October 19, 2019

Intimate and Thorough

Once we have been grouped with one or two vital companions, often the tendency is to start talking about gospel contacts or discussing how to carry out a successful “home” meeting. The danger, however, is that we may overlook the matter of being blended through intimate and thorough fellowship. In Chapter 10 of “Fellowship Concerning the Urgent Need of the Vital Groups”, Brother Lee says:

Our fellowship should be not only intimate but also thorough. We may know one another, but we may not know one another thoroughly… In the vital groups the members first need to know one another intimately and thoroughly…

…We need to build up an intimacy with all the members of our group. To do this, one sister may call another during the day for a few minutes of contact and fellowship. If we love one another, we will always feel that we miss one another. If we would contact one another in this way, we will see the difference. We will be enlivened and stirred up to love the Lord. Our hearts will also be softened toward one another, and we will be able to receive something from one another.

Along the same line, Brother Lee says in Chapter 24 of the same book:

We may come together as groups, and yet not have this kind of fellowship. Instead, we are all very reserved. We open up ourselves to a certain extent and no more. We like to cover and hide many things concerning our situation. As a result, there is no thorough fellowship. When there is no thorough fellowship, there is no thorough blending. Then we cannot see the proper mutual intercession, the proper mutual care, and the proper mutual shepherding.

Later on in this chapter, Brother Lee points out that fellowship is the basis for blending but instead of practicing the fellowship, we have been practicing hypocrisy, hiding ourselves under a mask. He also points out that the more we are known by others in a proper way, the better, since it will put away our pride, boasting, and superiority and inferiority complexes. Then he states:

Without the blending, the Lord has no way to go on with us. Blending is the Body, blending is the oneness, and blending is the one accord…

The reason we tend to want to talk about gospel friends, new ones, and the meetings is because it is usually easier to talk about others. As the enemy of the Body, the self does not like to be known by others and be exposed because that is the beginning of blending. That is why we hide under our masks and answer “Good” whenever we are asked, “How are you doing?”

During a fellowship with fourth-term FTTA trainee brothers several years ago, Brother Ed Marks spoke frankly concerning our need to know and love one another. He said that we might be in a coordination meeting with some brothers and we notice a brother who is not praying. Right away, we begin to criticize him inwardly, “What is wrong with you? Why don’t you exercise your spirit, brother? Everyone is tired, not just you.” But what we don’t know is that his wife is in the hospital and he barely made it to the meeting. This hypothetical scenario exposes how little we actually know and therefore care for each other, even in a service group or in any other kind of group. Instead, we care more about the work than for the ones we are working with. We have to consider each other as brothers first and not fellow workers and fellow soldiers first (Phil. 2:25). Actually, every group should be a blended loaf, a vital group. This is the reason why Brother Lee charged the elders in Anaheim to love one another and one another’s children and for their wives to also love one another. To him, the eldership must be a vital group that is blended with intimate and thorough fellowship. Eventually, we have to realize that God is after a Body, a blended loaf (1 Cor. 10:17) and not individual spiritual but distinct and unblendable grains.

Finally, we have to realize that this kind of blending for the formation of vital groups takes time. For example, the Lord took three-and-a-half years, 24/7, to blend the disciples together. But what is produced is highly valuable to God and formidable to the enemy. As a blended barley loaf, a vital group is able to roll through and destroy the enemy’s camps. May we all learn to open ourselves to our companions in order to have intimate and thorough fellowship so that we may be blended into the vital groups that the Lord needs.

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