2. The Factor of Closely Following the Completed Vision of the Age through the Ministry of the Age
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Scripture Reading: 2 Cor. 3:3, 6, 8; 4:1; 5:18-20; 11:2-3;

 1 Tim. 1:3-4, 18; Rev. 22:1-2, 14, 17a

2 Cor. 3:3      Since you are being manifested that you are a letter of Christ ministered by us, inscribed not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tablets of stone but in tablets of hearts of flesh.

2 Cor. 3:6      Who has also made us sufficient as ministers of a new covenant, ministers not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

2 Cor. 3:8      How shall the ministry of the Spirit not be more in glory?

2 Cor. 4:1      Therefore having this ministry as we have been shown mercy, we do not lose heart;

2 Cor. 5:18    But all things are out from God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Christ and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

2 Cor. 5:19    Namely, that God in Christ was reconciling the world to Himself, not accounting their offenses to them, and has put in us the word of reconciliation.

2 Cor. 5:20    On behalf of Christ then we are ambassadors, as God entreats you through us; we beseech you on behalf of Christ, Be reconciled to God.

2 Cor. 11:2    For I am jealous over you with a jealousy of God; for I betrothed you to one husband to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.

2 Cor. 11:3    But I fear lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your thoughts would be corrupted from the simplicity and the purity toward Christ.

1 Tim. 1:3     Even as I exhorted you, when I was going into Macedonia, to remain in Ephesus in order that you might charge certain ones not to teach different things

1 Tim. 1:4     Nor to give heed to myths and unending genealogies, which produce questionings rather than God's economy, which is in faith.

1 Tim. 1:18   This charge I commit to you, my child Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you might war the good warfare,

Rev. 22:1      And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.

Rev. 22:2      And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

Rev. 22:14    Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter by the gates into the city.

Rev. 22:17    And the Spirit and the bride say, Come! And let him who hears say, Come! And let him who is thirsty come; let him who wills take the water of life freely.

 

I.     In every age there is the vision of that age, and since we have the completed vision of the age through the ministry of the age, we need to serve God according to this vision and closely follow it—Acts 26:19; Eph. 1:17; 3:9; 1 Tim. 4:6:

Acts 26:19    Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,

Eph. 1:17      That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of Him,

Eph. 3:9        And to enlighten all that they may see what the economy of the mystery is, which throughout the ages has been hidden in God, who created all things,

1 Tim. 4:6     If you lay these things before the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, being nourished with the words of the faith and of the good teaching which you have closely followed.

A.     Today we can be in one accord because we have only one vision, an up-to-date, all-inheriting vision, the vision of the eternal economy of God—Eph. 1:17; 3:2, 9; Rev. 21:10; 1 Tim. 1:3-4; Rom. 15:6; 1 Cor. 1:10; Acts 26:13-19; Phil. 3:13-14.

Eph. 1:17      That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of Him,

Eph. 3:2        If indeed you have heard of the stewardship of the grace of God which was given to me for you,

Eph. 3:9        And to enlighten all that they may see what the economy of the mystery is, which throughout the ages has been hidden in God, who created all things,

Rev. 21:10    And he carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,

1 Tim. 1:3     Even as I exhorted you, when I was going into Macedonia, to remain in Ephesus in order that you might charge certain ones not to teach different things

1 Tim. 1:4     Nor to give heed to myths and unending genealogies, which produce questionings rather than God's economy, which is in faith.

Rom. 15:6     That with one accord you may with one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Cor. 1:10    Now I beseech you, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be attuned in the same mind and in the same opinion.

Acts 26:13    At midday, on the way, I saw, O King, a light from heaven beyond the brightness of the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me.

Acts 26:14    And when we all fell to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.

Acts 26:15    And I said, Who are You, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus, whom you persecute.

Acts 26:16    But rise up and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a minister and a witness both of the things in which you have seen Me and of the things in which I will appear to you;

Acts 26:17    Delivering you from the people and from the Gentiles, to whom I send you,

Acts 26:18    To open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light and from the authority of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.

Acts 26:19    Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,

Phil. 3:13      Brothers, I do not account of myself to have laid hold; but one thing I do: Forgetting the things which are behind and stretching forward to the things which are before,

Phil. 3:14      I pursue toward the goal for the prize to which God in Christ Jesus has called me upward.

B.     The governing vision of the Bible is the heavenly vision of God’s eternal economy, which is God’s eternal intention with His heart’s desire to dispense Himself in His Divine Trinity as the Father in the Son by the Spirit into His chosen people to be their life and nature that they may be the same as He is as His duplication, to become an organism, the Body of Christ as the new man for God’s fullness, God’s expression, which will consummate in the New Jerusalem—Eph. 1:10; 3:9; 1 Tim. 1:3-4; Rom. 8:29; 1 John 3:2; Eph. 1:22-23; 2:15-16; 3:19; Rev. 3:12, 21; 21:2, 9-10; Acts 26:19.

Eph. 1:10      Unto the economy of the fullness of the times, to head up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth, in Him;

Eph. 3:9        And to enlighten all that they may see what the economy of the mystery is, which throughout the ages has been hidden in God, who created all things,

1 Tim. 1:3     Even as I exhorted you, when I was going into Macedonia, to remain in Ephesus in order that you might charge certain ones not to teach different things

1 Tim. 1:4     Nor to give heed to myths and unending genealogies, which produce questionings rather than God's economy, which is in faith.

Rom. 8:29     Because those whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the Firstborn among many brothers;

1 John 3:2     Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not yet been manifested what we will be. We know that if He is manifested, we will be like Him because we will see Him even as He is.

Eph. 1:22      And He subjected all things under His feet and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church,

Eph. 1:23      Which is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all.

Eph. 2:15      Abolishing in His flesh the law of the commandments in ordinances, that He might create the two in Himself into one new man, so making peace,

Eph. 2:16      And might reconcile both in one Body to God through the cross, having slain the enmity by it.

Eph. 3:19      And to know the knowledge-surpassing love of Christ, that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God.

Rev. 3:12      He who overcomes, him I will make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall by no means go out anymore, and I will write upon him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which descends out of heaven from My God, and My new name.

Rev. 3:21      He who overcomes, to him I will give to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat with My Father on His throne.

Rev. 21:2      And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Rev. 21:9      And one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, Come here; I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.

Rev. 21:10    And he carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,

Acts 26:19    Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,

C.     “I [W. L.] told Brother Nee, ‘Even if one day you do not take this way, I will still take this way. I am not taking this way because of you, and I will not leave this way because of you. I have seen that this is the Lord’s way. I have seen the vision’”—The Vision of the Age, p. 50.

II.   The vision that the Lord has given to us in His present recovery is the all-inclusive vision of God’s eternal economy with its ultimate consummation—the vision of the New Jerusalem—Prov. 29:18a; Acts 26:18-19; 22:15; Rev. 21:2, 9-11:

Prov. 29:18   Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint; / But happy is he who keeps the law.

Acts 26:18    To open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light and from the authority of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.

Acts 26:19    Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,

Acts 22:15    For you will be a witness to Him unto all men of the things which you have seen and heard.

Rev. 21:2      And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Rev. 21:9      And one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, Come here; I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.

Rev. 21:10    And he carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,

Rev. 21:11    Having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.

A.     The totality of what the Bible reveals to us is the New Jerusalem; the New Jerusalem is the total composition of the entire revelation of the Bible—Gen. 28:10-22; John 1:1, 14, 29, 32, 42, 51; Rev. 21:3, 22.

Gen. 28:10    And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba and went toward Haran.

Gen. 28:11    And he came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and he lay down in that place.

Gen. 28:12    And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

Gen. 28:13    And there was Jehovah, standing above it; and He said, I am Jehovah, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie, I will give to you and to your seed.

