Christís Speaking to the Local Churches in Revelation


Additional Quotes about the Local Church by Witness Lee and Watchman Nee

The following passage from Witness Lee’s Life-Study of Revelation focuses on the Lord’s speaking to the church in Laodicea:

In verses 15 through 17 we see the condition of the church in Laodicea. In verses 15 and 16 the Lord says, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I am about to vomit you out of My mouth.” Once the recovered church becomes degraded, it is lukewarm—neither cold nor hot….This should be a warning to us. Once we become lukewarm, we are not fitting for the Lord’s move and shall be vomited out of His mouth.
In verse 17 the Lord says, “You say, I am rich and have become rich and have need of nothing.” The degraded recovered church (“assembly”) boasts of her riches (mainly in the knowledge of doctrines). She does not realize that she is poor in life, blind in sight, and naked in conduct. Therefore, as we shall see, she needs gold for her poverty, eyesalve for her blindness, and white garments for her nakedness, as mentioned in the following verse.
The most outstanding feature of those in the degraded assemblies is their pride. They think they know everything. Undoubtedly, they have much knowledge in doctrine. They do know the Bible better than those in the denominations. Although, in a sense, they know the Bible, what they have is mere knowledge. Because they have this knowledge, they consider themselves rich. But the Lord says that they actually are poor. They are not poor in knowledge, but they are poor in the riches of Christ. They have the knowledge concerning Christ, but they are poor in the enjoyment of the riches of Christ….In the eyes of the Lord, the degraded assemblies are wretched because they are proud of being rich in the vain knowledge of doctrines, but are sorely poor in the experience of the riches of Christ….
The degraded recovered church is also miserable because she is naked, blind, and full of shame and darkness. The proud degraded church is poor in the experience of Christ and in the spiritual reality of God’s economy. She mostly cares for vain knowledge, but scarcely cares for the living experiences of Christ. This is real poverty, the poverty that makes her wretched and miserable.
In the eyes of the Lord, the church in Laodicea is not only poor in the riches of Christ, but also blind in genuine spiritual things. She does not have true spiritual insight. Although she has some amount of knowledge about spiritual things, she has no insight.
We Christians have all received Christ as our objective righteousness to cover us like a robe. This is for our justification before God. After being justified in Christ, we need to live by Christ and to live out Christ, that He may be our subjective righteousness as another splendid robe to cover our daily walk. Due to the lack of the subjective experience of Christ, the degraded recovered church is naked in the eyes of the Lord. The vain knowledge of doctrines vanishes under the flaming eyes of the Lord, leaving those who hold them nakedly exposed. Only the experienced Christ can be our covering under His judging eyes.

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