THE PRACTICAL CHURCH LIFE
Up to the first part of this century the Lord used many different saints to recover numerous items for His recovery. Nearly all of the items that needed to be recovered have been recovered. Now, the Lord’s intention is to put all of the items of His recovery together to build up the local lampstands. The Lord’s recovery today is simply the building up of the local lampstands, or in other words, the real practice of the church life. This is so practical. Nearly all of the spiritual things have been recovered, and today the Lord is seeking the real practice of the church life. It is not simply some teaching, revelation, vision, theory, or principle of the Body that the Lord is seeking, but a real, solid practice of the church life. This is the real building up.
Many of us can testify that until we came to the practical church life, we were never satisfied. The day we came to the church, we realized we were home. We were home because the Lord in us was home. But simply to come to the church is not enough. We must be built up. At first the church life is so sweet to us, and we have a real honeymoon. But a honeymoon cannot last forever. Sooner or later we may begin to have some problems with the brothers and sisters. How good it was to get into the church life, but gradually, the dear ones become not so dear to us. We know that we should love them, but it is so hard to love them. This exposes our real need of building up.
If a group of brothers are living together in the brothers’ house, it is so sweet at the beginning. Everyone quotes Psalm 133: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” But after a while dwelling together is not so sweet. Then what shall we do? At this point some leave. They simply cannot take it any longer. This is because they do not have the building up, and they do not want the building up.
THE MAIN LESSON
The main lesson I have learned in all these years is the building up. Many people are seeking to be holy and spiritual, but without being built up they are still short of the Lord’s goal. Though some may be holy and spiritual, without the building they are still unable to fulfill God’s consummate purpose. If holiness and spirituality are not for the building up of the local church, they are still short of God’s purpose. God’s purpose is the building, and this can be proved by the end of Revelation. All God’s work throughout the centuries and the generations is for the building up of the New Jerusalem. What comes forth at the end of the Bible is not a group of spiritual persons or holy people, but a built-up city. This is all God cares for. He does not care merely for our being holy. He does not care merely for our being spiritual. The only thing He eventually cares for is the building. If you are not in the building, you are missing the mark.
In God’s eyes, there is nothing in every locality but a lampstand. All the spiritual persons must lose their identity to be built up into the lampstand. All the lessons in the brothers’ houses are for the building. All experiences are for the building. Anything that is not for the building is not of much worth. Even salvation is for the building. When Peter was brought to the Lord, he was given a new name indicating that he was to be a stone in God’s building. The Lord saved Peter so that he could be built up in His church.
SHAMING THE ENEMY
By the Lord’s mercy, we are not here simply to be Christians or to have good meetings. We are not here for anything but the building. God needs a building in Los Angeles, and He needs a building in your city. Nothing shames the enemy as much as the building. As long as we are built up together, the enemy is put to shame. The enemy has been boasting much to the Lord throughout the centuries concerning the divisive situation of Christianity. But I believe the Lord is telling him now, “Satan, wait for a little while and you will see a building in Los Angeles and in so many other cities!”
(Life and Building as Portrayed in the Song of Songs, Chapter 16, by Witness Lee)