Gen. 28:14    And your seed will be as the dust of the earth, and you will spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and in your seed will all the families of the earth be blessed.

Gen. 28:15    And, behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go and will cause you to return to this land, for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.

Gen. 28:16    And Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, Surely Jehovah is in this place, and I did not know it.

Gen. 28:17    And he was afraid and said, How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

Gen. 28:18    And Jacob rose up early in the morning and took the stone that he had put under his head, and he set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it.

Gen. 28:19    And he called the name of that place Bethel, but the name of the city was Luz previously.

Gen. 28:20    And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go and will give me bread to eat and garments to put on,

Gen. 28:21    So that I return to my father's house in peace, then Jehovah will be my God,

Gen. 28:22    And this stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God's house; and of all that You give me I will surely give one tenth to You.

John 1:1        In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:14      And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us (and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only Begotten from the Father), full of grace and reality.

John 1:29      The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

John 1:32      And John testified saying, I beheld the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He abode upon Him.

John 1:42      He led him to Jesus. Looking at him, Jesus said, You are Simon, the son of John; you shall be called Cephas (which is interpreted, Peter).

John 1:51      And He said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, You shall see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.

Rev. 21:3      And I heard a loud voice out of the throne, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will tabernacle with them, and they will be His peoples, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.

Rev. 21:22    And I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.

B.     Our living out the New Jerusalem is for us to become the New Jerusalem, and our working out the New Jerusalem is for us to build the New Jerusalem by the flowing Triune God—Jer. 2:13; John 4:14b; 7:37-39; Rev. 22:1-2a.

Jer. 2:13        For My people have committed two evils: / They have forsaken Me, / The fountain of living waters, / To hew out for themselves cisterns, / Broken cisterns, / Which hold no water.

John 4:14      But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall by no means thirst forever; but the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into eternal life.

John 7:37      Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.

John 7:38      He who believes into Me, as the Scripture said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.

John 7:39      But this He said concerning the Spirit, whom those who believed into Him were about to receive; for the Spirit was not yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.

Rev. 22:1      And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.

Rev. 22:2      And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

C.     Every local church should be a miniature of the New Jerusalem, and every believer should be “a little New Jerusalem”; whatever is ascribed to the New Jerusalem should be both our corporate and personal experience—21:3, 22-23; 22:1-2, 14, 17; 3:12.

Rev. 21:3      And I heard a loud voice out of the throne, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will tabernacle with them, and they will be His peoples, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.

Rev. 21:22    And I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.

Rev. 21:23    And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon that they should shine in it, for the glory of God illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.

Rev. 22:1      And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.

Rev. 22:2      And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

Rev. 22:14    Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter by the gates into the city.

Rev. 22:17    And the Spirit and the bride say, Come! And let him who hears say, Come! And let him who is thirsty come; let him who wills take the water of life freely.

Rev. 3:12      He who overcomes, him I will make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall by no means go out anymore, and I will write upon him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which descends out of heaven from My God, and My new name.

D.     The New Jerusalem is the embodiment of God’s complete salvation with its judicial and organic aspects—Rom. 5:10; Rev. 22:14:

Rom. 5:10     For if we, being enemies, were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more we will be saved in His life, having been reconciled,

Rev. 22:14    Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter by the gates into the city.

1. God’s full salvation is a composition of God’s righteousness as the base and God’s life as the consummation—Rom. 1:16-17; 5:10, 17-18, 21; Luke 15:22-23; cf. Jer. 2:13; 13:23; 17:9; 23:5-6; 31:33.

Rom. 1:16     For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes, both to Jew first and to Greek.

Rom. 1:17     For the righteousness of God is revealed in it out of faith to faith, as it is written, "But the righteous shall have life and live by faith."

Rom. 5:10     For if we, being enemies, were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more we will be saved in His life, having been reconciled,

Rom. 5:17     For if, by the offense of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

Rom. 5:18     So then as it was through one offense unto condemnation to all men, so also it was through one righteous act unto justification of life to all men.

Rom. 5:21     In order that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Luke 15:22    But the father said to his slaves, Bring out quickly the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.

Luke 15:23    And bring the fattened calf; slaughter it, and let us eat and be merry,

Jer. 2:13        For My people have committed two evils: / They have forsaken Me, / The fountain of living waters, / To hew out for themselves cisterns, / Broken cisterns, / Which hold no water.

Jer. 13:23      Can the Cushite change his skin, / Or the leopard his spots? / Then you also may be able to do good, / Who are accustomed to do evil.

Jer. 17:9        The heart is deceitful above all things, / And it is incurable; / Who can know it?

Jer. 23:5        Indeed, days are coming, / Declares Jehovah, / When I will raise up to David a righteous Shoot; / And He will reign as King and act prudently / And will execute justice and righteousness in the land.

Jer. 23:6        In His days Judah will be saved, / And Israel will dwell securely; / And this is His name by which He will be called, / Jehovah our righteousness.

Jer. 31:33      But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares Jehovah: I will put My law in their inward parts and write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they will be My people.

2. The entire New Jerusalem is a matter of life built on the foundation of righteousness—Rev. 21:14, 19-20; 22:1; cf. Gen. 9:8-17; Psa. 89:14.

Rev. 21:14    And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Rev. 21:19    The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone: the first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald;

Rev. 21:20    The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst.

Rev. 22:1      And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.

Gen. 9:8        Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying,

Gen. 9:9        And I Myself now establish My covenant with you and with your seed after you

Gen. 9:10      And with every living animal that is with you: the birds, the cattle, and every animal of the earth with you, of all that came out of the ark, every animal of the earth.

Gen. 9:11      And I establish My covenant with you, that never again will all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.

Gen. 9:12      And God said, This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living animal that is with you, for perpetual generations:

Gen. 9:13      I set My bow in the clouds, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth.

Gen. 9:14      And when I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow is seen in the clouds,

Gen. 9:15      I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living animal of all flesh, and never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all flesh.

Gen. 9:16      And the bow will be in the clouds, and I will look upon it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living animal of all flesh that is upon the earth.

Gen. 9:17      And God said to Noah, This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is upon the earth.

Psa. 89:14     Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; / Lovingkindness and truth go before Your face.

E.      As we experience each section of God’s organic salvation, we go up level by level until we become beings in the New Jerusalem—Rom. 5:10, 17, 21; 8:10, 6, 11; Rev. 22:1-2; cf. Jer. 18:15; Micah 5:2:

Rom. 5:10     For if we, being enemies, were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more we will be saved in His life, having been reconciled,

Rom. 5:17     For if, by the offense of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

Rom. 5:21     In order that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Rom. 8:10     But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is life because of righteousness.

Rom. 8:6       For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.

Rom. 8:11     And if the Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.

Rev. 22:1      And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.

Rev. 22:2      And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

Jer. 18:15      But My people have forgotten Me; / They burn incense to vanity, And they have been stumbled in their ways / From the ancient paths / To walk on bypaths, / On a way which is not cast up,

Micah 5:2      (But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, / So little to be among the thousands of Judah, / From you there will come forth to Me / He who is to be Ruler in Israel; / And His goings forth are from ancient times, / From the days of eternity.)

1. We are regenerated by participating in God’s life to become God’s species, God’s children, for God’s sonship—John 1:12-13; Rev. 21:7; 22:14b.

John 1:12      But as many as received Him, to them He gave the authority to become children of God, to those who believe into His name,

John 1:13      Who were begotten not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Rev. 21:7      He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be God to him, and he will be a son to Me.

Rev. 22:14    Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter by the gates into the city.

