IV. TO AVOID CHURCHLESSNESS AND DIVISION
Another item of the prerequisite of the practice of the church life according to the God-ordained way is to avoid churchlessness and division. To be churchless is to not have the church. Today millions of Christians have no consideration for the church. They do not care for the church at all. In their consideration, as long as they believe in the Lord Jesus, love Him, and are zealous for soul winning, that is sufficient. This kind of thinking is seriously in error.
A. Not Neglecting the Goal
of the God-ordained Way—the Church
If we would practice the church life according to the God-ordained way, we must not neglect the goal of the God-ordained way—the church (Matt. 16:16-18; Eph. 1:22; 5:25-27). The goal of the God-ordained way is the church. If we are a churchless people, we are not qualified to take the God-ordained way. The God-ordained way is for reaching its goal, which is the church. We must have the church. Furthermore, division annuls the purpose and goal of God’s ordained way. Hence, we must avoid these two things: churchlessness and division.
B. Turning Away from Those Who Make Divisions
We also need to turn away from those who make divisions (Rom. 16:17; Titus 3:10; 1 Cor. 1:13). Even if a close relative such as our husband, wife, father, mother, brother, or sister is a division-maker, we must turn away from their division. The same applies to our intimate and close friends. Although it is difficult to turn away from those who are our intimate friends, we must realize that friendship is one thing, and the fellowship in Christ and in His Body is another thing. When Moses’ sister, Miriam, became leprous, she was quarantined in Moses’ presence (Num. 12). To quarantine is a medical term that means to separate. To separate, or to quarantine, a leper was not to give him up or to cast him away; it was simply to keep the leprous one separate from the rest of God’s people so that they would not be contaminated by the leprosy. Once the leprosy was healed, that man was declared clean, and he could come back into the fellowship of God’s people. According to Leviticus 13 and 14, to discern whether or not a person was leprous or was cleansed from leprosy was a difficult thing. This could not be discerned by ordinary people; it could be discerned only with great care and by a proper priest. We all must do our best to avoid churchlessness and division.
To summarize, the prerequisite of the practice of the church life according to the God-ordained way is first to see the economy of God, to know the Body of Christ, to realize the recovery of the Lord, and to avoid churchlessness and division.
(The Practice of the Church Life according to the God-ordained Way, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)