Messages Given During the Resumption of Watchman Nee's Ministry (2 volume set)by Watchman Nee/Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
There are two reasons why the supply among the brothers and sisters in the local churches is little. The first is that there are works of the flesh, and the second is that the saints have not learned the lesson of submitting to the authority in the church. Because there is the flesh, the responsible brothers are hesitant to let these fleshly ones function, for fear that they will do more damage than good. This actually helps the one-talented ones to bury their gifts. In the end, the church neither suffers a loss nor brings in a profit. The flesh does not come any longer, but neither do the one-talented ones come either. Today we have to turn the situation around. We can no longer despise the one-talented ones. We have to gain these one-talented ones. Of course, when the one-talented ones come, the flesh comes with them also. But we should not be afraid of this.
What is the church? The church is all the one-talented ones functioning. When all the dumb ones open their mouths, when all the brothers and sisters speak, and when all the one-talented ones are functioning, we have the church. What we need today is not just the "minister of ministers," but the whole church. Here, not only do we have the ministry of the word, but we have all kinds of services. We must never allow the one-talented ones to bury their talents.
There is indeed the need for the recovery of authority. The recovery of authority is for the dealing with the flesh. All the brothers and sisters have to rise up. Although they may have one talent only, they still have to rise up. Wherever the one-talented ones are placed together, there is surely the flesh. When the flesh comes in, there is the need to have the authority of the church. Some will exercise their flesh, and they will have to be told that the way they laugh, for example, is wrong, and that they should not do this. Hence, on the one hand, authority has to be recovered. This will safeguard the church. On the other hand, we still have to encourage the saints to speak. If we do not practice this, once we lay down the principle of forbidding the flesh, everyone becomes silent, and the services will become the work of a few again.
Everyone has to participate in the services. We cannot allow one or two to be passive. We oppose the system of pastors. It is wrong to have one pastor, and it is equally wrong to have ten pastors in place of one. We cannot tolerate one man only, and we cannot tolerate a few men either. Today we have to deal thoroughly with the one-talented ones. It is wrong for the one-talented ones to hide themselves. We cannot tolerate having one group of people serving while another group of people is not serving. All the local churches have to make a full turn in this matter. The responsible ones and the co-workers must first be coordinated before they will have the strength to deal with the flesh in the church, and before they can deal with all the rebellious, disobedient, and insubordinate brothers and sisters. Only then can the authority of the church be established. In another five years, you will realize what I mean today.
Brother Witness Lee: The situation today is that only a few co-workers and responsible brothers and sisters are serving. We have not brought everyone into the services yet. There are many reasons for this. With some, it is the immaturity in life and the lack of love that hinders them from coming into the services. With others it is the poverty of their spiritual condition that bars them from the services. The condition of the brothers and sisters is such that they are merely saved. Even their salvation experiences in many cases are weak experiences of salvation; they are not rich and absolute cases of salvation. Many only come for a Sunday morning "service," and they are not properly recovered yet. We are weak in all the areas, and authority among us has not been established or built up.
Once our standard is low, church services become a matter of position or organization. Today the condition among the saints is poor, but the responsibility is not on them; it is on the responsible ones. The responsible ones have to bear eighty to ninety percent of the responsibility. Today the saints are fully influenced by the co-workers. If the spiritual condition of the co-workers is high, the spiritual condition of the saints is high. If the spiritual condition of the responsible ones is progressive, the spiritual condition of the saints is also progressive. Those who are in authority need to have not only the position, but even more, the life. Aaron's rod represents authority on the one hand and life on the other hand; it is a budding rod (Num. 17:8). If life is not expressed in authority, such authority is a mere positional authority. If life is expressed, it will be easy for authority to be executed. An authority that is without life is an empty authority. This is like some so-called governments that apparently have the authority, but whose laws cannot be exercised beyond their own buildings.
Unless we build up the authority of the church, our work today is a failure. If we do not build up the authority, there will be no way for the brothers and sisters to be built up. If there is no authority in the church, where will the brothers and sisters go for the proper authority to submit to? The condition of the churches today is like a pile of stones; there is no building up. The situation among us is one in which not one stone lies on top of another. Today, no one is above anyone else. If authority is built up among us, the services will be built up also. When we are built up under the proper authority, the services will be produced.
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