- There needs to be a group of saints functioning together in every meeting to bear the responsibility for the meeting.
- In the Lord’s table meeting, we need to learn to touch the spirit of the meeting, which is a corporate spirit, and follow this spirit in coordination.
- We need to learn to touch our spirit in the big and small matters of our daily life to be accustomed to the sense of our spirit; then when we go to the meetings, spontaneously we will touch the spirit of the meeting.
The Importance of the Meetings
The Christian life is a meeting life. Matthew 18:20 says, “Where there are two or three gathered into My name, there am I in their midst.” Moreover, Hebrews 10:25 says, “Not abandoning our own assembling together.” Since the Christian life is a meeting life and much of the Lord’s work is carried out through the meetings, we must regard Christian meetings as an important matter.
Bearing the Responsibility for the Meetings
It will be difficult for a meeting to have the rich presence of the Lord if we do not bear responsibility for the meeting by exercising our spirit and living according to the spirit. If the Holy Spirit cannot find channels in a meeting, the saints whom we bring to the meeting will not be moved or benefited. The brothers and sisters in a small group meeting must see that they should not only pray for those in their group and fellowship with them, but they should also learn to bear responsibility along with the elders for the meetings.
As described in 1 Corinthians 14, some may have a psalm, a teaching, or a revelation; we should function according to the spirit so that others will see that God is indeed among us (vv. 25-26). This kind of church meeting is a meeting according to the Scriptures. Meetings for preaching the gospel or for ministering the word may be taken care of by a few brothers. But when the whole church is gathered together for exhortation or for the exercise of gifts, all the saints should participate by following the spirit within. The brothers and sisters should follow the spirit to bear the burden and responsibility for the meeting.
At the Lord’s table meeting, if none of the elders or responsible brothers who are sitting in the front row select a hymn, the meeting will not begin. This shows that we are not bearing the responsibility for the meeting. If the elders would not call a hymn, we would simply sit there. It is as if we are behaving as guests invited to a meal instead of cooking it. A meeting should not have to wait for a responsible brother to call a hymn before it can begin. Where does this practice come from? It comes from our unwillingness to bear responsibility for the meetings. When we come to a meeting to pray and worship God, we all have an equal standing; we are all brothers and sisters.
Touching the Spirit of the Meeting and Following the Spirit
The most important points of a meeting are to learn to touch the spirit of the meeting and to follow the spirit of the meeting. Every meeting has a spirit, and the spirit is not always the same. When we fellowship with the Lord privately, we can follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in us as an individual, but in the meetings we must learn to follow the spirit of the meeting. At the Lord’s table meeting, the move of the Holy Spirit may cause us to sense the Lord’s love or the preciousness and worth of the Lord’s redemption. He may cause us to sense the Lord’s presence or our oneness with the Lord. Every meeting has a spirit, just as every person has a spirit. Because the spirit of the meeting is a corporate spirit, we must learn to touch the spirit of the meeting and follow this spirit. Those who are learned find that it is easy to do this. Sometimes everyone says Amen inwardly when someone selects a hymn. We would have selected that hymn even if a brother had not selected it. If we have learned to touch the spirit of the meeting, we may even feel that a certain brother should select the hymn. Sometimes we have a sense that a particular brother should stand up and speak something, and a moment later he will stand up without being prompted. If each of us learns to touch the spirit of the meeting and to follow the spirit of the meeting, the Holy Spirit would have more liberty in the meetings and would flow out of us more easily.
Living in the Spirit and Walking in the Spirit in our Daily Life
What kind of learning do we need before we can touch and follow the spirit in the meeting? First, we must learn to be before the Lord in our daily life by following the spirit, not our mind. Once we sense that something is wrong, we must deal with it before the Lord. If our spirit senses that we should not speak, we should submit to that sense. If our spirit senses that we should give up certain matters, we should do so. In every matter, big or small, we must learn to touch our spirit. We must learn to bring our being into the spirit and to exercise our will strongly to turn to God from our emotions, preferences, goals, perspectives, and tendencies. We should submit to the sense in our spirit. If we practice this all the time, we will be accustomed to living in the spirit. We will live before God, and we will be spiritual persons. Then when we go to the meetings, we will spontaneously touch the spirit of the meeting. Suppose we have a dish of food that smells delicious. If we have a healthy sense of smell, we will smell the food as soon as we enter the room, but if we have a cold, our nose will not be able to smell. In the same way, if our spirit is clear, transparent, fresh, and sensitive, we will be able to touch the move of the Spirit in the meeting.
