Hi beloved saints! 🙂
I’m sorry I didn’t have many of you on my mailing list last term so this might be the first update you’re receiving, and I’m still missing a lot of people so feel free to forward to any other saints.
We started our term (my last term, again) on Monday finishing up our study of the crucial points in the book of Romans. This morning we studied the last crucial point in the book of Romans– the practice of the local churches. My view was uplifted SO much and my prayer is that Paul’s view, the Lord’s view of the local churches would become my view. We saw that the ultimate consummation of the gospel is the local churches and that it is the summit, the peak of God’s work. In Romans 12 we saw the matter of the Body, but without Romans 16 there is no Body in actuality or practicality. Romans 16 presents not the theory or doctrine of the church, but the practicality of the church life summarized in five aspects: serving the church, risking our lives for the church, having the church in our home, never considering the church as anyone’s but acknowledging that it is the church of Christ, giving hospitality to everyone in the church and being a host to all the churches. Brother Lee stresses over and over in the Life-studies that this is something PRACTICAL. I feel like sometimes I think of the church almost as an idea or theory– “oh, the glorious church, Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, I love the church”, but Paul lists the names of saints one by one and speaks highly of them, and we see patterns of saints serving the church, that is, serving people. I realized I don’t highly honor and regard all the saints and the churches the way the Lord does, but if we really saw this view we would be willing to pay any price, give all our material possessions, and even die for each one.
We also fellowshipped about how sometimes we are so awkward and uncomfortable when people ask “what church do you go to?” or have to explain the local churches, but why? It is something so beautiful, even the Apostle Paul concludes chapter 16 regarding the local churches with a melody of praise giving glory to God. Of course we don’t argue with people over it, but the local churches are part of the gospel; actually, it is the ultimate consummation of the gospel. If we really care for people to grow in life and experience Christ then we would want them to see this, to enter into the church life where they can realize the reality of the Body. We should not take it in a light way, but when we see what is revealed in Romans 16, the way we present the church to people would be so attractive.
It helped me further understand why Brother Nee and Brother Lee were so much for the local churches and why they faced so much persecution and opposition, and also attracted so many loving seekers of the Lord; we are not for certain practices found in the New Testament like meeting in the homes like the “house church movement” that is going on today, we are for the truth. They stood for the truth, and religionists opposed them and seekers were drawn to be absolute for the Lord’s recovery.
Another point I enjoyed:
In Romans 16:20 we see that in the local churches Satan is crushed under the feet of the saints, we experience the God of peace and we enjoy the grace of the Lord Jesus.
Tomorrow seven new trainees will be joining us and after our presentation of the book of Romans we will start pre-training. Next Thursday the majority of the Training will participate in the gospel trip to Europe. I will be going to Malaga, Spain where I will attempt to use my rusty Spanish to preach the gospel of the kingdom with all the saints.
Thank you again for all your prayers and practical care and support. It is truly a real, living pattern of everything I am seeing in the Word. May the Lord continue to build up Zion in the church in Dunn Loring, Washington, D.C. and all over the earth!