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Message Three



Through Brother Nee the Lord showed us the matter of the church. Concerning the church, the Lord
showed us, on the negative side, that Christianity and Catholicism are altogether degraded and deformed.
Never before had anyone spoken about the degradation of the Catholic Church and the Protestant
churches in such a clear and thorough way as Brother Nee did. On the positive side, the Lord also led
Brother Nee to see the local church, that is, the practical aspect of the church. He expended much effort in
stressing this point. Eventually, the point of his emphasis became very clear. He enabled us to see clearly
the ground of the church and the reality of the church.
It was also through Brother Nee that God showed us the matter of Christ as our life. Christ is to be to
us not only the Savior, the Redeemer, the Deliverer, the Grace-giver, and much more. These are not the
center. The center is that Christ is to be our life. The Lord’s redeeming, saving, and giving of grace are
not the goal but the procedure to reach the goal. God’s goal is Christ as our life. I say again, not only did
the Western missionaries who went to China not stress this point; even in the entire history of Christianity
only a handful paid attention to this point. This handful of people began mainly with Madame Guyon.
Later, there were the mystics, and after them there were the inner-life people. Of course, Brother Nee
stood on their shoulders, but Brother Nee saw something in a more thorough way and something higher,
deeper, and richer than what they had seen.
After this God showed us the Body of Christ through Brother Nee. The Lord showed us that the local
church is the procedure and not the goal. The goal of the local church is the building up of the Body of
Christ. Here, regretfully, among us there were quite a number of brothers who were weighty, yet they saw
only the importance of the local church and did not see the Body of Christ. Hence, they rose up to argue,
saying that Brother Nee said very clearly that all local churches are autonomous, each having nothing to
do with the others. Not one local church, whatever it may be, should interfere with another local church.
This is their total disregard for the Body of Christ. Therefore, through Brother Nee the Lord showed us
further that what God wants in the end is not the local church. Although at the end of the Bible there are
seven lampstands, they all become one city, the New Jerusalem. However, those brothers who stressed
the local aspect of the church insisted very much that what Revelation shows us in the beginning is
individual churches. Moreover, they were influenced by the Brethren and considered that all the seven
churches were different. However, their view is off the mark because they do not see that the seven
golden lampstands are indistinguishable in nature, shape, and function. If we put the seven lampstands in
front of us, unless we give each a number, it is impossible to tell which is which. Although Revelation 2
and 3 show us seven different churches, the biased brothers do not see that the differences among the
churches are not on the positive side but on the negative side. The seven churches have their distinctive
characteristics only in their negative conditions, such as their failures, degradation, mistakes, and
Today in the Lord’s recovery, it is not that we will not preach the gospel anymore; but preaching the
gospel is for begetting. And it is not that we will not nourish the saints anymore or that we will not perfect
the saints anymore. All the begetting, nourishing, and perfecting are for the building. However, what are
we building? Are we just building the local churches? No. We are building the local churches for the
building up of the Body of Christ, which will consummate in the New Jerusalem. Then, does this mean
that we just forget about the local churches? No. The local churches are the procedure for God to
accomplish the building of the Body of Christ. God still has to greatly use the local churches. Thank the
Lord, through this kind of fellowship I hope that we all know where we are today and also where we
should be and what we should do. (The High Peak of the Vision and the Reality of the Body of Christ, pp.
9-10, 17)