2. We are sanctified by participating in God’s nature to become as holy as the holy city—1 Thes. 5:23; Eph. 5:26.

1 Thes. 5:23  And the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly, and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Eph. 5:26      That He might sanctify her, cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word,

3. We are renewed by participating in God’s mind to become as new as the New Jerusalem—2 Cor. 4:16; Eph. 4:23.

2 Cor. 4:16    Therefore we do not lose heart; but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

Eph. 4:23      And that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind

4. We are transformed by participating in God’s being to be constituted with the Triune God as gold, silver (pearl), and precious stones—1 Cor. 3:12; 2 Cor. 3:18; Rom. 12:2; Rev. 21:18-21.

1 Cor. 3:12    But if anyone builds upon the foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, grass, stubble,

2 Cor. 3:18    But we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.

Rom. 12:2     And do not be fashioned according to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect.

Rev. 21:18    And the building work of its wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.

Rev. 21:19    The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone: the first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald;

Rev. 21:20    The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst.

Rev. 21:21    And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was, respectively, of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

5. We are conformed to the image of the firstborn Son of God by participating in God’s image to have the appearance of the New Jerusalem—Rom. 8:28-29; Rev. 21:11; 4:3.

Rom. 8:28     And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Rom. 8:29     Because those whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the Firstborn among many brothers;

Rev. 21:11    Having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.

Rev. 4:3        And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance, and there was a rainbow around the throne like an emerald in appearance.

6. We are glorified by participating in God’s glory to be completely permeated with the glory of the New Jerusalem—Rom. 8:21; Phil. 3:21; Rev. 21:11.

Rom. 8:21     In hope that the creation itself will also be freed from the slavery of corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

Phil. 3:21      Who will transfigure the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of His glory, according to His operation by which He is able even to subject all things to Himself.

Rev. 21:11    Having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.

III.  To live out and work out the New Jerusalem is to live out and work out God’s complete salvation according to the intrinsic essence and totality of the unique New Testament ministry, the ministry of the age, for the reality of the Body of Christ and a new revival—Phil. 1:19; 2:13; Rom. 5:10; 2 Cor. 4:1; Eph. 4:11-12, 16:

Phil. 1:19      For I know that for me this will turn out to salvation through your petition and the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

Phil. 2:13      For it is God who operates in you both the willing and the working for His good pleasure.

Rom. 5:10     For if we, being enemies, were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more we will be saved in His life, having been reconciled,

2 Cor. 4:1      Therefore having this ministry as we have been shown mercy, we do not lose heart;

Eph. 4:11      And He Himself gave some as apostles and some as prophets and some as evangelists and some as shepherds and teachers,

Eph. 4:12      For the perfecting of the saints unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ,

Eph. 4:16      Out from whom all the Body, being joined together and being knit together through every joint of the rich supply and through the operation in the measure of each one part, causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.

A.     The ministry of the Spirit is the ministry of the new covenant to deify us by inscribing our hearts with the Spirit of the living God as the divine and mystical “ink,” making us the living letters of Christ—this is the highest peak of the divine revelation—2 Cor. 3:3, 6, 8, 18; 4:1; Isa. 42:6; 49:6; Psa. 45:1-2:

2 Cor. 3:3      Since you are being manifested that you are a letter of Christ ministered by us, inscribed not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tablets of stone but in tablets of hearts of flesh.

2 Cor. 3:6      Who has also made us sufficient as ministers of a new covenant, ministers not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

2 Cor. 3:8      How shall the ministry of the Spirit not be more in glory?

2 Cor. 3:18    But we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.

2 Cor. 4:1      Therefore having this ministry as we have been shown mercy, we do not lose heart;

Isa. 42:6        I am Jehovah; I have called You in righteousness; / I have held You by the hand; / I have kept You and I have given You / As a covenant for the people, as a light for the nations;

Isa. 49:6        He says, It is too small a thing that You would be My Servant / To raise up the tribes of Jacob / And bring back the preserved of Israel; / I will also set You as a light of the nations / That You may be My salvation unto the ends of the earth.

Psa. 45:1       My heart overflows with a good matter; / I speak what I have composed concerning the King. / My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

Psa. 45:2       You are fairer than the sons of men; / Grace is poured upon Your lips; / Therefore God has blessed You forever.

1. By the ministry of the Spirit, we are “Christified” to become the city of life and the bride of Christ; thus, the Spirit as the consummated Triune God marries the bride as the transformed tripartite church to live a life that is the mingling of God and man as one spirit, a life that is superexcellent and that overflows with blessings and joy—Rom. 5:10; Rev. 2:7; 22:1-2, 17a.

Rom. 5:10     For if we, being enemies, were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more we will be saved in His life, having been reconciled,

Rev. 2:7        He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.

Rev. 22:1      And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.

Rev. 22:2      And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

Rev. 22:17    And the Spirit and the bride say, Come! And let him who hears say, Come! And let him who is thirsty come; let him who wills take the water of life freely.

2. In order to be constituted the ministers of the new covenant for the building up of the Body of Christ, we must experience all the aspects of the all-inclusive Spirit in 2 Corinthians—the anointing Spirit, the sealing Spirit, the pledging Spirit (1:21-22; 5:5), the inscribing Spirit (3:3), the life-giving Spirit (v. 6), the ministering Spirit (v. 8), the freeing Spirit (v. 17), the transforming Spirit (v. 18), and the transmitting Spirit (13:14).

2 Cor. 1:21    But the One who firmly attaches us with you unto Christ and has anointed us is God,

2 Cor. 1:22    He who has also sealed us and given the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.

2 Cor. 5:5      Now He who has wrought us for this very thing is God, who has given to us the Spirit as a pledge.

2 Cor. 3:3      Since you are being manifested that you are a letter of Christ ministered by us, inscribed not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tablets of stone but in tablets of hearts of flesh.

2 Cor. 3:6      Who has also made us sufficient as ministers of a new covenant, ministers not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

2 Cor. 3:8      How shall the ministry of the Spirit not be more in glory?

2 Cor. 3:17    And the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

2 Cor. 3:18    But we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.

2 Cor. 13:14  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

B.     The ministry of righteousness is the ministry of Christ as our objective righteousness for our justification and as our subjective righteousness “embroidered” into us by the transforming work of the Spirit for the living out and genuine expression of Christ—this is the God-man living—3:9; Psa. 45:13-14; Rom. 8:4; Psa. 23:3:

2 Cor. 3:9      For if there is glory with the ministry of condemnation, much more the ministry of righteousness abounds with glory.

Psa. 45:13     The king's daughter is all glorious within the royal abode; / Her garment is a woven work inwrought with gold.

Psa. 45:14     She will be led to the King in embroidered clothing; / The virgins behind her, her companions, / Will be brought to You.

Rom. 8:4       That the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the spirit.

Psa. 23:3       He restores my soul; He guides me on the paths of righteousness / For His name's sake.

1. By the ministry of righteousness, we receive Christ as our objective righteousness and enjoy Him as our subjective righteousness to become the New Jerusalem as the new creation of righteousness in the new heaven and new earth—1 Cor. 1:30; Phil. 3:9; 2 Pet. 3:13; cf. Isa. 33:22.

1 Cor. 1:30    But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom to us from God: both righteousness and sanctification and redemption,

Phil. 3:9        And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness which is out of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is out of God and based on faith,

2 Pet. 3:13     But according to His promise we are expecting new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

Isa. 33:22      For Jehovah is our Judge, / Jehovah is our Lawmaker, / Jehovah is our King; He will save us.

2. Objective righteousness (Christ given to us) issues in grace (Christ enjoyed by us), and grace issues in subjective righteousness (Christ lived out of us)—Rom. 5:1-2, 17-18; Luke 15:22-23.

