As the Lord's children, we need a proper spiritual life. We also need the proper spiritual service. This book, which contains messages given by Witness Lee in 1963 and 1969 in Los Angeles, California, covers the three basic matters crucial to serving the Lord in the church. It shows us that for the proper Christian service we must serve in the Body, in our human spirit, and by prayer.
The Bible reveals that the foundation of all genuine Christian service is the built up church. God's unique goal is to gain a Body for Christ. He did not regenerate us to be individual units complete in ourselves (Col. 3:15), but to be members of this unique Body (1 Cor. 12:12, 20) which is a corporate entity, a spiritual house, a holy and royal priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5, 9). Having been placed in the Body (1 Cor. 12:18), as members we must be tempered together (1 Cor. 12:24), and as living stones we must be built up together (1 Pet. 2:5). Our service should never be carried out in an independent way or in an individualistic manner, but in coordination with the other members in the Body (Rom. 12:4-5). Our service must be something of the Body, in the Body, with the Body, and for the Body. To enter into the reality and practicality of this service, growth in life is necessary. Without the growth in life the church cannot be built up (Eph. 2:21; 4:15-16), and without the built up church there cannot be the genuine service.
Also, without the Holy Spirit we do not have the way to serve. However, to apply the Holy Spirit in our service, we must serve God in our human spirit (Rom. 1:9), even in newness of spirit (Rom. 7:6). When we were regenerated, we were born of the Holy Spirit in our spirit (John 3:6), and we became one spirit with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17). From this time onward we need to live, to walk, to act, and to serve in the spirit. The main purpose of our service is to minister Christ as life to others; thus, as we serve the Lord in the Body, we must use our spirit to contact the Triune God (John 4:24). In the book of Ephesians, a book on the Body of Christ, Paul speaks of our regenerated human spirit in every chapter (1:17; 2:22; 3:16; 4:23; 5:18; 6:18). Whether we serve the Lord in preaching the gospel, offering a prayer, ministering the Word, visiting the saints, or calling a hymn in a meeting, we must exercise our spirit. By the exercise of our spirit we appropriate the Triune God every time we serve.
Furthermore, we must serve by prayer. The book of Acts reveals that the Christians in the early days of the church age served by prayer (Acts 1:14, 24; 2:42; 3:1; 6:4; 10:2-4, 9; 11:5; 12:5; 13:1-3; 14:23; 16:25; 20:36; 28:8). This was the only means used by them to carry out the Lord's work. Thus, we all need an appetite for prayer, for without prayer there is poverty in our service. We need much prayer individually and corporately, never initiating or doing anything without it, and always praying in our spirit (Eph. 6:18). Today, we need the prevailing prayer which is of the Body, identified with the Body, and in our spirit.
The concepts about service and the teachings concerning service that most Christians have received have become veils that frustrate their vision and confuse them. Very few have entered into the reality of the proper Christian service. May the Lord take away all our veils and show us the vision portrayed in this book. May we all become those whose service is in the Body, in our spirit, and by prayer. We all must pray that in these days the Lord will gain this unique and genuine service in many localities throughout the world.
PARTI - THE BASIS OF OUR SERVICE
1 Serve by Being Built Up in the Body 2 The Tests of Our Seeing the Body 3 The Relationship of Our Spirit to the Body 4 Serving in Our Human Spirit 5 Serve by Praying
PART II - A PRACTICAL APPLICATION
6 The Service of the Priesthood
7 Serving in the Spirit to Minister Christ to Others