Chapter 10: Those Who Perfected Me
Ephesians 4:11-12 And He Himself gave some as apostles and some as prophets and some as evangelists and some as shepherds and teachers, For the perfecting of the saints unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ.
On my spiritual journey, there are three brothers and sisters that have the greatest impact and help towards my spiritual life.
First, I would like to thank Brother Chi Wang, it is he that helped me to be clearly saved. Brother Zhi Wang has a formal name Weisan, he is Brother Zai Wang’s second younger brother. He was classmates with Watchman Nee, Zhongxing Lu, Zhaoxun Jiao, Guanxi Wei in the Trinity Seminary ran by the Angelican Church in Mt. Changqian in Fuzhou. In 1937, before the Second Sino-Japanese war broke out, he worked for the Lord in a meeting hall in Fuzhou, the Lord really blessed his work, gained some thru him, and those were all greatly used by the Lord. September 1935, when I was studying in Fuzhou Normal School, have many questions towards the faith, it is he who answered all of my questions, and let me be clearly saved. In the spring of 1937, I went to him again, and he asked me about my progress on Bible reading, and learned that I only had the New Testament Bible, not the entire Bible. So he gave me one, wrote four verses on the first page to encourage me, render me very big help. These four verses are:
Psalms 119:9 With what should a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your word
Romans 1:16a For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes.
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God
Acts 17:11b …examining the Scriptures daily…
Thru this, Brother Wang encouraged me: First, obey God’s Word, and let it cleanse my conduct; Two, do not consider the gospel a shame; three, That I treasure the truth of the Cross; fourth, that I read the Bible often. These four points are truly the needs of my spirit.
This Bible that he gave me, remained by my side for many of my days. After I graduated and worked all over, though sometimes I cannot participate in the church life, but the Lord touches me to read the Bible often, using His Word to be the bread of life and the light of my way.
When Brother Chi Wang was serving in Fuzhou, he was the vice editor of “The Bible” newsletter sponsored by Christian Alliance Mission. After the editor in chief, Bumin Zai got taken away by the Lord, he became the editor in chief. After the Second Sino-Japanese war started, he moved overseas, I never saw him again.
Second, I need to thank Brother Watchman Nee. Among those that perfected me on Life and truth, Brother Watchman Nee is the most pivotal. Though I heard him give a message in 1936 at Buqiandin Savior Chapel in Fuzhou, but truly contacting him, is in January of 1948. That time, Brother Witness Lee had just finished a conference in Fuzhou, with two sisters Peace Wang, Rachel Lee, moved to Haiguang street into Brother Nee’s house to stay, and have two, three days of fellowship with him. Later, after they got Brother Nee’s permission, letting all the co-workers of Fujian that had remained in Fuzhou to also come to Haiguang street to receive Brother Nee’s assistance. I was fortunate enough to join. At that time, I often stayed in the Church in Fuzhou to listen to Brother Nee preach and talk, and the benefits I get were immense. In March 1949, the second Kuling training started and I joined the training, for about four months long, I received his teaching and edification. At the end of the Kuling training, he personally wrote me a letter, the contents are as this: “brother so and so, you do not have any troubles in your spirituality, just pursue to be strong and to be rich in Christ. Your brother Watchman Nee.” Though the content in the letter was simple, with only one sentence, but points out the spiritual focus of my entire life, benefit me a lot. Decades later, I also often use “Pursue to be strong and to be rich in Christ” to encourage young brothers and sisters, and they get the help as well.
The help I got from Brother Nee are as follows:
- Brother Nee pays attention to a man’s situation before God. The man’s situation must be correct first, then God will approve of what they do. He has said, God pays attention to what a person is, over what a person does.
- Brother Nee puts utmost importance on life. He’s said, truth work is the flowing out of life, the service that counts is always the living out of Christ; and if you want the life to mature, then got to receive much dealing from the cross, there will be not riches of life if you left the cross.
- Brother Nee emphasizes that the man must break, so that the spirit can come out; the outward man needs to be torn down, the inward man would strengthen; a person need to receive the discipline of the Holy Spirit if they want the outward man to break.
- Brother Nee wants us to live in our spirit, not living in our mind and emotion. My mind is stronger, than he teaches me how to deal with the mind.
- Brother Nee emphasizes very much on the Body of Christ. He wants us not to be alone, but live within the Body, have the Body service and the Body life. He even said that seeing the Body of Christ is a saint’s second salvation.
- Brother Nee is very clear towards the vision of the Church. On the one hand, he sees the universal aspect of the Church, on the other hand, sees the locality of the church. Outwardly, the locality is the domain of the Church; inwardly, the Holy Spirit is the content of the Church. Only in the local church, is there practical service and building.
