THE NEW TESTAMENT WAY OF CHRISTIAN SERVICE
In giving us the revelation of the priesthood of the gospel of God, the raising up of the new believers, the perfecting of the saints, and prophesying, the Lord has given us a conclusion to our four and a half year study. I considered whether I could find any more verses in the New Testament concerning how to serve, how to meet, how to function, how to preach the gospel, etc. I believe that we have exhausted the revelation in the New Testament concerning the Christian way of service. We now have a conclusion to all the findings of the saints throughout the centuries. We must practice the New Testament priesthood of the gospel of God. The gospel of God regenerates sinners, making them the members of Christ for the building up of the Body of Christ. The gospel of God begins from the incarnation of the Triune God with the view of regenerating people and concludes with the New Jerusalem, which is the ultimate consummation of the building up of the Body of Christ. The gospel of God is not just telling people that they are sinners and that if they believe in Jesus, they will be saved and have peace and joy. This is only a small part of the gospel of God. The gospel of God is all-inclusive. As the New Testament priests, we are handling the gospel of God to save sinners, to raise them up, and to perfect them until they can prophesy.
Only two chapters in the New Testament tell us in a clear and definite way how the building up of the Body of Christ takes place—Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthians 14. Ephesians 4 refers to the perfecting of the saints unto the work of the New Testament ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ. First Corinthians 14 reveals that prophesying is for the building up of the church. Prophesying is excelling because it builds up the church. Speaking in tongues is not excelling because it does not build up the church. This means that if we do not perfect the saints to prophesy, we have not reached the level of building up the church. Strictly speaking, there has been very little building up among us because we are short of the perfecting of the saints and the prophesying. We may care for having a big congregation, but do we care for the building up of the Body of Christ? We may only have the thought of edifying some of the saints to build them up as Christians. We do not have much thought concerning the direct building up of the church as the organic Body of Christ. The perfecting of the saints and prophesying for the building up of the church are missing among us. The Lord desires to recover these items for the building up of His organic Body.
(Elders' Training, Book 09: The Eldership and the God-Ordained Way (1), Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)