Archive for the ‘Watchman Nee’ Tag
This is from the Singapore Christian blog:
Why are so many churches desolate, poor and in ruin. According to Watchman Nee, the late Chinese church leader and Christian leader, who was writing in his book ‘The Ministry of God’s Word‘, it is because they lack proper ministers whom the Lord can use to deliver His Word.
One basic problem in the church is the lack of proper ministers of the word. This does not mean that God’s word is rare or that the vision or light is unclear. It means that there is a shortage of men whom God can use. God desires that the spirits of prophets be subject to prophets. Who are the prophets to whom the spirits of the prophets will be subject? Can the spirits of prophets be subject to those who walk according to their own will, who give ground to the flesh, and who are stubborn in their mind and emotion? If a man does not bear the mark of the cross in his spirit, he is a wild and proud man. He may have suffered years of discipline, but he is not yet defeated. The Lord’s smiting hand may have been on him once, twice, or even ten times, but he is still not defeated. In spite of the Lord’s repeated chastisement, he is still unyielding. Such a man proves himself to be a useless vessel. Is the problem before us a shortage of vision, light, or the word? No. It is a shortage of prophets whom God can use.
[Indeed], the problem today lies entirely with the ministers. There is no scarcity of vision, light, or God’s word. The problem today is that God cannot find proper ministers. Many times God’s light ceases to be visible to others when it is put into our mouth. Many people speak about the Holy Spirit in their messages, but others do not touch the Holy Spirit. On the contrary, they touch the flesh. Many people speak about God’s holiness, but others do not sense any holiness in them. They only touch a frivolous spirit. Some speak about the cross on the platform, but others can sense that they have never passed through any dealings. There is not even a trace of the cross in them. Some like to speak of love, but only temper, rather than love, is expressed through them. All of these cases speak of a basic problem – something is wrong with the ministers. If all the preaching on this earth today were in the principle of ministry, the church would be very rich. It is unfortunate that there is very little of God’s word despite all of the preaching! This is the basic problem in the church today. Without ministers, there is no inspiration and no revelation. With many people, the more they preach, the further their speaking is from being an inspiration, from being the release of any light, and from being qualified to be called revelation. The problem is with the preachers; they are not the ones whom God can use. God cannot use such men, yet He does not want to speak alone. This is a problem. He has the word, yet He does not want to release this word by Himself. He does not want to be the minister of the word; He wants man to be the minister of His word.
Brothers, God will not speak by Himself. If ministers cannot speak His word, what will be the condition of the church? The church is desolate, poor, and in ruin because human elements have not come up to the standard of God’s word. If God can find a person who has been dealt with by Him, who is broken, and who is prostrate on his face, God’s word will flow through him. We are looking all the time for God’s word, but He is looking all the time for men whom He can use. We are looking for God’s word, while He is looking for ministers. If we are unwilling to be dealt with, we will not be able to work for God. We must not think that such dealings are optional. We should not presume that, after hearing a certain number of messages, we can release the same word. No! If a person is not proper, his message will not be proper. Man can hinder God’s word. The Holy Spirit is not released through the word alone. When God’s word comes to us, we must be free from all hindrances. We must be broken, and we must bear the mark of the cross. Our spirit must be a smitten spirit. God can only use such persons, and the Holy Spirit will only flow through such persons. If the Holy Spirit is locked within us, the hindrance and frustration is our outer man, our emotion, and our temperament. When such things are present within us, surely God’s word cannot flow through us. Even if we deliver a wonderful sermon, in reality it is nothing but words, teachings, and doctrines; there is not the word of God.
This morning I got a ride from Ashton, Idaho to West Yellowstone, Montana with a couple of guys. I don’t remember the driver’s name, but he was originally from China. He has lived in LA for the past ten years. He was with his son. He spoke some English, but sometimes it was hard to understand him at times.
He was a Christian. I asked him who were the first Christian missionaries to China. He said the Portuguese were; I thought the British were.
They were from southern China. He said something very interesting: he said that someone from Shang-hai would not be able to understand someone from Hong Kong. The national language is Mandarin and there is also a Cantonese language that is spoken in China.
I told him about Watchman Nee and that Nee was a well-known Chinese Christian writer who died in prison in 1972. He had never heard of Watchman Nee. Maybe Nee is better known in North America; maybe the Communists tried to suppress Nee’s writings. I told him that The Spiritual Man by Watchman Nee was a classic.
They dropped me off in West Yellowstone and we took some photos. He said that his son would stay with him for a month and then go back to China. It was a very edifying trip to West Yellowstone.
This is from the blog White Raiment:
“If you are a called one, then you are a called out one. If God has called you at all then he has called you to live in spirit outside the world system. Originally we were in that Satanic system with no way of escape; but we were called, and that calling brought us out. True, that statement is a negative one, but there is a positive side also to our constitution; for as the people of God we have two titles, each of them significant according to the way we view ourselves: If we look back at our past history we are ekklesia, the Church; but if we look to our present life in God we are the Body of Christ, the expression on earth of him who is in heaven. From the standpoint of God’s choice of us we are ‘out of’ the world; but from the standpoint of our new life we are not of the world at all, but from above. On the one hand we are a chosen people, called and delivered out of the world system. On the other we are a regenerate people, utterly unrelated to that system because by the Spirit we are born from above. So John sees the holy city coming down ‘out of heaven from God’ (Rev. 21:10). As the people of God, heaven is not only our destiny but our origin.
