THE ORGANIC RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE CHURCHES AND THE WORK
Question: Could you share something concerning the organic relationship between the churches and the work?
Answer: In every age since the time of Abel, the son of Adam, God has done some work. God has never been silent. He has always done something in every age. Actually, the age is designated by God’s work. God carries out His work by speaking. In every age God works by His speaking. For His speaking, His divine oracle, He always uses a speaker. At Moses’ time, Moses was the speaker. At David’s time, David was the speaker. At Paul’s time, Paul was the speaker. The speaker used by God does God’s work by speaking, by the releasing of God’s word. Surely this speaking, the oracle of God, will result in something.
Today we are in the twentieth century. God is surely working in this century. What is the work of God in the twentieth century? In the twentieth century, God is doing the work of His recovery, and His recovery is to build up the Body of Christ. If this is not the work of God today, what is? Surely God does not want to establish and strengthen the Catholic Church and all the denominations. What is God doing today? He is recovering the organic building up of the Body of Christ by the speaking of His ministry.
The speaking one surely wants the result of his work to cooperate with him to carry out God’s work. Let us say that a brother preaches the gospel and some are saved. Would he not expect that these saved ones would cooperate with him to extend the work of the gospel? Is this not needed? Then this brother may go further to establish all these saved ones as a church through his speaking. Would he not expect that this church would cooperate with him to carry on this work? Paul told the Corinthians that he and his co-workers did not extend themselves beyond their bounds. But he expected that as he and his co-workers worked with them, they would grow, and through their growth, Paul could extend his work. In order to see this, let us read what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 10:12-16:
For we do not dare to class or compare ourselves with any of those who commend themselves; but they, measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves with themselves, are without understanding. But we will not boast beyond our measure but according to the measure of the rule which the God of measure has apportioned to us, to reach even as far as you. For we are not extending ourselves beyond our bounds, as if we did not reach you, for we were the first to come even as far as unto you in the gospel of Christ. We are not boasting beyond our measure in others’ labors, but have the hope, as your faith is increasing, to be magnified in you according to our rule unto abundance, so that we may announce the gospel unto those parts beyond you, not so that we may boast in another man’s rule in things already prepared.
The apostle Paul expected that what he preached to the church in Corinth would cause them to grow. Then through their growth, Paul’s work would extend (see 2 Corinthians 10:15 and note 1—Recovery Version). In other words, the work establishes the churches, and the churches cooperate with the work for its furtherance. This is organic, and it is logical and normal.
(Elders' Training, Book 09: The Eldership and the God-Ordained Way (1), Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)