THE ONE STREET OF LIFE
The New Jerusalem faces four directions—north, south, east, and west. This city has twelve gates, three in each direction (Rev. 21:13), and only one street, the street of life. It does not matter from which direction you came or through which gate you entered into the city. Once you are in the New Jerusalem, you will find yourself on the street of life. There are no streets of doctrine, of formalism, of gifts, or of tongues. There is one unique street—the street of life. The essence of this street is life. On this street can be found the water of life, the river of life, and the tree of life (Rev. 22:1-2). Whatever proceeds along this street is related to life. You may have entered this city through the gate of formalism or fundamentalism or Pentecostalism, but once you are truly in the New Jerusalem, you will be on the street of life. There is no other street.
If the local churches have any streets other than life, we will lose the nature of the local church, and there will be divisions. If we fail to emphasize life, we will repeat the history of Christianity, which is a story of divisions and of many streets. The Presbyterians travel the Presbyterian street; the Baptists travel the Baptist street; the Pentecostals travel the way of speaking in tongues. We must take the way of life. It does not depend on what we say; it depends on what we are. For the sake of the Lord’s recovery we must see the importance of life. We are not against any positive item in the Bible, but we desire that all the Lord’s dear ones will go further and pursue the growth in life. We need to advance in growth and transformation. Let us go on to be a stone, precious, transparent, and built with others. By this, God will have His kingdom. The kingdom is the building up of the transformed saints. The more we grow, the more we will be transformed, built up, and have the reality of the kingdom.
In Matthew 21, the Jewish people were trying their best to find fault with the Lord Jesus, to condemn Him, and to cause Him to make a mistake. These religious people were apparently so scriptural, trying to do everything according to the Bible, but the Lord Jesus asked them, "Have you never read the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, this has become the cornerstone..?" (21:42). Within the Lord’s heart was the thought that both He and His disciples were pieces of stone for the building. The disciples were stones, and the Lord Jesus Himself was the cornerstone. Although the Lord Jesus is the Savior and the Redeemer, when He faced those religious ones who were arguing with Him, He told them that He was the cornerstone for God’s building. He was telling them that the Person whom they had rejected is the cornerstone for God’s building. Peter remembered this and when the religious leaders were persecuting him, he quoted the same verse from the Psalms (Acts 4:11; Psa. 118:22). Acts 4:12 is frequently quoted by Christians, but few of them also quote verse 11 concerning the building. Today most Christians care only for their salvation; they do not care for God’s building. In the Lord’s recovery we must pay our full attention to God’s building. As long as we are in this building we are saved. Some Christians like to talk about eternal security. The real security, however, is to be built into God’s building. If we are built into this building, we will be secure. Others are concerned with holiness. If we are truly built into God’s building, we will be separated and sanctified. Other people are troubled about their lack of patience and their temper. If we would be built into the local churches, our temper will be terminated and we will have the patience we need. First is Acts 4:11 concerning the building, followed by Acts 4:12 concerning salvation. If we are built into God’s building, we are surely saved. The Lord Jesus is not only the Redeemer; He is also the cornerstone for God’s building. This is the Lord’s building in Matthew. Christ is the cornerstone and His disciples are the living stones for the building of God.
(The Kingdom, Chapter 14, by Witness Lee)