“This is an amazing thing, that in you and me there is an element that is essentially otherworldly. So otherworldly is it indeed that no matter how this world may progress, it can never advance one step in likeness to that. The life we have as God’s gift came from heaven and never was in the world at all. It has no correspondence with the world but is in perfect correspondence with heaven; and though we must mingle with the world daily, it will never let us settle down and feel at home there.”
An excerpt from What Shall This Man Do? by Watchman Nee:
Pages 117-118: “It is weight that counts. Wood, hay, stubble are cheap, light, temporary; gold, silver, precious stones are costly, weighty, eternal. Here is the key to value. The heavy metals, the gold of the divine character and glory, the silver of his redemptive work: these are the materials he prizes. Not merely what we preach, but what we are, weighs with God; not doctrine, but the character of Christ wrought out in us by God’s orderings, by God’s testings, by the Spirit’s patient workings. Work that is of God is work that has been to the Cross. When our work has been that way, we can rest assured that it will in the end survive the fire. Not ‘Where is the need most evident? What ideas and resources have I got? How much can I do? How soon can I put that doctrine into practice?’ but, ‘Where is God moving? What is there of him there? How far is it his will for me to go? What is the mind of the Spirit on this?’—these are the questions of the truly crucified servant. He recognizes God’s ‘Go’ and his ‘Speak,’ but also his ‘Wait,’ and his ‘Go, but say only so much.’ Aware of his own weakness and emptiness, his greatest lesson is to commit his way to God and learn to see him move.
“The problem lies in our failure to understand that, in God’s work, man in himself is of no use. Wood, hay, stubble, these suggest what is essentially of man and of the flesh. They imply what is common, ordinary, easily and cheaply acquired—and of course perishable. Grass today may clothe the earth with beauty, but where is it tomorrow? Human intellect may give us a grasp of Scripture; natural eloquence may have the power to attract; emotion may carry us along; feelings may seem to supply a guiding sense—but to what? God looks for more solid values than these. Many of us can preach well enough, but we are wrong. We talk of the flesh but don’t know its perils; we talk of the Spirit but would we recognize him were he really to move us? Too much of our work for God depends not on his will and purpose but on our feelings—or even, God forgive us! on the weather. Like chaff and stubble, it is carried away by the wind. Given the right mood we may accomplish a lot, but just as easily, in adverse conditions, we may down tools entirely. No, as the fire will one day prove, work that is dependent on feelings or on the wind of revival is of little use to God. When God commands, feelings or not feelings, we must learn to do.”
Excerpt from What Shall This Man Do? by Watchman Nee:
Page 31: “Christianity always involves a personal knowledge of God through his Spirit, and not merely the knowing of his will through the medium of a man or a book. Many Christians today have a book-knowledge of Christ; they know him indeed through God’s own Book, but they have no vital relationship with him. Worse still, many know him only ‘by hearsay,’ from their pastor or from some other man, but they are not in direct communication with him. Their knowledge is outward, not inward; and let me affirm that anything short of a personal, inward revelation of the Lord is not Christianity. In seeking to know God’s will under the old covenant, men were restricted to the law and the prophets, but under the New Covenant God has promised that ‘they shall not teach each his fellow-citizen, and each his brother, saying, Know the Lord; because all shall know me in themselves, from the little one unto the great among them’ (Heb. 8: 11). ‘You shall know him in yourselves,’ and knowing him thus it will be unnecessary to refer either to a ‘brother’ or a ‘neighbor’ for information concerning the Lord. Christianity is based not on information but on revelation. That is where the Lord began with Peter in the very passage before us: ‘Blessed art thou, Simon, . . . for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.’ The Kingdom of God is founded on a personal knowledge of the Lord which comes through a direct speaking by him and a direct hearing by you and me.”
Excerpts from The Messenger of the Cross by Watchman Nee:
Page 26: “Let us read another Scripture passage to help us understand what is the difference between depending on natural life and depending on supernatural life. ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a grain of wheat fall into the earth and die, it abideth by itself alone; but if it die, it beareth much fruit. He that loveth his life loseth it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal’ (John 12.24, 25).”
Page 28: “But what does this phrase ‘fall into the earth and die’ really mean? By reading the succeeding words which the Lord utters here, we may readily understand: ‘He that loveth his life loseth it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal’ (12.25). In the Greek original, two different words are used for the several times ‘life’ is mentioned here. One Greek word psuche has reference to the soul life or natural life; the other word zoe signifies the spirit life or supernatural life. Hence what the Lord is actually saying here is: ‘He that loveth his soul life loseth the spirit life; and he that hateth his soul life in this world shall keep the spirit life unto eternity.’ To put it simply, we should deliver the soul life to death, just as the grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies; and then by our spirit life many grains will come forth and be kept to eternity. How we long to bear much fruit, yet we do not know how to let the soul life die and the spirit life live.
“Soul life is our natural life. It is the soul life which enables our flesh to live. It is therefore the life factor of the natural man. A person’s natural endowment belongs to the soul—such elements as our will, strength, emotions, thought, and so forth. These things which all natural lives share in common are accessories of the soul life. Our cleverness, reasoning, eloquence, affection, and ability belong to the soul life. The spirit life, though, is the life of God. It is not an evolvement from any part of the soul life but is a life especially given to us by the Holy Spirit when we believe in the finished work of the cross of the Lord Jesus and are saved. God is then in us to quicken this spirit life so that it may grow and thus become the power of all our good deeds and works. It is the will of God for Him to put our soul life in the place of death (note, however, that this is different from the death prescribed in 2 Corinthians 4).”
Training the spirit and the soul
An Intellectual Dilemma