Rom. 5:1       Therefore having been justified out of faith, we have peace toward God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Rom. 5:2       Through whom also we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand and boast because of the hope of the glory of God.

Rom. 5:17     For if, by the offense of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

Rom. 5:18     So then as it was through one offense unto condemnation to all men, so also it was through one righteous act unto justification of life to all men.

Luke 15:22    But the father said to his slaves, Bring out quickly the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.

Luke 15:23    And bring the fattened calf; slaughter it, and let us eat and be merry,

3. The power of grace operates in us and produces subjective righteousness, making us right with God, with others, and even with ourselves; it not only subdues sin but also overcomes Satan, sin, and death in our being, causing us to reign in life—2 Tim. 2:1; Rom. 5:17, 21.

2 Tim. 2:1     You therefore, my child, be empowered in the grace which is in Christ Jesus;

Rom. 5:17     For if, by the offense of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

Rom. 5:21     In order that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

4. The righteousness we receive for our justification is objective and enables us to meet the requirements of the righteous God, whereas the righteousnesses of the overcoming saints are subjective and enable them to meet the requirements of the overcoming Christ—Rev. 22:14; 19:7-8.

Rev. 22:14    Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter by the gates into the city.

Rev. 19:7      Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.

Rev. 19:8      And it was given to her that she should be clothed in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints.

C.     The ministry of reconciliation is the ministry of reconciling the world to Christ through the forgiveness of sins for their judicial redemption and the reconciling of the believers to Christ that they might be persons who live in the spirit, in the Holy of Holies, for their organic salvation—this is shepherding people according to God—2 Cor. 5:18-21; 1 Pet. 5:1-6; Heb. 13:20:

2 Cor. 5:18    But all things are out from God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Christ and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

2 Cor. 5:19    Namely, that God in Christ was reconciling the world to Himself, not accounting their offenses to them, and has put in us the word of reconciliation.

2 Cor. 5:20    On behalf of Christ then we are ambassadors, as God entreats you through us; we beseech you on behalf of Christ, Be reconciled to God.

2 Cor. 5:21    Him who did not know sin He made sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

1 Pet. 5:1       Therefore the elders among you I exhort, who am a fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, who am also a partaker of the glory to be revealed:

1 Pet. 5:2       Shepherd the flock of God among you, overseeing not under compulsion but willingly, according to God; not by seeking gain through base means but eagerly;

1 Pet. 5:3       Nor as lording it over your allotments but by becoming patterns of the flock.

1 Pet. 5:4       And when the Chief Shepherd is manifested, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

1 Pet. 5:5       In like manner, younger men, be subject to elders; and all of you gird yourselves with humility toward one another, because God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.

1 Pet. 5:6       Therefore be humbled under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time,

Heb. 13:20    Now the God of peace, He who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, in the blood of an eternal covenant,

1. The Lord’s present recovery is to bring us into the reality of Christ’s pneumatic shepherding in Psalm 23 as the issue of His redeeming death and church-producing resurrection in Psalm 22 and as the accomplishing factor of His coming as the King to establish His kingdom in Psalm 24.

Psa. 23          A Psalm of David

Psa. 23:1       Jehovah is my Shepherd; I will lack nothing.

Psa. 23:2       He makes me lie down in green pastures; / He leads me beside waters of rest.

Psa. 23:3       He restores my soul; He guides me on the paths of righteousness / For His name's sake.

Psa. 23:4       Even though I walk / Through the valley of the shadow of death, / I do not fear evil, / For You are with me; / Your rod and Your staff, / They comfort me.

Psa. 23:5       You spread a table before me / In the presence of my adversaries; / You anoint my head with oil; / My cup runs over.

Psa. 23:6       Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me / All the days of my life, / And I will dwell in the house of Jehovah / For the length of my days.

Psa. 22          To the choir director: according to the hind of the dawn. A Psalm of David

Psa. 22:1       My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? / Why are You so far from saving me, / From the words of my groaning?

Psa. 22:2       O my God, I call out in the day, but You do not answer; / And in the night, but there is no rest for me.

Psa. 22:3       But You are holy, You who sit enthroned / Upon the praises of Israel.

Psa. 22:4       In You our fathers trusted; / They trusted and You rescued them.

Psa. 22:5       To You they cried out and were delivered; / In You they trusted and were not put to shame.

Psa. 22:6       But I am a worm and not a man, / A reproach of men and one despised by the people.

Psa. 22:7       All who see me deride me; / They sneer at me; they shake their heads, saying,

Psa. 22:8       He committed himself to Jehovah; let Him rescue him; / Let Him deliver him since He takes pleasure in him.

Psa. 22:9       But You are the One who drew me forth from the womb, / Who made me trust while at my mother's breasts.

Psa. 22:10     I was cast upon You from birth; / From my mother's womb You have been my God.

Psa. 22:11     Do not be far from me, / For trouble is near, / For there is none to help me.

Psa. 22:12     Many bulls surround me; / The mighty bulls of Bashan encompass me.

Psa. 22:13     They open their mouth at me, / Like a ravening and roaring lion.

Psa. 22:14     I am poured out like water, / And all my bones are out of joint. / My heart is like wax; / It is melted within me.

Psa. 22:15     My strength is dried up like a shard, / And my tongue is stuck to my jaws; / You have put me in the dust of death.

Psa. 22:16     For dogs surround me; / A company of evildoers encloses me; / They pierce my hands and feet.

Psa. 22:17     I count all my bones; / They look, they stare at me.

Psa. 22:18     They divide my garments to themselves, / And for my clothing they cast lots.

Psa. 22:19     But You, O Jehovah, be not far off; / O my help, hasten to aid me.

Psa. 22:20     Deliver my soul from the sword, / My precious life from the power of the dog;

Psa. 22:21     Save me from the mouth of the lion; / Indeed while I am in the horns of wild oxen, answer me.

Psa. 22:22     I will declare Your name to my brothers; / In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.

Psa. 22:23     You who fear Jehovah, praise Him! / All you seed of Jacob, glorify Him! / And stand in awe of Him, all you seed of Israel!

Psa. 22:24     For He has not despised nor detested / The affliction of him who is afflicted; / And He has not hidden His face from him; / But when he cried out to Him, He heard.

Psa. 22:25     From You comes my praise in the great assembly; / My vows will I pay before those who fear Him.

Psa. 22:26     The lowly will eat and be satisfied; / Those who seek after Jehovah will praise Him — / May your hearts live forever!

Psa. 22:27     All the ends of the earth / Will remember and return to Jehovah, / And all families of the nations / Will worship before You;

Psa. 22:28     For the kingdom is Jehovah's, / And He rules among the nations.

Psa. 22:29     All the flourishing of the earth / Will eat and worship. / All who go down into the dust will bow down before Him, / Even he who does not keep his soul alive.

Psa. 22:30     A seed will serve Him; / That which concerns the Lord will be told to a coming generation.

Psa. 22:31     They will come and declare His righteousness / To a people yet to be born, that He has done this.

Psa. 24          A Psalm of David

Psa. 24:1       The earth is Jehovah's, and its fullness, / The habitable land and those who dwell in it.

Psa. 24:2       For it is He who founded it upon the seas / And established it upon the streams.

Psa. 24:3       Who may ascend the mountain of Jehovah, / And who may stand in His holy place?

Psa. 24:4       He who has clean hands and a pure heart, / Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood / Or sworn deceitfully.

Psa. 24:5       He will receive blessing from Jehovah, / And righteousness from the God of his salvation.

Psa. 24:6       This is the generation of those who seek Him, / Those who seek Your face, even Jacob. Selah.

Psa. 24:7       Lift up your heads, O gates; / And be lifted up, O long enduring doors; / And the King of glory will come in.

