2 volume set), Chapter 44, by Watchman Nee/Witness Lee)