Being Fully Open to the Lord and to the Meeting
When we come to a meeting, we must learn to fully open ourselves to the Lord and to the meeting. This affords the Holy Spirit the opportunity to use us and to touch us. This also enables us to sense the atmosphere and flavor of the meeting so that we know which hymn to select and how to pray. Therefore, we must be open in the meetings and be ready to receive the burden from the Holy Spirit. Many brothers and sisters do not prepare themselves before a meeting. They do not remember that there is a meeting until ten minutes before the meeting begins. Then they hurriedly rush to the meeting without bearing any burden for the meeting, and their spirit is still closed. Then at the meeting only a few brothers will take care of the meeting to select hymns and pray; they are like priests for the church who minister on behalf of the saints. Although this is not prearranged, every attendant knows that someone will select a hymn and someone will pray; everyone else can simply sit, watch, and do nothing because a few brothers will bear the full responsibility. Since a few brothers will take the lead to select a hymn and to pray, the rest of the saints can relax and enjoy. We should never be like this. Prior to any meeting we should open our spirit. After we sit down in the meeting, we should seek the Lord as to what He desires us to do. We must touch the feeling of the Holy Spirit and receive inspiration from Him. If we are open in this way, the Holy Spirit will surely move us to receive the burden.
Needing a Group of Priests to Bear the Ark in the Meetings
The saints must come together to pray and fellowship. There needs to be a group of faithful ones, maybe between ten and twenty-five saints. Every one of these saints must be charged, including the elders, to bear the Ark of the Testimony on their shoulders. Before every meeting, these dear saints should be living in the Spirit and should get themselves fully ready to bear the Ark. The meeting is the Ark, the testimony. We need some faithful ones like the Levites to bear the Ark. The most devastating thing to me is to come into a meeting with no one bearing the Ark. You also must realize that the Ark cannot be carried on by one person. There is the need for coordination. To bear the Ark needs a team. There needs to be a group of priests functioning in each meeting to bear the ark. The church belongs to the saints, and the meetings are the saints’ meetings. Some of the saints are still young, yet a good number have grown up, and they are serving and bearing some responsibility. It is good to have a time of fellowship with the saints to share this burden together. Get with them to reconsider how to take care of the church and the church meetings. If you do this, I believe that you will see something positive.
We must take the meetings seriously and not conduct ourselves according to our mood and excitement. We all need to realize that we come to a meeting to fulfill our priestly ministry, to function; we do not come to take care of our mood and excitement. If we start work at eight, we should be at our place of work exactly at eight. Likewise, whenever we come to the meeting, we must mean business. We need to diligently exercise our spirit. We should exercise our spirit when we are happy and when we are unhappy. We need to take the meeting as our responsibility. When we come to the meeting, we should function in the meeting and bear the burden of the meeting. If we meet in this way, the brothers and sisters will enjoy coming to the meetings, because they will be inwardly touched by God and will testify that God is indeed among us in our meetings.
Offering Thanksgiving and Praises According to Revelation
Most people praise according to their experiences of God, but generally, this kind of praise is not very high. A brother may pray that the Lord died for him on the cross while he was yet a sinner. Such prayers are low prayers. Thanksgiving and praises that are high come from revelation. If God enlightens us, and we are brought into the Lord’s glory, His holiness, and we see the great accomplishment of the Lord’s death and His exalted resurrection and ascension, our prayer and praise will be vastly different. When the church becomes rich, the tone of its praises will become high. Every one of us should read the Bible and ask God for revelation. We should ask Him to show us His love. The praises in the Bible are all according to revelation. Hannah’s praise in the Old Testament and Mary’s thanksgiving in the New Testament both mention God’s greatness. If the church today sees a little more, our meetings will have richer praises.
- Who should bear the burden and responsibility for the meeting? Which verses in the Bible show us this?
- How can we learn to sense the spirit of the meeting and to follow it?
- What are a few helpful steps we can practice to learn how to bear responsibility for the meetings?
Excerpts taken from Guidelines for the Lord’s Table Meeting and the Pursuit in Life, Chapters 2-3; Elders’ Training, Book 3: The Way to Carry Out the Vision, Chapter 11; and The Recovery of the Church according to the Pattern on the Mountain, Chapter 3