The God-ordained way as revealed in the Bible is the proper practice of the church life against the
papal and clergy-laity systems. The papal system is the system of the pope in the Roman Catholic Church.
The Roman Catholic Church is called “The Mother of the Prostitutes” (Rev. 17:5). Out of this impure,
dirty mother, another system was produced—the clergy-laity system. The clergy-laity system, as the
daughter of the papal system, is the system of Protestantism. The Bible reveals the God-ordained practice
to encounter these two systems. The Bible has its own practice and principle. The biblical practice and
principle are always being put down by the papal and clergy-laity systems. The goal of the papal and
clergy-laity systems is to annul the Body of Christ and replace it with a religion. The intention of God’s
economy is to have an organic Body built up for Christ. But after nearly two thousand years of church
history, what is prevailing today on this earth is an organized religion, comprising Catholicism and
When we left the divisions, we left the papal system with the clergy-laity system, but not many among
us know what we have done or what we are doing here today in the Lord’s recovery. The Lord’s recovery
has been lowered down by this ignorance. There are those among us who think that there is not much
difference between us and the denominational churches. This kind of thought among the brothers and
sisters may be because our testimony has been somewhat weak. Our testimony may not have been strong
enough to bear the particular significance of the Lord’s recovery to the ones who have been with us for a
number of years, including all the ones who have made or caused division in the past seventy years of our
history. During the time of my ministry outside of mainland China in the past forty years, there have been
at least three divisions caused among us. Every division showed that those who participated in them did
not have a clear view about the recovery.
What is the recovery according to the Lord’s mind? It is to get His believers out of the papal system
and the clergy-laity system. We should not forget that the intention of these two systems is to build up a
religion, including Catholicism and Protestantism, to replace and put down the Body of Christ. Those
who have made divisions in the Lord’s recovery did not clearly see this. Even I am concerned that we
ourselves might not be so thoroughly clear about this. We left the denominations, the divisions, but we
did not fully give up the papal and clergy-laity systems. We have outwardly come out of the Catholic
Church and the Protestant denominations, but we still carry and walk in these two systems.
The real significance of the pope is in the papal system, and the real control of the saints is in the
clergy-laity system. What the Lord wants in the new way is for us to leave the papal system and the
clergy-laity system. To remain in these systems is to be a Nicolaitan. The Nicolaitans are mentioned in
Revelation 2:6 and 15. According to the meaning in Greek, this group of people are those who climb
above the laity. They are a group of people who esteem themselves, the clergy, higher than the common
believers. According to Revelation 2:6 and 15, the Lord hates the works of the Nicolaitans with their
teaching. The works and teaching of the Nicolaitans are prevailing in both Catholicism and Protestantism.
The system of one man speaking and the rest listening is a part of the papal and clergy-laity systems.
As long as we remain in this realm, we are Nicolaitans. The Nicolaitans are those who put down the Body
of Christ and annul the members of the Body of Christ. Catholicism and Protestantism build up a religion
to replace and put down the Body of Christ. Spontaneously, they kill and annul all the members of the
Body of Christ by depending on a class of people called the clergy. Unconsciously, much of what we do
may be in the same principle.
The church is the Body of Christ and the new man. It is not normal for only a small number of the
members of a person’s body to function while all the rest are paralyzed. A normal man uses all of his
physical members. We need to consider today’s situation in Christianity, in Catholicism and
Protestantism. Where is such a corporate man, comprising the living, active, functioning members of the
Body of Christ to fulfill the purpose of God? There is not such a thing. Mostly what is considered in
Christianity is the work of gaining sinners, winning souls, to build up a congregation. That is not for the
Body of Christ. Our concept has been captured by that practice. We left Babylon, but Babylon’s principle
and philosophy still remain with us. We left Babylon, but the Babylonian system would not leave us.
What is the new way, the God-ordained way? The God-ordained way is to rescue us from this
Babylonian capture. We have been captured by the philosophy of the papal and clergy-laity systems. We
are still carrying, probably unintentionally and subconsciously, the philosophy of these systems with us in
whatever we do. This is why I say that we have to endeavor to change our philosophy. We are not
building up any kind of religion. We are building up the Body of Christ, and we are building up the new
man. We should be perfecting all the members of the Body and equipping all the parts of the new man,
but we do not do much perfecting or equipping. In actuality we left Babylon, but the Babylonian
philosophy still goes with us. Unconsciously, we still like to keep this philosophy. There is the need of a
revolutionary change from this old philosophy to the new, scriptural principle. (Elders’ Training, Book
11: The Eldership and the God-ordained Way (3), pp. 87-90)


I would like to say an intimate word in fellowship, especially to the co-workers and elders among us.
Do not forget that whatever you do in your locality or universally for other countries should be done in a
full realization that you are building up the Body of Christ. You may have a real burden to take care of the
church in your locality, yet you should always realize that you are not doing a work just for the building
up of the work. When you are working to take care of the church, always keep a view of the Body. You
should say, “Lord, what I am doing here is not for this, but for Your Body. I am under Your sovereign
assignment, or arrangement, to work in this locality. It seems that I am doing a work to build up the local
church here. But, Lord, actually I am not doing things to just build up the local church here in my locality.
What I am doing, Lord, is altogether for the building up of Your Body.” (The Practical Way to Live a Life
according to the High Peak of the Divine Revelation in the Holy Scriptures, pp. 57-58)



Since we are the members of the Body of Christ, we should have a feeling for the Body. First, we must
take the feeling of the Head as our own feeling. In Philippians 1:8 Paul said, “I long after you all in the
inward parts of Christ Jesus.’’ This means that Paul took the inward parts of Christ Jesus as his own
inward parts in caring for the church. This also means that he took care of the Body of Christ by taking
Christ’s feeling as his own feeling. Christ’s feeling became his feeling for the Body. We all should be like
Paul, taking the feeling of the Head as our own feeling. This is most necessary for our living the Body
life. Furthermore, we should not only take the feeling of the Head as our feeling, but also do so in the
principle of caring for the Body. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12:25b-26 that “the members would have the
same care for one another. And whether one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one
member is glorified, all the members rejoice with it.’’ In order for us to have the Body life, we must care
for our fellow members and must be full of feeling for the Body.
If we as members have the feeling of the Head in everything and care for the Body, we will take the
Body as the rule in our mind, thoughts, words, and actions. We should deny ourselves and should identify
ourselves with the Body. By doing this, there will be no separation or disconnection from the Body. The
life that we live will fully be the Body life, and the Lord will gain the expression of His Body. (The
Oneness and the One Accord according to the Lord’s Aspiration and the Body Life and Service according
to His Pleasure, pp. 40-41)

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