Psa. 24:8       Who is the King of glory? / Jehovah strong and mighty! / Jehovah mighty in battle!

Psa. 24:9       Lift up your heads, O gates; / And lift up, O long enduring doors; / And the King of glory will come in.

Psa. 24:10     Who is this King of glory? / Jehovah of hosts — / He is the King of glory! Selah.

2. By the ministry of reconciliation, we are shepherded into God to enjoy Him as the springs of waters of life so that we may become the eternal Zion as the corporate Holy of Holies, the place where God is—Rev. 7:14, 17; 14:1; 21:16, 22; Psa. 20:2; 24:1, 3, 7-10; 48:2; 50:2; 87:2; 125:1; Ezek. 48:35b.

Rev. 7:14      And I said to him, My lord, you know. And he said to me, These are those who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Rev. 7:17      For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and guide them to springs of waters of life; and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

Rev. 14:1      And I saw, and behold, the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him a hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.

Rev. 21:16    And the city lies square, and its length is as great as the breadth. And he measured the city with the reed to a length of twelve thousand stadia; the length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.

Rev. 21:22    And I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.

Psa. 20:2       May He send you help from the sanctuary / And support you from Zion.

Psa. 24:1       The earth is Jehovah's, and its fullness, / The habitable land and those who dwell in it.

Psa. 24:3       Who may ascend the mountain of Jehovah, / And who may stand in His holy place?

Psa. 24:7       Lift up your heads, O gates; / And be lifted up, O long enduring doors; / And the King of glory will come in.

Psa. 24:8       Who is the King of glory? / Jehovah strong and mighty! / Jehovah mighty in battle!

Psa. 24:9       Lift up your heads, O gates; / And lift up, O long enduring doors; / And the King of glory will come in.

Psa. 24:10     Who is this King of glory? / Jehovah of hosts — / He is the King of glory! Selah.

Psa. 48:2       Beautiful in elevation, / The joy of the whole earth, / Is Mount Zion, the sides of the north, / The city of the great King.

Psa. 50:2       Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, / God shines forth.

Psa. 87:2       Jehovah loves the gates of Zion / More than all the dwellings of Jacob.

Psa. 125:1     Those who trust in Jehovah are like Mount Zion, / Which cannot be moved but abides forever.

Ezek. 48:35   It shall be eighteen thousand reeds all around, and the name of the city from that day shall be, Jehovah Is There.

3. The ministry of reconciliation is the apostolic ministry in cooperation with Christ’s heavenly ministry to shepherd the flock of God for building up the Body of Christ to consummate the New Jerusalem according to God’s eternal economy—John 21:15-17; Acts 20:28-29; Rev. 1:12-13.

John 21:15    Then when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You. He said to him, Feed My lambs.

John 21:16    He said to him again a second time, Simon, son of John, do you love Me? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You. He said to him, Shepherd My sheep.

John 21:17    He said to him the third time, Simon, son of John, do you love Me? Peter was grieved that He said to him the third time, Do you love Me? And he said to Him, Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You. Jesus said to him, Feed My sheep.

Acts 20:28    Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among whom the Holy Spirit has placed you as overseers to shepherd the church of God, which He obtained through His own blood.

Acts 20:29    I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.

Rev. 1:12      And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me; and when I turned, I saw seven golden lampstands,

Rev. 1:13      And in the midst of the lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment reaching to the feet, and girded about at the breasts with a golden girdle.

IV.  The Lord’s recovery brings us back to the unique ministry of the New Testament; this ministry (2 Cor. 3:18; 4:1) has the following characteristics:

2 Cor. 3:18    But we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.

2 Cor. 4:1      Therefore having this ministry as we have been shown mercy, we do not lose heart;

A.     It ministers the healthy teaching of God’s economy and wars the good warfare against the different and strange teachings of the dissenters with the strange fire of man’s natural enthusiasm, natural affection, natural strength, and natural ability—1 Tim. 1:3-4, 18; Heb. 13:9; 2 Tim. 2:1-15; Lev. 10:1-11.

1 Tim. 1:3     Even as I exhorted you, when I was going into Macedonia, to remain in Ephesus in order that you might charge certain ones not to teach different things

1 Tim. 1:4     Nor to give heed to myths and unending genealogies, which produce questionings rather than God's economy, which is in faith.

1 Tim. 1:18   This charge I commit to you, my child Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you might war the good warfare,

Heb. 13:9      Do not be carried away by various strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be confirmed by grace, not by the food of sacrifices, by which those who walk were not profited.

2 Tim. 2:1     You therefore, my child, be empowered in the grace which is in Christ Jesus;

2 Tim. 2:2     And the things which you have heard from me through many witnesses, these commit to faithful men, who will be competent to teach others also.

2 Tim. 2:3     Suffer evil with me as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

2 Tim. 2:4     No one serving as a soldier entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please the one who enlisted him.

2 Tim. 2:5     And also if anyone contends in the games, he is not crowned unless he contends lawfully.

2 Tim. 2:6     The laboring farmer must be the first to partake of the fruit.

2 Tim. 2:7     Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in all things.

2 Tim. 2:8     Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, of the seed of David, according to my gospel,

2 Tim. 2:9     In which I suffer evil unto bonds as a criminal; but the word of God is not bound.

2 Tim. 2:10   Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the chosen ones, that they themselves also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

2 Tim. 2:11   Faithful is the word: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him;

2 Tim. 2:12   If we endure, we will also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us;

2 Tim. 2:13   If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

2 Tim. 2:14   Remind them of these things, solemnly charging them before God not to have contentions of words, which is useful for nothing, to the ruin of those who hear.

2 Tim. 2:15   Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, an unashamed workman, cutting straight the word of the truth.

Lev. 10:1      And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer, and put fire in them and laid incense on it, and they presented strange fire before Jehovah, which He had not commanded them.

Lev. 10:2      And fire came out from before Jehovah and consumed them, and they died before Jehovah.

Lev. 10:3      Then Moses said to Aaron, This is what Jehovah spoke, saying, In those who come near to Me I will be sanctified, / And before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron was silent.

Lev. 10:4      And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said to them, Come near; carry your brothers from before the sanctuary to the outside of the camp.

Lev. 10:5      So they came near and carried them in their tunics to the outside of the camp, just as Moses had said.

Lev. 10:6      Then Moses said to Aaron and to his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, Do not dishevel the hair of your heads, and do not tear your garments, that you may not die and that He may not be angry with all the assembly. But let your brothers, the whole house of Israel, weep for the burning which Jehovah has kindled.

Lev. 10:7      And you shall not go out from the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, lest you die; for the anointing oil of Jehovah is upon you. And they did according to the word of Moses.

Lev. 10:8      Then Jehovah spoke to Aaron, saying,

Lev. 10:9      Drink no wine or strong drink, neither you nor your sons with you, when you come into the Tent of Meeting, that you may not die; it shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations,

Lev. 10:10    Both to make a distinction between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean;

Lev. 10:11    And to teach the children of Israel all the statutes which Jehovah has spoken to them through Moses.

B.     It produces the local churches as the golden lampstands to be the testimony of Jesus with the same essence, appearance, and expression, and it builds up the one Body of Christ by the one Spirit, perfecting all of us into the oneness of the Triune God—Rev. 1:10-13, 20; John 17:23; Eph. 4:1-4, 11-13; Zech. 4:6.

Rev. 1:10      I was in spirit on the Lord's Day and heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet,

Rev. 1:11      Saying, What you see write in a scroll and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamos and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.

Rev. 1:12      And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me; and when I turned, I saw seven golden lampstands,

Rev. 1:13      And in the midst of the lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment reaching to the feet, and girded about at the breasts with a golden girdle.

