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THERE IS THE DESPERATE NEED OF THE LIVING TRUTH
Suppose that on this earth among the human race there had never been such a book as the Bible. If we had not had a Bible in our hands during the past 2,000 years since the Lord Jesus resurrected and ascended to the heavens, everything would be in the air and nothing could be solid. Even the things concerning the Spirit could not be solid. The Spirit depends upon the Word. This is why the Lord said that the words that He spoke to us are spirit (John 6:63).… Without the Word the Spirit might be just “a phantom.” Today, however, we have the Bible. In innumerable instances we have seen that whenever people contact the holy Word, many times they get the Spirit, but it is hard to give an instance where people touch the Spirit and then they get the Word. There are a great many instances, however, which show us that when you touch the Word you get the Spirit. This is history. A principle has been set up through history that there is the desperate need of the living truth to produce the church, to help the church exist, and to build up the church.
THE MOST PROFITABLE WRITINGS AND PUBLICATIONS ARE THE LIFE-STUDY MESSAGES WITH THE NOTES OF THE RECOVERY VERSION
Through the past ten years up to the present time it has been fully proven among us that the most profitable writings and publications are the Life-study messages with the notes of the Recovery Version. I wrote these things, not for scholarly study for people to get a degree, but for life ministering, for truth releasing, and for opening up the books of the Bible.
THIS IS NOT TO REPLACE THE BIBLE，BUT TO BRING PEOPLE INTO THE BIBLE
The holy Word itself says in Psalm 119:130: “The opening of Your words gives light,”… Nearly everywhere you go today you find a Bible, but who has entered into the Bible? There has nearly been no entrance. Many have a copy of the Bible, but the Bible has been closed and nearly never opened. Now the Lord has given us a key, an opener. I consider our writings as the opener to open the holy Word. I believe that those of you who have read the Life-study messages can testify honestly that these messages with the notes of the Recovery Version have opened up a certain chapter or a certain book of the Bible to you. This is not to replace the Bible, but to bring people into the Bible.
SPENDING AT LEAST THIRTY MINUTES IN THE WORD EVERY DAY
We should help the saints to build up a practice or a habit that every day they would spend at least thirty minutes in the Word…. Some saints may decide to study the book of Romans or the book of Hebrews. They should study every day either three times of ten minutes each or one time of thirty minutes. We should charge them to pray-read two or three verses of this book every day. Then they have to study the accompanying message.… The saints do not need to pray-read the Life-study messages, but they have to pray-read the biblical verses in order to get the help to enter into the truth conveyed in these few verses. They also need the help of the notes and the Life-study messages to enter into the truth.
AFTER ONE YEAR OF STUDYING THE BIBLE IN THIS WAY，THERE WILL BE A SOLID CHANGE
After one year of studying the Bible in this way, there will be a solid change in the saints’ home life, private life, and church life. Therefore, as leading brothers try your best in your locality to stir up an atmosphere and to create a hunger and thirst in the saints after the Lord’s truth. Tell them that the truth is in the unique holy Word and that the best help to usher them into the Word is the Recovery Version with the notes and all the Life-studies. Of course, we should not practice anything legal. We should not make these things a legal matter that the saints are required to do. However, if the saints do love the Lord’s recovery, they must get themselves fed all the time with the healthy food that they may be strong. As a result of eating a proper, regular diet, the saints will be strong and the Lord will have a strong testimony.(Elders' Training, Book 03: The Way to Carry Out the Vision, pp. 102-104, 108~111 )
According to its function, the small group gathering includes nearly all of the church life. In the small groups, there can be teaching, which is related to the aspect of the truth, there can be shepherding, which is the aspect of life, and there can also be care and support, which is the aspect of practical living. In addition, in the small groups there can also be gospel preaching. If a church can thoroughly take care of all these aspects: the teaching of the truth, the shepherding in life, and the care and support in practical living, then this church can be said to be considerably established.
