XIV. THE PRACTICES OF THE LORD AND THE APOSTLE
A. The Lord’s Blending the Seven Churches
in Asia into One by Sending Them
One Total Epistle Respectively and Collectively
with the Whole Book of Revelation
The Lord blended the seven churches in Asia into one by sending them one total epistle respectively and collectively with the whole book of Revelation (Rev. 1:4, 11; 2:1—3:22). On the one hand, the Lord wrote each church an epistle, and on the other hand, He put all seven epistles together as one total epistle and sent it to each one of the seven churches. Eventually, all seven churches received the same thing. The book of Revelation shows that there should be only one church in one city. It also reveals that all the churches collectively should also be one. This should give us a clear view that in the eyes of the Lord the churches are one. The Lord has only one Body. In order for the churches to exist on this globe we have to be scattered, but our being scattered should not be a basic factor that causes us to be separated as divided. If it were possible, it would be better for us all to come together and not be scattered.
In the past, some saints among us traveled from locality to locality, from church to church, trying to find a church that would match their preference and taste. This kind of attitude is offensive. It offends the Body of Christ. We should not put any demands on the church where we are. We have to humble ourselves and submit ourselves to the church where we are. Furthermore, we must try our best to avoid any discord. A little leaven leavens the whole lump (1 Cor. 5:6-7). We must therefore be on the alert. Locally, we must be in one accord, without any opinion, and we must also keep the oneness in the universal Body.
B. The Apostle Paul’s Blending the Two Churches in Colossae and Laodicea as One
by Sending Them Epistles in Common
The apostle Paul blended the two churches in Colossae and Laodicea together as one by sending them epistles in common (Col. 4:16). He wrote a letter to the church in Colossae and charged them to let the church in Laodicea read it. He also wrote a letter to Laodicea and asked Laodicea to let Colossae read it. Instead of having this practice, we may like to keep things secret in our locality, but Paul practiced differently. He wanted his letter to the church in Colossae to be read by the church in Laodicea and his letter to the church in Laodicea to be read by the church in Colossae.
C. The Apostle Paul’s Practice of the Fellowship of the Body among the Churches in His Greetings
The apostle Paul practiced the fellowship of the Body among the churches in his greetings (Rom. 16:1-16, 20-24). Romans 16 is a sweet chapter, consisting mostly of recommendations and greetings. It speaks not only of the concern among the saints but also of the fellowship among the churches (vv. 1, 4-5, 16, 23). Without Paul’s greetings, we would not know of the church in Cenchrea, or of Sister Phoebe, who was a patroness of many and a deaconess of the church there. Because of Paul’s greetings, we are able to know so much more about the churches. Romans 16 shows us Paul’s fellowship of the Body among the churches and the practical living of the Body of Christ in different localities.
(One Body and One Spirit, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)