Crucial Words of Leading in the Lord's Recovery, Book 1: The Vision and Definite Steps for the Practice of the New Wayby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Prayer: Lord, we trust in Your precious blood. May Your blood cleanse us. We long to live in fellowship with You. We do not want any sin, any evil, or anything that is contrary to You to veil our inner being; we do not want to lose Your light, miss our fellowship with You, or forego our enjoyment of Your presence. Lord, be our sin offering and trespass offering. We do not want to have some religious activities or busy outward works while missing Your inner presence and not touching You. Lord, in such a training, keep us so that we would remain in fellowship with You and that we would touch Your heart’s desire and Yourself. We want to know not only the objective words in the Bible but Your subjective work within us, the work which You are doing in the church today. Lord, be gracious to us and speak to the depth of our being. We want to be taught and encouraged, but more than that, we want to know Your way and be preserved by You, gained by You, and sustained by You. May You grow within us, daily softening us so that we would be truly mingled with You and be in one fellowship with You. May there be genuine growth within us, and may there be a broad pathway within us that will open all the doors in us.
Lord, in our sojourn on this earth it is unavoidable that we come short and are defiled all the time. Do forgive us of all our shortcomings. Cleanse us of all our defilements. Save us, and remove all filthiness so that our mind, heart, and spirit, including our conscience, would be clear. Lord, may our fellowship here be a pure flow, clear as crystal, without any shadow or covering. Grant us an open sky; remove all the veils. May both the speaker and the listeners be in one spirit. Whatever we would cover, may all of us touch the same thing, and may all of us get into it and pursue after it in spirit. Lead us into Yourself to receive Your cherishing, care, and supply so that we may experience the genuine growth. Lord, guide us to speak the same thing. We have no preconceived decisions; we only want to move according to Your Spirit. Speak to us again and again the words that are in Your heart. Amen.
In this chapter we will first consider the kind of vision that a servant of the Lord should possess.
Among the serving ones, the two most important groups of people are the elders and the co-workers. According to the Bible, a servant of the Lord must be governed by a vision. We have been speaking about this point for many years. From the first day the work began here in Taiwan, we have been speaking about vision. Over twenty years ago, this matter affected some young people. They felt that they had seen the vision, and they called themselves “the vision group.” They condemned the elderly saints for not having any vision.
Whether or not a person understands a certain biblical term is an important matter. Even when a person understands a term, it is very important to know if he understands it correctly and accurately. Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint.” This means that without a vision, the people will become loose, like wild horses in their untamed state. The clearest instance in the New Testament where the word vision is mentioned is in the case of Paul. In Acts 26:19, while he was defending himself before King Agrippa, he uttered this word: “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” In order to understand the meaning of the word vision, we must understand the context of Paul’s speaking in verses 4 through 23.
Prior to verse 19, Paul said that he was once a zealous Judaizer, being zealous for the religion and traditions of his forefathers. He was so zealous that he could not tolerate any different teachings or beliefs among his fellow Jews. Yet at that time there was a group of Christians whose words, teachings, actions, and works were different from the ordinances and the very root of Paul’s Jewish religion. Paul’s native town of Tarsus was at the crossroads between Asia Minor and Syria; it was a hub of communication and a historically famous academic town, a city of culture. In Tarsus there was a Greek school where Paul received the highest education. At the same time he joined one of the strictest sects of Judaism and became a Pharisee, sitting under the most famous teacher, Gamaliel. We can see that Paul was a learned, ambitious, active, and aspiring person.
While he was yet a young man, he received authority from the chief priests in the Jewish religion to put many believers into prison. He even cast a vote to condemn them and to put them to death. Many times he persecuted the believers in the synagogues and compelled them to blaspheme. He was exceedingly enraged at them and persecuted them as far as the Gentile cities. He even requested a letter from the chief priests and took the lead to put into bondage all those who called on the name of the Lord. But while he was on the way to Damascus, the Lord met him and said to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads” (v. 14). Paul asked, “Who are You, Lord?” The Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you persecute” (v. 15). Then the Lord told him that He had chosen him to be a minister and a witness both of the things in which he had seen Him and of the things in which He would appear to him. He would send Paul to the people and the Gentiles to open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light and from the authority of Satan to God that they might receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith. After testifying of these things, Paul concluded by saying, “Therefore...I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision” (v. 19). When Paul was serving God in the Jewish religion, he was serving by tradition, not by vision, but from the day the Lord met him, called him, and chose him on the way to Damascus, he became a man with a vision. From that time onward, his service was governed by that vision.
Concerning the word vision, our emphasis is not on its Old Testament meaning but on what Paul said in Acts 26:19. Of course, we can never ascertain a truth in the Bible by one verse alone. Every truth in the Bible requires the entire Bible for its explanation. This is like the various organs of the body; none can survive alone. They need the entire body to act as their support. In the same way every truth must have the entire “body” as its support. The entire Bible is the whole “body,” the supporting structure. In order to understand what the word vision means, we must consider the entire Bible.
Many Christians have read the biography of Hudson Taylor. The writer told us clearly that while Mr. Taylor was young, he felt that he needed to go to China for the gospel. He first joined a mission and went to northern Fukien for the gospel. Later, while he was back in England on furlough, he went to the seashore one day to spend some time alone with the Lord. As he gazed at the ocean, he felt that his eyes were brought across the seas to catch a glimpse of the interior parts of China, and he saw four hundred million dying souls. He felt that the Lord was calling him to consecrate himself entirely to those people and to send the gospel to the interior of China. Right there he accepted this charge and commission. Such a charge and commission became Mr. Taylor’s “vision.” Immediately, he shared what he saw with the Christians whom he was acquainted with. Many responded to his word, and the China Inland Mission was formed. In the following forty to fifty years hundreds and thousands of people were sent to the interior parts of China to preach the gospel.
It is debatable whether what Mr. Taylor saw can be considered a vision of the age. Of course, the vast China needed the preaching of the gospel. From this viewpoint Mr. Taylor certainly received a commission, and it was certainly a vision. Yet it is questionable whether or not that is the vision that God has for this age. Concerning the matter of vision, we must come back to the Bible.
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