The Bible Being Needed In Order To Have Both Teaching and Shepherding
Teaching cannot be detached from the truth in the Bible, and shepherding and teaching are like two cords of one rope twisted together, actually being one. In Ephesians 4:11, we see that shepherds and teachers are the same group of people. If we desire to shepherd others, we need to know how to teach; if we would like our teaching to be effective, we must be shepherds. Therefore, shepherding and teaching are the two cords of one rope; if they are twisted together, there is strength. For this reason, the fellowship meeting in the small groups must use the Bible; otherwise, teaching is not done, and neither is shepherding. When teaching and shepherding are carried out in a good way, there will definitely be care and support. So the key here is how to use the Bible in the fellowship meeting of the small groups.
The Best Material Being the New Testament Recovery Version and the Life-studies
In the fellowship meeting of the small groups, we can use the New Testament Recovery Version and the Life-studies as material. Life-studies are written by taking life as the line, life as the focus, and life as the content. We all know that the Bible is a book of life; the history of the Bible is to support the line of life; and the characters in the Bible are to give us examples to testify life. We can say that everything in the Bible centers on life.
Releasing the Light of the Truth and Supplying the Riches of Life in Every Meeting
Take the Life-study of Romans as an example; its content is truly rich and inexhaustible. However, when we release the light of the truth and supply the riches of life in the small groups, it does not matter whether our speaking is thorough or not. As long as some light of the truth is released and some riches of life are supplied in one meeting, the goal is achieved. We do not ask all of you to be like theologians and learn the entire book of Romans. (The Proper Aggressiveness of the Lord’s Serving Ones, pp. 46-48, 59, in Chinese)
Teaching in Mutuality
For the perfecting of the saints, there is the need of teaching in the group meetings, and in the group meetings all are teachers. There should not be a particular teacher. Even one who was saved two weeks ago can be a little teacher. After there has been some fellowship, interceding, mutual care, and shepherding with the exercise of the spirit in the small group meeting, a brother may suddenly ask a question. He may ask what God’s dispensing is. All the eyes may turn to the oldest one in the meeting, but it may be better for one who has been recently saved to answer the brother. This gives him the opportunity to speak. This newly saved one may say, “God’s dispensing is for Him to distribute Himself into our spirit.” Suppose such a one has been saved for only one or two months. Everyone would be encouraged by his speaking. It is much better if six or seven speak for a few minutes than if one person speaks for a longer time. This kind of teaching is rich and all-inclusive. Its many aspects are much better than a meeting where only one is speaking. If everyone speaks, all the saints will be happy, and all will learn. This is the way for all to be perfected. If there is someone there who is really high in spiritual knowledge and in the experience of life, he may give a conclusion of perhaps ten minutes. (The Exercise and Practice of the God-Ordained Way, pp. 232-233 )
I pray that in the meetings you will all be filled in spirit. Especially with those who have received grace, you must bear the responsibility to pray and be filled with a praying spirit. As soon as the meeting begins, your spirit will come forth. I often use playing in a basketball game as an illustration. When you are in the ball court, you cannot be so delicate and elegant when the ball comes. Rather, as soon as you start playing you should forget about your self-consciousness, your face, and everything else, and concentrate only on the ball and getting it into the hoop; your goal is to gain more points. It is the same in the small group meeting. As soon as we arrive at the meeting, we forget about everything else; we only remember the spirit. The spirit is our ball. We should also remember to release the light in the truth and to supply the riches of life. Our goal is that after every meeting all those in attendance, including ourselves, will feel enlightened and supplied.
Diligently Practicing and Preparing for the Material
I lay before you a simple and practical way. I hope that before every small group gathering you will simply and diligently read the verses and the footnotes in the [New Testament] Recovery Version, and you will also read the related portion in the Life-study messages. If you practice according to what I said, marking the places that are useful and putting aside what will not be used, after six months or a year, you will become more experienced and proficient. You should realize that we are not giving an inspirational message, speaking by inspiration; rather, we are learning to apply the material we already have.
The Whole Church Pursuing and Entering Into the Material In This Way
If every small group in the whole church would pursue and enter into the material in this way, it will be easier to lead the church as a whole, and the entire church will be in step as it marches forward. (The Proper Aggressiveness of the Lord’s Serving Ones, pp 55, 58-59, in Chinese)
Key Verses and Central Lane
The Light of the Truth
The Supply of the Life