7 – The Ministry Bearing the Mark of Death and Resurrection (9)

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

Those who minister in this way, as our brothers did, are truly grains of wheat who allow the death of Christ to break the shell of their soul-life for the release of the eternal, uncreated, resurrection life of Christ from within them to nourish others with the riches of this life (Heb. 4:12; 1 John 5:11-13, 16). Furthermore, they are willing to be identified with Christ as the spiritual rock smitten on the cross to flow out the Spirit of life as the living water in resurrection, and because of this they experience the smiting, the termination, of their natural life through the work of the cross so that the life-giving Spirit as the river of water life can flow from within them to others freely, purely, and abundantly (Exo. 17:6; Num. 20:8; 1 Cor. 10:4; John 7:37-39; 19:34; 2 Cor. 4:10-11, 16; Rev. 22:1). Because the “alabaster flask” of their outer man is broken through the operation of the death of Christ, the fragrant “ointment” of “very valuable pure nard” within the flask—the indwelling compound Spirit as the ointment—can be released from them not only to satisfy the Lord but also to fill the church as the house of the living God with the fragrance of Christ as the resurrection life (John 12:3; Mark 14:3; Matt. 26:6-13; 1 Tim. 3:15; cf. Lev. 2:1). Their earthen vessels are broken through the application of the cross to their natural life, allowing them to manifest and minister to us the resurrected Christ of glory as the excellent and powerful treasure, thereby supplying the church with Christ as the life-giving Spirit, the sufficient grace, and the perfect power (2 Cor. 4:7-17; 3:6; 12:9, 10). They are also grains of sand who continually remain in the crucified Christ as the wounded oyster, receiving the life-giving Spirit as His life-juice around them and thereby being formed into pearls of great value (John 15:4-5; Phil. 3:10; 1:19; 1 Cor. 15:31, 45b), serving as gates of pearl, channels of life, through which God’s elect can enter into the blessings of the holy city, the New Jerusalem (Matt. 13:45-46; Rev. 21:21; 22:14). Undoubtedly, our brothers Watchman Nee and Witness Lee were such ones who experienced the death of Christ deeply and thoroughly for the release of the nourishing, flowing, fragrant, precious, and powerful resurrection life.

Since Brother Nee and Brother Lee carried out their ministry by dying to themselves to release the resurrection life, long after they went to be with the Lord their ministry remains and prevails throughout the earth. Many Christian revivals and groups have flourished and then withered, attracting a great following for a period of time only to fade away and lose impact after the death of their founders. This is primarily because of a shortage of the ministry of life due to an insufficient degree of experience of the death of Christ. In contrast, the ministry in the Lord’s recovery has stood the test of time in the past century. This is principally because our brothers’ work is not the mere endeavor of outward activity carried out by natural human zeal but the rich outflow of the resurrection life released through their continual experience of the death of the cross. The issue of their labor in the Lord is not a mass Christian movement animated by human effort and enthusiasm but the multiplication of the divine life produced through their death as grains of wheat and their ministry of the resurrection life.

Today we witness the result of their ministry of life: many local churches raised up throughout the earth to be practical expressions of the organic Body of Christ. The lasting result and the enduring impact of their ministry attest to the Lord’s approval of their ministry. Because they faithfully served the Lord by following Him into the ground, they and their ministry were honored by the Father (John 12:24-26), who as the God of resurrection recognizes only that which has passed through death into resurrection (Rom. 4:17; 8:11; 2 Cor. 1:9; Heb. 11:19). Although our brothers are now with the Lord, their ministry continues to be a source of life supply to the believers throughout the earth. By the Lord’s mercy and grace, many saints in the Lord’s recovery likewise are being perfected and supplied to take the way of falling into the ground and dying for the multiplication of Christ as life and the glorification of the Father. Because the Lord’s recovery among us was initiated, is sustained, and will be supplied by such a ministry of resurrection life released through death, “this work” is not “of men” but “of God”; hence, the recovery will not be overthrown but will continue to grow and prevail until the Lord returns (Acts 5:39).

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