The Church and the Work

Principles of the Work

1. The Principle of Jerusalem and of Antioch

According to the principle of Jerusalem, the believers in a local church migrate to other cities for the sake of the gospel. According to the principle of Antioch, workers travel to preach the gospel and establish other local church. Watchman Nee explains the need for both principles below:

Antioch is the case of the church producing the work, whereas Jerusalem is the case of the work producing the church. Today, we should first come back to take the way of Jerusalem. Later, we hope that some local churches can practice the principle of Antioch. First Corinthians 12 speaks of the Body on earth. It deals with the question of the church on earth. That is why it says that the apostles and the prophets produce the church.
Today, we need both principles. On the one hand, the church produces the apostles. On the other hand, the apostles produce the church. If our work can progress along these two lines simultaneously, we will see great blessings ahead of us. On the one hand, we should consolidate the work. On the other hand, as soon as people are saved, we should tell them that they live for the gospel. We should not wait until the persecutions arise. We should send them out right away. This is the Lord’s way.

(Watchman Nee and Witness Lee, Resumption, 391)

Watchman Nee in the following excerpt expresses the need for the edification of the believers in order to equip them to migrate for the sake of the gospel:

After the brothers and sisters in a local church have received a certain amount of edification, the church should encourage them to receive the Lord’s leading to migrate to other localities and far away places for the sake of the gospel.
When the gospel went out from Jerusalem in the beginning, there were two lines. The first line consisted of the believers scattering abroad and preaching the gospel. The second line consisted of apostles doing the same thing. The gospel preaching in the first half of Acts (before chapter thirteen) was done almost entirely along the first line, while the gospel preaching in the second half of Acts (beginning in chapter thirteen) was done almost entirely along the second line. In God’s eyes the believers’ preaching is as significant as that of the apostles’ preaching. God’s desire is to have His gospel preached to the entire creation through these two lines. Unfortunately, today nearly all of the preaching of the gospel is along the line of the apostles; almost no one preaches along the line of the believers. Consequently, the gospel cannot go out as fast as in the beginning. For the sake of the spread of the gospel in these last days, we should allow God to recover the line of the believers’ preaching.

(Watchman Nee, Collected Works, Set 3, Vol. 55, 50-51)

From Watchman Nee’s explanation, we can see that the work and the local churches go hand in hand. The apostles carry out the work to produce the local churches, and the local churches raise up and send out the apostles.

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