Rev. 1:20      The mystery of the seven stars which you saw upon My right hand and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the messengers of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

John 17:23    I in them, and You in Me, that they may be perfected into one, that the world may know that You have sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.

Eph. 4:1        I beseech you therefore, I, the prisoner in the Lord, to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called,

Eph. 4:2        With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, bearing one another in love,

Eph. 4:3        Being diligent to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace:

Eph. 4:4        One Body and one Spirit, even as also you were called in one hope of your calling;

Eph. 4:11      And He Himself gave some as apostles and some as prophets and some as evangelists and some as shepherds and teachers,

Eph. 4:12      For the perfecting of the saints unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ,

Eph. 4:13      Until we all arrive at the oneness of the faith and of the full knowledge of the Son of God, at a full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,

Zech. 4:6       And he answered and spoke to me, saying, This is the word of Jehovah to Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says Jehovah of hosts.

C.     It prepares the overcomers to be Christ’s bride, His “queen,” in Himself as the “royal abode” and in the local churches as the “palaces of ivory” to consummate in the New Jerusalem as the “King’s palace”; it betroths us to Christ, stirring up our love for Him in the simplicity and the purity toward Christ, to make us His queen—Psa. 45:1-15; Rev. 21:2, 9-10; 2 Cor. 11:2-3.

Psa. 45:1       My heart overflows with a good matter; / I speak what I have composed concerning the King. / My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

Psa. 45:2       You are fairer than the sons of men; / Grace is poured upon Your lips; / Therefore God has blessed You forever.

Psa. 45:3       Gird Your sword upon Your thigh, O mighty One, / In Your majesty and Your splendor.

Psa. 45:4       And in Your splendor ride on victoriously / Because of truth and meekness and righteousness; / And let Your right hand teach You awesome deeds.

Psa. 45:5       Your arrows are sharp: / The peoples fall under You; / The arrows are in the heart of the King's enemies.

Psa. 45:6       Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; / The scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.

Psa. 45:7       You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; / Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You / With the oil of gladness above Your companions.

Psa. 45:8       All Your garments smell of myrrh and aloes, of cassia; / From palaces of ivory, harpstrings have made You glad.

Psa. 45:9       The daughters of kings are among Your most prized; / The queen stands at Your right hand in the gold of Ophir.

Psa. 45:10     Hear, O daughter, and see; and incline your ear; / And forget your people and your father's house;

Psa. 45:11     Thus the King will desire your beauty. / Because He is your Lord, / Worship Him.

Psa. 45:12     And the daughter of Tyre will come with a gift; / The rich among the people will entreat your favor.

Psa. 45:13     The king's daughter is all glorious within the royal abode; / Her garment is a woven work inwrought with gold.

Psa. 45:14     She will be led to the King in embroidered clothing; / The virgins behind her, her companions, / Will be brought to You.

Psa. 45:15     They will be led with rejoicing and exultation; / They will enter the King's palace.

Rev. 21:2      And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Rev. 21:9      And one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, Come here; I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.

Rev. 21:10    And he carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,

2 Cor. 11:2    For I am jealous over you with a jealousy of God; for I betrothed you to one husband to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.

2 Cor. 11:3    But I fear lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your thoughts would be corrupted from the simplicity and the purity toward Christ.

D.     It strengthens us to follow Christ in the fellowship of His sufferings on the pathway to glory, the way of the cross, for the manifestation and multiplication of life—John 12:24-26; Col. 1:24; 2 Cor. 4:10-11, 16-18; 11:23-33.

John 12:24    Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

John 12:25    He who loves his soul-life loses it; and he who hates his soul-life in this world shall keep it unto eternal life.

John 12:26    If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there also My servant will be. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.

Col. 1:24       I now rejoice in my sufferings on your behalf and fill up on my part that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His Body, which is the church;

2 Cor. 4:10    Always bearing about in the body the putting to death of Jesus that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

2 Cor. 4:11    For we who are alive are always being delivered unto death for Jesus' sake that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

2 Cor. 4:16    Therefore we do not lose heart; but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

2 Cor. 4:17    For our momentary lightness of affliction works out for us, more and more surpassingly, an eternal weight of glory,

2 Cor. 4:18    Because we do not regard the things which are seen but the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

2 Cor. 11:23  Ministers of Christ are they? I speak as being beside myself, I more so! In labors more abundantly, in imprisonments more abundantly, in stripes excessively, in deaths often.

2 Cor. 11:24  Under the hands of the Jews five times I received forty stripes less one;

2 Cor. 11:25  Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep;

2 Cor. 11:26  In journeys often, in dangers of rivers, in dangers of robbers, in dangers from my race, in dangers from the Gentiles, in dangers in the city, in dangers in the wilderness, in dangers in the sea, in dangers among false brothers;

2 Cor. 11:27  In labor and hardship; in watchings often; in hunger and thirst; in fastings often; in cold and nakedness-

2 Cor. 11:28  Apart from the things which have not been mentioned, there is this: the crowd of cares pressing upon me daily, the anxious concern for all the churches.

2 Cor. 11:29  Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is stumbled, and I myself do not burn?

2 Cor. 11:30  If I must boast, I will boast of the things of my weakness.

2 Cor. 11:31  The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, He who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.

2 Cor. 11:32  In Damascus, the governor under Aretas the king guarded the city of the Damascenes in order to seize me;

2 Cor. 11:33  And in a basket I was lowered through a window, through the wall, and escaped his hands.

E.      It dispenses Christ as grace, truth, life, and the Spirit into us for our revelation of Christ, our enjoyment of Christ, and our growth in life that we may be saved in life to reign in life—1:12, 24; Phil. 1:25; Rom. 5:10, 17.

2 Cor. 1:12    For our boasting is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in singleness and sincerity of God, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and more abundantly toward you.

2 Cor. 1:24    Not that we lord it over your faith, but we are fellow workers with you for your joy; for by faith you stand.

Phil. 1:25      And being confident of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of the faith,

Rom. 5:10     For if we, being enemies, were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more we will be saved in His life, having been reconciled,

Rom. 5:17     For if, by the offense of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

F.      It sanctifies us through the word of the truth and the washing of the water in the word; it also shepherds us with the cherishing and nourishing presence of the pneumatic Christ—John 17:17; Eph. 5:26, 29-30; Rev. 1:12-13.

John 17:17    Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.

Eph. 5:26      That He might sanctify her, cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word,

Eph. 5:29      For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ also the church,

Eph. 5:30      Because we are members of His Body.

Rev. 1:12      And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me; and when I turned, I saw seven golden lampstands,

Rev. 1:13      And in the midst of the lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment reaching to the feet, and girded about at the breasts with a golden girdle.

G.     It tears down hierarchy and blends us into one, making us all brothers of Christ, slaves of Christ, and members of Christ to be the one Body of Christ in reality; it also tears down the high places and exalts Christ alone to make Christ everything in the church—Matt. 23:8-12; 1 Cor. 12:24; Deut. 12:1-3; 2 Cor. 4:5; 10:3-5; Col. 3:10-11.

Matt. 23:8     But you, do not be called Rabbi, for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers.

Matt. 23:9     And do not call anyone on earth your father, for One is your Father, He who is in the heavens.

Matt. 23:10   Neither be called instructors, because One is your Instructor, the Christ.

Matt. 23:11   And the greatest among you shall be your servant.

Matt. 23:12   And he who will exalt himself shall be humbled, and he who will humble himself shall be exalted.

1 Cor. 12:24  But our comely members have no need. But God has blended the body together, giving more abundant honor to the member that lacked,

Deut. 12:1     These are the statutes and the ordinances that you shall be certain to do in the land which Jehovah, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth.

Deut. 12:2     You shall completely destroy all the places where the nations whom you will dispossess have served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every flourishing tree.

