7 – The Ministry Bearing the Mark of Death and Resurrection (4)

From chapter seven of The Ministers in the Lord’s Recovery – Genuine Ministers of the New Covenant

Yet another bout of attack came in the late 1980s as a small number of men who had been reputed to be pillars in the churches became divisive and attempted to overthrow the ministry in the Lord’s recovery—seeking to draw the saints in the churches after themselves and their own so-called ministries (Acts 20:30). But once the darkness of the turmoil passed, the day manifested each one’s work: whereas Brother Lee’s ministry budded, blossomed, and bore fruit, that of the dissenting ones became dead, dry, and fruitless (Num. 17:5-8). Those who had been under the speaking of the dissenters testified that when these ones were under the Lord’s ministry in His recovery, their speaking imparted life and light and was full of authority and anointing, but after they abandoned the ministry, their speaking injected death and darkness and lacked both authority and anointing. In contrast, Brother Lee’s ministry continued to yield fruit to feed the Lord’s children with resurrection life , and his ministry only grew richer, stronger, and higher (2 Cor. 3:6; 4:17). As a beneficiary and eyewitness of Brother Lee’s ministry in that last decade, I can testify that in this most mature stage of his life and ministry, each time he ministered the word rivers of living water flowed out of his innermost being (John 7:38), raising the tide of life in the Body of Christ (Rev. 22:1).

The Lord’s blessing also bore witness to whose was the genuine ministry. Overwhelmingly, the churches that followed the dissenting ones became barren and decreased in numbers, while those that continued to receive the ministry in the recovery flourished. The dissenters, who once banded together to undermine Brother Lee’s ministry, eventually divided from one another, and many of the saints who had joined them sadly returned to their former manner of life in the world or to the divided and degraded situation in organized Christianity (Eph. 4:17-22). In contrast, many hundreds of saints who have remained under the ministry in the Lord’s recovery are still being brought deeper into the divine oneness and its attendant blessings (Psa. 133:1-3; cf. Eph. 4:3-6). The storms have not only served to discipline, educate, and test these saints but also to establish them for the furtherance of God’s move in His economy. For instance, in January 1991 Brother Lee observed that in the immediate aftermath of the turmoil in the late 1980s, “Actually, while we were passing through a turmoil in which the enemy attempted to destroy the church, the Lord still gave the church a twenty-five percent increase through our early practice of the new way.”56 Further, beginning in 1991 many saints migrated to Russia and Eastern European countries for the spread the Lord’s testimony there. This fresh move of the Lord in the recovery through His ministry was richly blessed, resulting in the raising up of many churches in the former Soviet Union, an atheist nation, and in Eastern Europe. As a result of the saints’ labor under this ministry, by October 1996 at least thirty-seven churches had been established in the former Soviet Union. Today there are one hundred ninety-one churches in that region, comprising approximately five thousand saints. This abundant blessing on the work of the ministry was a manifestation of the fruit of the resurrection life and a strong vindication of the Lord’s ministry in His recovery.

Regrettably, among believers today it is rare to find those who are willing to take this costly way of death and resurrection or appreciate its value in the Lord’s eyes. In how many so-called ordination ceremonies are newly initiated ministers instructed that what qualifies them to serve God is to be terminated through the cross and brought into resurrection? On the contrary, in organized Christianity ministers of the word are trained to develop their natural life, ability, and strength, with the view that the Spirit will employ their human capacity, eloquence, and charisma in His work of grace upon a congregation. Hardly a preacher today has the notion, much less the experience, that the Spirit is actually within him and seeks to be released by the breaking of his outer man. By contrast, in the Lord’s recovery the constricted way to minister the word is to deny every aspect of the natural life by being conformed to Christ’s death in order to impart the Spirit as the reality of resurrection life (Matt. 7:13-14; 16:24; Psa. 16:11; Phil. 3:10; Rom. 1:3-4; 8:11). This way was pioneered by the Lord Jesus Himself, was faithfully followed by the apostles, and remains a mark of the New Testament ministry. As the faithful disciples stayed with the Lord because only He had words of eternal life (John 6:68), should we not remain with those who have taken the way of the cross in order to receive from them the supply of resurrection life (Phil. 1:19; 2:16)? We should heed Paul’s word to not be ashamed of either the Lord’s testimony or of His servants (2 Tim. 1:8). How very regrettable it would be if we mistook the shame and death they suffer as signs of their being disapproved and were thus defrauded of the riches of resurrection wrought into them for our sake!

56 CWWL, 1991-1992, vol. 1, p. 39

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