God's Overcomersby Watchman Nee
Between 1928 and 1934, Brother Watchman Nee conducted four Overcomer Conferences. The subjects of these conferences were on “God’s Central Messages.” The first conference was held in February 1928 on the subject: “God’s Eternal Purpose and the Victory of Christ.” The second conference was held in October 1931 on the subject: “The Covenant of God and the Wisdom of God.” The third conference was held in January 1934 on the subjects: “Christ as the Centrality and Universality of God” and “God’s Overcomers.” The fourth conference was held in October of the same year on the subjects: “The Life of Abraham” and “Spiritual Warfare.” Except for the fourth conference, which was held in Hangchow, all the other conferences were in Shanghai.
The messages of the Third Overcomer Conference were first published in three issues of the magazine The Present Testimony, published by Watchman Nee.
In this present edition, Chapter 1, entitled “Preparation Messages of the Third Overcomer Conference,” presents short messages given in the first two days of the conference, January 22 and 23, 1934. Chapters 2 and 3, entitled “God’s Center or The Centrality and Universality of Christ” and “The Overcomer of God,” present the main parts of the conference messages. (The chapter on “The Overcomer of God” has been additionally supplemented with a section, “The Experience of the Overcomers” taken from Brother Weigh Kwang-hsi’s notes.) Two of the outlines presented in Chapter 1 were published in more polished form later; thus, “Ministering to the House or to God?” and “A Shallow Life,” are included as Chapters 4 and 6. A separate message which was not part of the Third Overcomer Conference, “Having Been Made Dead to the Law,” is included in this volume as Chapter 5 to retain the original order of the messages as they appeared in The Present Testimony.
Chapters 7 and 8, “What Are We?” and “Questions Related to the Workers,” were translated from notes by Brother Weigh Kwang-hsi. These messages were released during and after the same conference. “What Are We?” points out the testimony that God is after, based on the history of the recovery of the truth. “Questions Related to the Workers” covers the nature of the work and its relationship with the church. Although these messages were not published in The Present Testimony, we have included them here with the messages released during this period.
The nature and burden of this conference can be found in Watchman Nee’s note, “A Letter Concerning the Third Overcomer Conference.” A more detailed report of the conference can be found in Issue No. 4 of Collection of Newsletters in Set Two of The Collected Works.
“Jesus is Lord!” (1 Cor. 12:3).
We have previously held two conferences of the same nature, one in February of 1928 and one in October of 1931. The conference held in November of last year was of a different nature, and for that reason we consider the upcoming conference to be the third overcomer conference.
I want all the brothers to understand the nature of this type of conference; no attention will be paid to the less significant matters of the Bible. What we want to see in the Holy Spirit is Christ and Him crucified. Matters such as prophecy, church organization, Scripture exposition, types, baptism, laying on of hands, speaking in tongues, miracles, and a hundred other questions have their proper place. As Christians we should not deny them their proper place. However, these are neither the center of the Scriptures nor the center of the life of the Holy Spirit. God has only one center, which is Christ—Christ and Him crucified. Our annual conferences of this nature are to bring us back to this center. Therefore, we are reluctant to mention any minor matters in these conferences. Rather, we would emphasize only the central point which God Himself stressed.
Many people often ask us why The Present Testimony does not print some of the articles similar to those in the previous magazine, The Christian. However, they do not realize that The Present Testimony only delivers the central message of God. Many of the gospel messages, interpretations of prophecy, Bible expositions, and answers to questions are not God’s center. It is a pity that many believers treasure our writings on these side issues, but neglect the central message. We are not saying that the other subjects are useless; they do have their place. However, they are not the center. If a person has not laid hold of God’s center, all these truths will only be doctrines to him and will not give him any help. Knowing God in His center, and living in the center is victory, holiness, and glory. Everything else follows afterward.
In our conference this time, as before, we wish to lay stress on the central message. After much prayer I feel the theme which the Lord has given me for this conference is “God’s Overcomers.” Everything in the conference will focus on this center. Since the dates are now set, I ask all the brothers to pray more for this conference. Unlike the conference in 1928, our conferences in 1931 and 1932 were both lacking in prayer. Consequently, we saw no obvious blessing in those meetings. We should, therefore, ask God for a burden to pray and for a spirit of prayer. We need to pray and pray fervently. Perhaps we even have to fast and pray. However, we must pray in the Holy Spirit! Whether or not God will bless us depends upon our prayer.
Finally, in this conference, our hope is to meet Christ, to receive light and revelation from heaven, and to be filled with the life that is unknown to ordinary people. We do not intend to pay attention to the many minor, outward matters. “To know Him” (Phil. 3:10)—this is what we seek.
December 13, 1933
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