The Meetings and Spiritual Exercise of the Local Church
Additional Quotes about the Local Church by Watchman Nee and Witness Lee
4. Small Group Meetings (Home Meetings)
Witness Lee speaks of the riches of Christ in the group meetings of the local churches :
Every group meeting is a digging meeting, and every district meeting, the larger meeting of the church, is a meeting to exhibit, to display, the riches. If we have fifty meeting together on the Lords Day, I believe five will be very rich. They will always have some riches in their pocket. If the others in the meeting do something to support and to supply the meeting, that is sufficient. If they do not, some of the rich ones can function to make up the lack. Therefore, no meeting will be empty.
Many of the brothers and sisters in the recovery have the riches of Christ, and they have the capacity to release these riches for the building up of the Body. They need to be given the opportunity to practice to release their riches. If we will be faithful to take the Lords ordained way, I believe that all the local churches will be brought on the right track within ten years. By that time the custom of the new way will be built up in the Lords recovery.
(Witness Lee, Summary, 48)
Watchman Nee states that the newly saved ones should meet regularly in the homes:
When God blesses our efforts in any place to the salvation of souls, we must see to it that the saved ones understand, from the outset, that the meetings which resulted in their salvation belong to the work and not to the church, and that they are the church and must therefore have their own church meetings. They must meet in their homes or in other places to pray, study the Word, break bread, and exercise their spiritual gifts; and in such meetings their object must be mutual helpfulness and mutual edification. Each individual must bear his share of responsibility and pass on to the others what he himself has received from the Lord. The conduct of the meetings should be the burden of no one individual, but all the members should bear the burden together, and they should seek to help one another depending upon the teaching and leading of the Spirit, and depending upon His empowering too. As soon as believers are saved, they should begin to assemble themselves regularly. Such gatherings of local believers are true church meetings.
(Watchman Nee, Collected Works, Set 2, Vol. 30, 177)
In describing the condition of the local churches in Romans, Witness Lee says that some meetings were held in the homes:
THE PRACTICAL LOCAL CHURCHES IN THE BOOK OF ROMANS
The subject of Romans 16 is the local churches. Romans 1 talks about the just having life and living by faith (v. 17). Chapter five talks about the believers justification unto life. Though chapter sixteen seems to only contain many verses which are just greetings, the focus of this chapter is not the greetings. This chapter shows us through the greetings the condition of the local churches at the time of Paul. The greetings manifest the condition of the churches.
First, in the church in Cenchrea, there was a sister named Phoebe who was a deaconess in the church. She had been a patroness of many and of the apostle (vv. 1-2). She was indeed worthy of being a saint. Paul hoped that the church in Rome would receive her as a noble saint and in a manner worthy of her noble status.
Second, the churches of the nations existed severally in various localities. They were not all in one locality (v. 4). Third, the church in the house of Prisca and Aquila was the church in Rome (16:3, 5a). This shows us that the number of saints in the church in Rome was probably not that large. Fourth, the churches of Christ were the local churches existing severally in various localities (16:16b). Fifth, the church of which Gaius was the host probably refers to the church in Corinth, which met in Gaius house. All these items show us the condition of the local churches at that time.
(Witness Lee, Salvation in Life, 51-52)
Witness Lee states that coordination is needed to open up the homes for meetings:
The way to open up the homes is in the Body in a coordinated way. Do not try to do it by yourself. I hope every local church will have a good coordination.
(Witness Lee, Preaching the Gospel, 27)
Witness Lee speaks of the home meetings as one part of the Lords move in the local churches:
Regardless of how large a local church becomes, there is still the need for the whole church to come together periodically. Such a gathering will be a great stirring up and encouragement to the saints.
In the Lords new move in the churches, we need the home meetings, the truth lessons, the Lords table, the prayer meeting, and we also need big meetings periodically to gather all the new ones together.
(Witness Lee, Eldership (1), 12-13)
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