THE WHOLE BODY SERVING
Brother Witness Lee asked: (1) What are the difference and relationship between the coordination in the Body, the coordination among the co-workers, and the coordination among the brothers and sisters? (2) Is coordination merely a matter of following the ministers, or is there something else?
Church Service Being Absolutely
under the Sovereignty of the Holy Spirit
Brother Nee answered: For all the time that the church has been on this earth, God never asks man to direct the church. God never asks a few more advanced ones to direct a church. The services in a local church are the result of the assignment of the Holy Spirit. We may think that those brothers who have good behavior and who have in addition some gifts are the best candidates for services. But actually, many times things work out exactly the opposite way. Those who appear to be qualified do not have the gifts, and those who do not appear to be qualified have the gifts. Although some do not appear to be qualified, others are saved through them. The ones who appear to be qualified, on the contrary, cannot bring others to salvation. Sometimes, the Lord would do something that leaves one bewildered as to what to make of it.
We have to realize that today the gifts are not under our control. Moreover, we cannot even ask for the gifts. Everything depends on the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:11). Man is unable to do anything; he can only submit to the works of the Lord. When God wanted Saul of Tarsus, He chose Saul of Tarsus. Today, our concept is that Paul is our dear brother. But if you were to ask the people in Jerusalem at that time, everyone would tell you that they were afraid of Saul. Even those in Tarsus were afraid of him. Others could never imagine that Saul would be saved. Even Saul himself could not imagine that he would be saved. Today we have to see the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit. Everything is under His sovereignty. Those who do not learn to submit under the Holy Spirit will never do a good work.
Paul did not receive his authority through his commission. A commission by itself does not give a person authority. Only when the Holy Spirit gives man authority will he have the authority. Paul told the Corinthians that they were his letters of commendation (2 Cor. 3:2). Where there is the gift, there is the ministry. Where there is the ministry, there is the authority. This is something that one cannot contend about. Paul received the gift and became the minister. This was why he could exercise authority over others. He did not need any commendations other than this authority.
Many times we say, "Lord, You are the Head of the church." This is easy to say, but it is not easy to be realized. Every work is initiated by the Lord; only He can raise up the gifts. All that the responsible ones are doing is cooperating with Him. If a man tries to act according to his self-will today, the church should exercise some kind of arrangement. This arrangement is for the purpose of dealing with his flesh. An arrangement should not be considered as the appointment of a gift. It is because there is the flesh that there is the need for some arrangement. Such arrangement is for the purpose of frustrating, subduing, and restricting the flesh. All works that originate from self-will cannot come into the church. The revival of the church does not come through man’s arrangements, but through the sovereign operation of the Holy Spirit. Without the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit, any commendation, commission, or authorization is useless. The most they will do is to add a few signatures to the letter of recommendation.
(Messages Given During the Resumption of Watchman Nee's Ministry (2 volume set), Chapter 47, by Watchman Nee/Witness Lee)