- Concerning the service of the Church, he felt that the emphasis should be on all functioning. Not just relying on the minority with five talents, two talents, but everyone with one talent should bring it out to function, not bury it, all become a living member, this way a church can be rich and be built up.
- Brother Nee taught us that we need to recognize authority, and obey God’s representative authority. And said, obedience is absolutely right, listening is relative; but do not listen to those who clearly disobey God’s will.
- Brother Nee’s life experience, is one of being under the cross and suffering. He had sacrificed a lot. He truly received Christ with both hands, and kicked away the world with his foot. His whole life is lived for the Lord, and was martyred eventually.
- The hymns that Brother Nee wrote are especially touching, utterly the realization of life experience. When people sing his hymns, they would often to be touched to the point of tearing up, and gain the profound life supply. “Let me love and not be respected, let me serve and not be rewarded, let me labor and not be remembered, Let me suffer and not be regarded, Tis the pouring not the drinking, This the breaking, no the keeping, A life suffering to seek other’s blessing. A life loving and true comfort giving. Not expecting pity and concern, Not accepting solace and applause, Even lonely, even forgotten, Even Wordless, even forsaken”. This is the best portrayal of Brother Nee’s whole life, and the best role model for those of us that walk the way of the cross.
The third saint who rendered the greatest help for me on spiritual life, is Sister Peace Wang. After the end of the second Kuling training, Brother Nee went to Hong Kong, Fuzhou’s “Christian Minister’s House” was given to Sister Wang to lead and manage. Those few years, I often when to “Minister’s House” in Fuzhou. Every time, aside from joining the corporate learning, I always have individual fellowship with Sister Wang, told her of a period of my spiritual situation, so that I might get her help. She gave me a deep impression, and her impression of me is not bad, she once praised me in front of a Brother He. In the few years of “Minister’s House”, on one hand, she leads young brothers and sisters to read the Bible, at the time we were read through the Book of Romans thoroughly. We studied it very thoroughly, not reading sentence by sentence, but referencing it word by word. On the other hand, she has strict demands on young saints, and give them pragmatic help. In order to get the life supply, many young saints liked to fellowship with her when they had problems.
“The Brief History of Sister Peace Wang” book published in Hong Kong, there is a message “The talks Sister Peace Wang had with young brothers in Minister’s House”, its content was very precious, it is good material for our learning. In the talks, Sister Peace Wang want us to be a right person. She said, “God wants you to be a right person, far more than for you to do a right thing. When a person’s spirit is wrong, though they did the right thing, would not be accepted by God. Though a person who is wrong did many right things, that’s worthless.” She also emphasized on living in the Body of Christ, and pay attention to coordination in the Body. She once said, “We have no way of living outside Christ, we also cannot leave the Body, and live outside the Body.” She also said, “The service that God needs today, is not a single lonely service, but a corporate service; not a sandbox service, but the mutual, coordinated service between the members of the church.” Sister Wang emphasized that a person’s self needs to be broken. She said, “If the self is not broken, then it will cause you to lose the ointment and peace. If we have no harmony between us, it’s because we only cared about ourselves, and lacked true compassion for others. If a person got reprimanded, and the spirit goes down, this proves that his self has not been broken, and still admire and satisfied with his self. Many individual grains of wheat cannot satisfy the Master, but must go thru being milled and broken, mixed together in water, baked by fire, to become a piece of bread. If they don’t plan on passing thru water and fire, not willing to be ground up, while you will still be a whole grain, but cannot satisfy the master’s heart.”
She also encouraged us, that we need to accept discipline. She said, “accepting dealings from contacting people, sometimes it is more beneficial than if you spent several hours praying. If we closed the door to be a Christian, the more we do, we will build up our self. But if we’re willing to let God to cast us down and be broken, then the building we get will be greater.” These words helped me a lot.
Not only is Sister Peace Wang’s spirituality great, she is clever in doing things, which is why she is one of Brother Nee’s empowering co-workers.
She is of aristocratic descent, has a noble bearing and conduct, she has intimate fellowship with the Lord, her face glows like an angel. Some say, “In my whole life, I have the chance to hear Brother Watchman Nee preach, and have the chance to see Sister Peace Wang’s face, is truly blessed.”
In the January of 1956, the churches in the whole country suffered great persecution, she and Sister Ruth Lee were arrested at the same time, and both were sentence to fifteen years. She was taken back to the heavenly home by the Lord. I often say this, among the brothers, Brother Watchman Nee gave me the most spiritual help; among the sisters, Sister Peace Wang gave me the most help.