Deut. 12:3     And you shall tear down their altars and crush their pillars; and their Asherahs you shall burn with fire, and the idols of their gods you shall cut down; and you shall destroy their name from that place.

2 Cor. 4:5      For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus' sake.

2 Cor. 10:3    For though we walk in flesh, we do not war according to flesh;

2 Cor. 10:4    For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly but powerful before God for the overthrowing of strongholds,

2 Cor. 10:5    As we overthrow reasonings and every high thing rising up against the knowledge of God, and take captive every thought unto the obedience of Christ.

Col. 3:10       And have put on the new man, which is being renewed unto full knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,

Col. 3:11       Where there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all and in all.

H.     It brings all of us into function to practice the God-ordained way and leads us to follow the Lamb wherever He may go for the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom to the whole inhabited earth—Rom. 12:4-5; Eph. 4:11-12; Rev. 14:4; Matt. 24:14.

Rom. 12:4     For just as in one body we have many members, and all the members do not have the same function,

Rom. 12:5     So we who are many are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Eph. 4:11      And He Himself gave some as apostles and some as prophets and some as evangelists and some as shepherds and teachers,

Eph. 4:12      For the perfecting of the saints unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ,

Rev. 14:4      These are they who have not been defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are they who follow the Lamb wherever He may go. These were purchased from among men as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.

Matt. 24:14   And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole inhabited earth for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

I.       It brings us into a new revival of living out the New Jerusalem and working out the New Jerusalem to gain the reality of the Body of Christ as the highest peak in God’s economy—2 Cor. 3:6, 8-9; 5:18-20; Rom. 12:4-5; Eph. 4:4-6, 16.

2 Cor. 3:6      Who has also made us sufficient as ministers of a new covenant, ministers not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

2 Cor. 3:8      How shall the ministry of the Spirit not be more in glory?

2 Cor. 3:9      For if there is glory with the ministry of condemnation, much more the ministry of righteousness abounds with glory.

2 Cor. 5:18    But all things are out from God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Christ and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

2 Cor. 5:19    Namely, that God in Christ was reconciling the world to Himself, not accounting their offenses to them, and has put in us the word of reconciliation.

2 Cor. 5:20    On behalf of Christ then we are ambassadors, as God entreats you through us; we beseech you on behalf of Christ, Be reconciled to God.

Rom. 12:4     For just as in one body we have many members, and all the members do not have the same function,

Rom. 12:5     So we who are many are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Eph. 4:4        One Body and one Spirit, even as also you were called in one hope of your calling;

Eph. 4:5        One Lord, one faith, one baptism;

Eph. 4:6        One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Eph. 4:16      Out from whom all the Body, being joined together and being knit together through every joint of the rich supply and through the operation in the measure of each one part, causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.

 

Excerpts from the Ministry:

 

SERVING GOD ACCORDING TO THE COMPLETE VISION

From the time the apostle John completed the book of Revelation until today, nineteen centuries have passed. During the past nineteen hundred years, countless numbers of Christians have been serving God. Added to this great number of Christians serving God are the Jews, who also are serving God. Of course, the Jews serve only according to the vision of the Old Testament. Some Christians are serving according to the vision revealed in the New Testament Gospels, which has to do only with the earthly ministry of Jesus. Some serve without any vision at all. In order to serve God according to the up-to-date vision, we need to come up to the level of Paul’s very last Epistles. In fact, we need to come up to the level of the epistles to the seven churches in Revelation as well as the revelation that covers all the ages, including the kingdom, the new heaven and new earth, and the ultimate consummation of the church—the New Jerusalem. Simply put, in order for us to serve God today, our vision must extend all the way from the first vision of Adam in Genesis to the ultimate vision of the manifestation of the church, the New Jerusalem. This and this alone is the complete vision. It is not until today that this vision has been fully opened to us.

In the National Palace Museum in Taipei, there is a painting on a long scroll called “The River Scene at Ching-Ming Festival.” It describes in detail the culture, life, and way of the Chinese people at the time of the painting. It is not enough to see only the first few portions of that long scroll. One has to go all the way from one end to the other end before he can have a clear picture, or “vision,” of the entire spectrum of life in China. In the same way we have our own painting, our “River Scene at Ching-Ming,” in our service to God. It begins from Adam’s vision of the tree of life in the garden of Eden and extends all the way to the New Jerusalem with the tree of life. The New Jerusalem is the last scene of the vision. After that there is nothing more to be seen.

The problem today is, who has seen this complete vision, and who is living in this vision? During the past nineteen hundred years many people have been serving the Lord, but how have they served? Can we say that five hundred years ago Martin Luther saw this vision and was serving according to this vision? Throughout the ages many people were serving the Lord only according to the first few scenes. I hope that all the brothers and sisters would have an enlarged and far-reaching view. I hope they will realize that all the books that we have put out cover the entire spectrum from the first scene to the last scene. We are not serving God based on the first few scenes alone. We are serving God according to the last scene, which includes all the previous scenes.

Today many people have not seen what we have seen. They are merely serving according to the first few scenes, and they are even arguing with one another. The Jews are pious people; they are zealous in expounding the Scriptures from Genesis to Malachi, but they have only the Old Testament. Many Christians love the Lord and are zealous for the gospel. Yet they preach only the story of Jesus Christ. They have never progressed beyond the four Gospels. Some have seen only the vision of the book of Acts. Others have seen the vision of the Epistles. All these are fragmentary, but we should serve God according to the entire spectrum, from the first scene of Adam to the last scene in Revelation. It is for this reason that we face so much opposition. Many people say that we are wrong. They criticize us for “stealing sheep.” It is not that they do not love the Lord or serve God; it is that they love the Lord and serve God only according to the vision that they themselves have seen. Today we must be clear about the standing that we take. The goal of all our services, including preaching the gospel and edifying the believers, must be ultimately consummated in the New Jerusalem. Only then will we be unshaken in the face of any criticism.

CLOSELY FOLLOWING THE COMPLETED VISION OF THIS AGE

Since we have the up-to-date and ultimate vision, we should closely follow after it. We are absolutely not following a man; rather, we are following a vision. It is grossly wrong to say that we are following a certain person. We are following a vision that belongs to the present age. It is God’s consummate vision.

The Lord’s recovery was brought to us through our dear Brother Nee. Because of this he became a target of attack. In 1934 he was married in Hangchow. Some took this opportunity to stir up a storm. He became very sad, so one day I went to him to comfort him, saying, “Brother Nee, you know that between the two of us, there is no natural relationship. I do not take the way that you are taking or preach what you are preaching out of a natural friendship with you. The two of us are widely separated from each other. I am a northerner, and you are a southerner. Today I am taking the same pathway not because I am following you as a person. I am following the way that you are taking. Brother Nee, I would like you to know that even if one day you do not take this way, I will still take this way.” I said this because the storm affected some, and they decided not to take this way anymore. In other words, many people were following a man. When the man seemed to have changed, they turned away. But I told Brother Nee, “Even if one day you do not take this way, I will still take this way. I am not taking this way because of you, and I will not leave this way because of you. I have seen that this is the Lord’s way. I have seen the vision.”

Fifty-two years have passed. Today I do not regret at all what I have done. During the past fifty-two years I have seen the same story repeat itself again and again. Some people came and left. One scene changed, and another scene came along. Since the beginning of our work in Taiwan, during the past three decades we have witnessed some major crises. Even brothers whom I led to salvation and who went through my own training have left the Lord’s recovery. The vision has never changed, but the persons have indeed changed, and those who follow the vision also have changed. I would say a sober word to all of you from the bottom of my heart. By the Lord’s mercy I can stand here today to bring you this vision. I hope that you are not following me as a person; I hope that by the Lord’s mercy you are following the vision that I have shown you.

