The Jews also have laws and regulations for their daily life (God only uses the law to make men know their sins). Whoever is a Jew must keep the Ten Commandments. But the Lord Jesus says clearly that even if you have kept the Ten Commandments, you still lack one thing (Luke 18:20-22). Judaism has a standard of principles for daily living which is written on tablets of stone. These must be memorized. But there is a problem: If I am literate, I know them; if I am illiterate, I do not know them. If I have a good memory, I can remember them; if I do not have a good memory, I cannot remember them. This is Judaism. The daily-living standard of Judaism is dead; it is something outward. In the church there is no law; rather, its law is in another place. It is not written on tablets of stone but on tablets of the heart. The law of the Spirit of life is within us. The Holy Spirit dwells in us; the Holy Spirit is our law. Read Hebrews 8 and Jeremiah 31. In Hebrews 8:10 God says, “I will impart My laws into their mind, and on their hearts I will inscribe them” (cf. Jer. 31:33). Right or wrong is not on tablets of stone but in the heart. Today our special feature is that the Spirit of God dwells in us.
I would like to recount a story which expresses this meaning. In Kuling there was a Mr. Yu, an electrician, who had very little schooling. Later, he was saved. When the days grew cold, he was about to drink wine according to his old habit. The meal was ready, the wine was warmed, and he, his wife, and an apprentice were all seated and ready to eat. He started to say grace; yet for some time no sound came forth. At length he said, “Now that I am a Christian, I wonder if it is right for Christians to drink wine. It is too bad Brother Nee has left; otherwise, we could ask him. Let us search the Bible to see if it is all right for Christians to drink wine.” So the three of them began to turn the pages of the Bible, but they could find nothing. At last the wife suggested that they take it this time. Later, she said, they could write a letter to me, and if I replied that it is not right to drink, they would quit; if I replied that it is all right to drink, they could continue. So Brother Yu stood again and prepared to say grace. But again no sound came forth for a short while. After this incident I met him, and the matter was brought up. I asked if he actually drank at that time, and he replied, “The `householder’ who dwells within me would not allow me to do it; so I did not drink.” There is a “householder”—this is a very good statement. If the Holy Spirit disagrees, whatever we may say avails nothing; if the Holy Spirit agrees, whatever we may say also avails nothing. The law becomes an inward matter, not an outward one.
There are written laws and regulations in Judaism. Today there are also many written rules and regulations in the “church,” but this is not the church. Any regulation that is set up outwardly is not the church. We do not have outward laws; our standard of daily living is inward. The tribulation of the church in Smyrna was due to the fact that those who called themselves Jews were imposing Judaistic regulations upon her.
In Judaism the men who worship and the God who is worshipped are separated and far removed from each other. The distance is Judaism. When man sees the God of Judaism, he will immediately die. How can those in Judaism draw near to God? They must depend upon the priest as a mediator. The priests represent them to God. The people are secular; they can only do secular things and be worldly. But the priests should be entirely holy and attend to holy things. The responsibility of the Jews is to bring the ox or the sheep to the temple. As for the matter of serving God, that is the business of the priests, not the business of the Jews. But in the church it is not so. In the church God not only wants us to bring material things to Him. He also desires that we, the people, come to Him. Today the mediatorial class has been abolished. What were the words of blasphemy spoken by the Jews? Some in the church in Smyrna were saying, “There will be no order at all if the brothers can baptize people, if the brothers can break the bread, and if everything is given to the brothers to do! That would be terrible!” They wanted to establish a mediatorial class.
Today’s Christianity has already been Judaized. Judaism has priests, but Christianity has strict fathers, clergymen who are not as strict, and ordinary pastors in the pastoral system. The fathers, clergymen, and pastors undertake the spiritual things for everyone. Their only expectation from the church members is a donation. We the laity (the common believers) are secular; we can only do secular things and be as worldly as we like. But, brothers and sisters, the church does not have any secular (worldly) people! This does not mean that we do not attend to any secular things, but that the world cannot touch us. In the church everyone is spiritual. Let me tell you, whenever the church comes to the point of having only a handful of people undertake the spiritual things, that church has already fallen. We all know that the Roman Catholic fathers are not allowed to marry, because the more they differ in appearance from human beings, the safer people will feel in entrusting them with spiritual things. The church is nothing like that. The church demands that we offer our whole body to God. This is the only way. Everyone must be serving the Lord. Doing secular things is only for the purpose of taking care of our daily needs.