In order to reach the vital groups as the reality of the Body of Christ, the Zion within Jerusalem, we need to be vitalized individually and grouped corporately. In three previous posts (“Becoming Vital: Step 2”, “I Am Not My Own”, and “Life or Death”), we have considered mainly the individual aspect which cannot be overemphasized because it is the foundation of the groups. In Chapter 24 of “Fellowship Concerning the Urgent Need of the Vital Groups”, Brother Witness Lee said:
We have made it clear that the way to produce the vital groups is that each of us must take the lead to be vital.
He then described the process of becoming vital individually:
In order to be vital, we first must have a thorough fellowship with the Lord. Then that fellowship will bring us into a kind of realization that we are totally sinful. Then we will be brought into a thorough confession of our sins. Spontaneously, we will re-consecrate ourselves. We will pray, “Lord, now I would like to consecrate myself to You anew.” Then that will bring us into a prayer life. No one can pray unceasingly without reaching this stage. When we pass through the stages of fellowship, confession, and consecration, we enter into a prayer life. It is in this prayer life that we pray ourselves into the Spirit…If this is the case with us, we are really vital.
This crucial sequence of experience mirrors that of the prophet Isaiah in the Old Testament and Peter in the New Testament. In Isaiah chapter 6, while he was in a state of depression due to the degradation of Israel and the death of King Uzziah, Isaiah received a vision of Christ in glory (vv. 1-4). This vision led him to confess, “Woe is me, for I am finished! For I am a man of unclean lips, and in the midst of a people of unclean lips I dwell” (v. 5). Right away the cleansing came (vv. 6-7) and Isaiah responded to the call to be sent (v. 8). In Luke chapter 5, Peter, James and John were met by the Lord while fishing. After catching a great number of fish by obeying the Lord’s command (vv. 4-7), Peter “fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man” (v. 8). Jesus then responded, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will be catching men alive” (v. 10). As a result, Peter, James, and John “left all and followed Him” (v.11).
In both cases, these ones saw something of the Lord, confessed, and consecrated their lives to serve Him. These crucial steps are summarized in an outline at the end of the book, “Fellowship Concerning the Urgent Need of the Vital Groups”:
HOW TO PRODUCE AND ESTABLISH A VITAL GROUP IN THE CHURCH LIFE
- By one saint to be made vital—living and active:
- Through the absolute, clear, and thorough fellowship with the Lord continuously.
- Through the thorough confession of sins, transgressions, failures, defects, mistakes, wrongdoings, etc., hidden or manifested, before God and before men.
- Through the absolute and thorough consecration of oneself with everything to the Lord.
- Through the unceasing and desperate prayer.
- Through the soaking of the infilling and outpouring of the Spirit.
- By contacting another seeking saint:
- To fellowship with him or her according to the above procedures.
- To make him or her vital and join with you as a group.
- Both of you continuing to contact other seeking saints and making them vital to join with you and to increase your group.
- Until your group reaches about ten, dividing it into two groups, and instructing each of the two groups to do the same thing as you have done with them.
In the following weeks, we will begin to consider the second aspect of vital groups (Roman numeral II of the above outline) – being grouped.
“Lord, make us vital personally and group us corporately!”