I have no intention to be proud. America is the leading country in this world. It is also the top Christian country. There are many theological professors there. When I went there, I spoke boldly about the vision that I saw. At the beginning their ears were pricked, but by now, some are speaking what we have seen. Up until today they are not able to put out a proper book to refute the truth that I have released. In order for them to write a book to refute me, they must first read my books, but once they read my books, they are convinced and subdued. They cannot refute anymore. Rather, they have to admit, “If you carefully and seriously read what this old Chinese man has written, you will discover that he has a solid basis for what he is saying. It is best not to challenge him in any matter. If you do, he can come back and ask you ten questions, none of which you can answer.” They are very clear about this.

I would like to relate to you one fact. It is the Lord’s mercy that He has revealed to me the vision. I advise you not to follow me but to follow this vision, which Brother Nee and all the servants of the Lord throughout the ages have left to us and which I have handed to you. This is indeed the vision that extends from the first scene of Adam to the last scene of the New Jerusalem. More than fifty years have passed. I have seen with my own eyes that those who take the way of the Lord’s recovery for a while and then leave do not come to a proper ending. There is only one way. All spiritual things are one. There is one God, one Lord, one Spirit, one church, one Body, one testimony, one way, one flow, and one work. If you do not take this way, you will have no way to take.

Some who left us once shouted and boldly declared that they had seen the vision. Today where is their vision? After so much shouting, the vision is lost. They have lost the way. To start a war one must have a proper cause. With a proper cause we have the boldness to say what we say. If we do not take this way today, what other way do we have? I speak this for myself also. What other cause can we take up? Between 1942 and 1948 there was a great storm, and Brother Nee was forced to discontinue his ministry for six years. At that time some saints who appreciated Brother Nee very much said, “Let us start another meeting.” Brother Nee said, “You must never do this. The church is the church; if it agrees with me, it is the church. If it does not agree with me, it is still the church. We can never set up another meeting apart from the church.”

Paul told Timothy, “All who are in Asia turned away from me” (2 Tim. 1:15), but Paul did not authorize Timothy to have another beginning. In the same way, at the time when almost everyone in China forsook Brother Nee, he did not try to make another beginning. This proves that even Paul and Brother Nee could not change the way they took. If they were to change the way, they would not have been able to go on.

This is my burden. I hope that you will clearly see the vision of the Lord’s recovery and will follow this vision. You are not following me as a person. Sister Faith Chang can testify for me. She witnessed how I followed Brother Nee absolutely, yet I was not following the person; I was following the vision that he saw. In that age the vision that came up to God’s standard was the vision that Brother Nee saw. If you remained in that vision, you were serving according to the vision. If you did not remain in that vision, you were not serving according to the vision. Today Brother Nee has passed away. I have no intention to make a new beginning, but the Lord has commissioned me with this ministry. I can only take the lead willingly and obediently. The vision that I have brought to you today is God’s vision for this age. If you remain in this vision, you are serving according to the vision. If you do not remain in this vision, you should be aware of what your end will be.

Therefore, you are not following a man; rather, you are standing with the Lord’s ministry. You are following a vision, a vision that matches the age, a vision that inherits all that was in the past and a vision that is all-inclusive. It is up to date, yet it builds on the past. If you remain in the book of Acts, you may have inherited everything prior to that time, but you are not up to date. Today as we stand here and ponder the revelations unveiled in the Lord’s recovery, as we read the publications that are released among us, we can see that they cover everything from the church to God’s economy to the New Jerusalem in the new heaven and new earth. This is a bountiful and all-sufficient vision. If you remain in this vision, you are serving according to the vision. If you are not in this vision, you could still be an Apollos, expounding the Scriptures in a powerful way; you could still be a Barnabas, visiting the churches; you could still be a James, serving piously; and you could even be a Peter, who served as the leading apostle. However, you would not be in the vision.

I believe that this light is very clear among us. No one can argue with this. I hope that the young brothers and sisters will all be clear about this. From your youth, while you are serving the Lord, you should understand what we are doing here. This is not a personal thing. It is absolutely the Lord’s ministry. He has unveiled the visions generation after generation to His children. All those who are in this vision now are serving according to God’s vision.

THE GENUINE ONE ACCORD

Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint, because there is no one accord. It is true that many people love the Lord and serve God, but everyone has his opinion and his own vision. As a result, there is no way to have the one accord. This is the reason that Christianity has become so weak. God’s people are divided and split apart. There are divisions everywhere. Although everyone says that he loves the Lord, there is no clear vision, and men are “carried about by every wind” (Eph. 4:14). Some among us also doubt, saying, “Are we the only ones who are right? Do not others also preach the gospel? Do they not also bring men to the Lord and edify them? Consider the aged James. He was more pious than Paul or Brother Nee. How can we say that he did not have a vision?”

Recently, while we were translating the New Testament Recovery Version, I used two Catholic translations among my references. In some expressions we felt that these Catholic translations are not bad. I joked with my helpers, saying, “In this sentence let us follow the Catholic Church.” My point is this: Although James was pious to the uttermost in Jerusalem, we cannot conclude from this that his pathway was the right one. We cannot conclude from this that he possessed the vision that matched the age. No, we must be clear what the genuine vision is.

I believe that this word will answer many questions in your heart. Although we are far behind many people in their zeal for preaching the gospel, although many people are more zealous and more burning in spirit than we are, and although we are poor, the vision is still with us. I truly hope that the young workers among us and the trainees would exercise themselves unto godliness. It does not mean that once we have the vision, we do not need to have godliness anymore, yet I hope that you would remember that godliness alone cannot match the vision. We certainly need to exercise ourselves unto godliness; we should not be loose, and our personality and character should be noble. But this does not mean that once we have a noble character, we are in the vision. In other words, our vision should be one that matches the age. It should also be one that includes everything that has gone before us. It should include the godliness of the Jews, the zeal of the evangelicals, and the genuine service.

Only then will we be able to practice an all-inclusive church life, the church life that Paul revealed to us (Rom. 14). We are not divided into sects, and we do not impose any special practice on anyone. We only live an all-inclusive church life. If we do this, we will have the genuine one accord.

Today we can be in one accord because we have only one vision and one view. We are all in this up-to-date, all-inheriting vision. We have only one viewpoint. We speak the same thing with one heart, one mouth, one voice, and one tone, serving the Lord together. The result is a power that will become our strong morale and our impact. This is our strength. Once the Lord’s recovery possesses this power, there will be the glory of increase and multiplication. Today our situation is not yet to that point; it is not yet at the peak. Although we do not have many major contentions, we do have some small complaints and criticisms. These things lower our morale.

When I returned to Taiwan in 1984, there was no morale at all because the one accord was gone. The goal was gone, and the vision had become blurred. At the present time we hope that the Lord would be merciful to us. We want to recover our morale, beginning from Taiwan. We want to recover our vision. We want to have the one accord, and we want to see clearly that there is only this one way. The churches in the Lord’s recovery should have the Lord’s testimony and a definite standing. Today there is still much ground for us to cover in the spreading of the Lord’s churches. We have to preach the gospel everywhere, build up the small groups, and teach the truth. With this goal in view, we should have no arguments and no different opinions. We should speak the same thing, think the same thing, and press on in one accord. Not only should the churches in Taiwan do this, but all the churches in all the continents throughout the earth should do this. If we do this, the power will be great. The Lord will surely grant us an open door because this is the way that the Lord wants to take today. (The Collected Works of Witness Lee, 1986, vol. 2, “Crucial Words of Leading in the Lord’s Recovery, Book 1: The Vision and Definite Steps for the Practice of the New Way,” pp. 40-46)

 
 
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