THE RAISING UP OF THE LORD’S RECOVERY
I must point out to you that today both Christianity and Catholicism have become greatly deformed. The reason is that some use the name of Christ, but they put Christ aside. This is a counterfeit. Many things that are not of God are mixed in. The result is something half true and half false. Because of this, the Lord raised up His recovery among us. In 1922 He began His work of recovery in the Far East; and then it proceeded to Taiwan, to Southeast Asia, to East Asia, to the United States, and now it has spread to the six continents of the whole world. You who are present here have also received the Lord’s mercy and have come into the Lord’s recovery. I hope you realize that you should not compare the Lord’s recovery with today’s Catholicism or Protestantism because it is different.
At the beginning of this meeting I read to you two portions of the Scriptures, Ephesians 1:10 and 3:9-10. Both portions mention one thing, that is, the dispensation of the mystery of God. The Bible shows us that God has an eternal heart’s desire, and according to His heart’s desire, He designed a plan, had a counsel, and made an arrangement. This plan, this counsel, this arrangement, is the economy that we often speak of. In brief, the economy of God is that God desires to have a group of people, who were created according to His image, that He may be their life and everything and that He may build them up as a corporate vessel, the church, which is the Body of Christ, the bride of Christ, the house of God, and the kingdom of God, for the fulfillment of God’s goal.
Based on this, God desires that every saved person, every believer as a member of Christ, who has the life of Christ and the Spirit of Christ, should be living, organic, and full of function. If we compare this with the condition in today’s Catholicism or Protestantism, we know that it is altogether different. Among them they have brought forth a clerical class, with a few members of the clergy replacing the organic functions of the majority of the laity. This is contrary to the biblical teaching, and it should be condemned. For this reason God wants to recover the way that He ordained.
Although we say that we are in the Lord’s recovery, a good part of what we have, we inherited from Catholicism and Protestantism. Because of this, it has not been easy for us to break away from these things. We came out from that kind of background. A considerable part of our way of meeting and of preaching the gospel was inherited from them. A principle with all of these inherited ways is that they require only a few people and do not require everyone to function. Therefore, we may say that in our standing, we are the Lord’s recovery, but in our practice, a great part of what we are is not the Lord’s recovery because some of our ways have killed the functions of many members of the Body of Christ. When we speak of church service, we refer mainly to the participation by the brothers and sisters in practical affairs; those who participate in the spiritual aspect of the service are very few.
THE RECOVERY OF THE GOD-ORDAINED WAY
According to the revelation in the Bible, the gospel preaching that the Lord desires is that every saint should go personally to contact people and to preach the gospel to save sinners. But, fairly speaking, up to the present, the gospel preaching among us has not gone back to the way taught in the Bible. The Lord’s Word tells us that every disciple of the Lord should preach the gospel (Matt. 28:19), and every branch of the Lord should bear fruit (John 15:5, 16), and even bear remaining fruit. For this reason, the Lord also wants us to feed His lambs (John 21:15), to nourish the regenerated believers with the riches of the Lord’s life. To do this requires us first to set aside a definite time every week to visit our acquaintances to bring God’s salvation to them. If we do this every week, in a year we will surely be able to baptize several people. Then, we need to take care of them and feed them regularly. If we truly mean business to do this, I have the assurance that every one of us will be able to bring two yearly into the church life. This is a great thing.
(The Up-to-Date Presentation of the God-Ordained Way and the Signs Concerning the Coming of Christ, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)