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Title – The Great Exchange for Services – Life is for learning and learning for life – Spotlight on Watchman Nee and Witness Lee
Date – Sunday, 19thof August 2018
Otakada.org Content Count 14,151
Day #40 of 40
Basic Scriptures: Daniel 12:3 -Those who are wisewill shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.
John 21:25 – Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.
Author Spotlight: Who Is Watchman Nee?
In the last couple of months, we have laid the foundation for “the great exchange for service” so that you can begin to explore and make yourself available for selfless service for the expansion of the kingdom of God here on earth. In the coming months, we shall be bringing to you those who have done exploits in the kingdom. Books were written and some are available on http://shop.otakada.org, on http://www.otakada.organd other sources to help you build on your own with the help of those who have gone ahead of you and me.
I have never seen a doctor that has stopped reading that is effective or a nurse, a preacher, evangelist, prophet, an architect or a teacher. Even Jesus read from the books about His call. How then can we become effective in our race in the kingdom without giving ourselves to study? I encourage you to prayerfully investigate the areas of calling, look for books written by God’s messengers who have traveled that route and see how you will begin to be effective in the area of your call. Today, we are looking at Watchman NEE who touched China with selfless service for the kingdom.
Do you want to grow, then begin reading books on the Greats of bible and the messengers like Watchman Nee, Witness Lee, Billy Graham, Robert Liardon, Joyce Meyer, T.D – Jakes, Lambert Okafor of Holy Ghost School and a host of others who have touched lives. They are not perfect, only God is. But they have something written that we will do well to learn for effectiveness in the place of our calling. You have a call and I have one.
What would you want to be remembered for? What would you exchange your life for? Pray about it, find it, read on it and start doing it. That is your exchange for service.
The backdrop to Watchman Nee’s testimony
There are over 115million Christians in China today and are more as most are underground. Christianity first reached China in the 7th century AD, brought by Nestorian Eastern Syriac believers. Roman Catholic missionaries arrived in the 13th century and in the early 1300s there was even briefly a Franciscan archbishop in Peking. but did not take root until it was reintroduced in the 16th century by Jesuit missionaries. Today, it comprises Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals and a small number of Orthodox Christians.
Starting in the early 1800s, God put a calling into the hearts of many Western Christians to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to China again. Through much sacrifice, these missionaries gave themselves to preach the gospel in a place where it hadn’t gone before. As a result, slowly but surely, people who had previously never heard the name of Jesus were brought to Christ the Savior.
Then in 1900 during the violence and upheaval of the Boxer Rebellion, Chinese believers were persecuted and martyred. Many missionaries were also killed. In the aftermath of such sacrifice and loss, Christians in the West persevered in their burden for China and continued to offer up fervent prayers for its people.
In the 1920s, the Lord answered these prayers and began to call young people to Himself in China. The gospel reached the educated circles, and many college students were brought to Christ. One hundred years of missionary work and sacrifice, followed by years of desperate prayer, had paved the way for the Lord to raise up a whole generation of young Chinese Christians. It was from among that generation that the Lord called Watchman Nee.
Watchman Nee’s salvation
Watchman Nee was born into a Christian home in China, but he hadn’t received Christ as his Savior. As an educated young man, he considered Christian preaching to be the lowest occupation on earth. He was very intelligent, very capable, and had big plans for his future.
In 1920, when he was 17 years old, Watchman Nee attended his parents’ church where a well-known evangelist came to preach the gospel. Many in the congregation believed in the Lord and were saved right then. But Watchman Nee was not, for though he was moved by the gospel, he also realized that if he received Christ as his Savior, that meant he would also receive Christ as his Lord and serve Him for the rest of his life.
For a young man with such capacity and such dreams as Nee, this realization created great inner turmoil. Not long after hearing the gospel preached that day, however, Nee was alone in his room and recognized that he had no peace. Troubled, he was unable to sleep, so he knelt down to pray. One after another, his sins came before him. He saw that he was a sinner. He also saw a wounded Savior on the cross, with open arms waiting to receive him.
Overwhelmed by such love, Nee wept. He confessed his sinfulness to the Lord and immediately felt the burden of sin lifted. For the first time in his life he felt real peace and joy. His immediate and willing response was to consecrate himself to the Lord for His service for the rest of his life.
Watchman Nee’s testimony
After his salvation, Watchman Nee immediately sought to know the Lord Jesus in the Word of God and through classic Christian books and the spiritual writings of other believers. He read voraciously and, blessed with a keen mind, was able to remember what he read. In a short time, he himself began to write on matters of the Christian life in magazines, tracts, and books. He also translated important Christian works from English into Chinese for others to benefit from.
In addition to carrying out his ministry through writing and publishing, Nee also gave spoken messages in various places in China. In 1938 he gave messages in Europe that eventually were published as The Normal Christian Life.
Nee was manifested as a particular gift from God to the Body of Christ, ministering from the Word in a country that had long been deprived of not only the basic truths in the Bible, but also the deeper truths revealed in God’s Word. Through his ministry, the Lord raised up hundreds of believers and churches in China. Not only so, countless other believers have received light and spiritual nourishment from God’s Word through Nee’s written ministry. Even now, the writings of Watchman Nee continue to have great impact on Christians all over the world.
Nee was arrested by the Chinese government for his faith in 1952. He remained imprisoned for 20 years, steadfast in his faith until his death in a labor camp in 1972. In 2009, the United States Congress recognized Neefor his devotion to his faith and his contributions to Christianity worldwide.
After Nee’s death, a guard found these words he’d written on a piece of paper in his room:
“Christ is the Son of God who died for the redemption of sinners and resurrected after three days. This is the greatest truth in the universe. I die because of my belief in Christ.”
STATE OF THE CHURCH IN CHINA AND THE NEED FOR PRAYER FOR CHINA
If Karl Marx is to be believed and religion is the “opiate of the masses,” then China is waging a new opium war. Threatened by the rapid, uncontrolled growth of Christianity, the Communist Party is gearing up for a sweeping crackdown.
Although China is officially an atheist nation, Protestant Christianity is thriving. According to some estimates, there are as many as 115 million Protestants in China, and it is one of the fastest growing demographics in the country. One analyst predicts that by 2030, China will have more than 247 million Christians, including Catholics, making it the world’s largest congregation.
But much to the authoritarian government’s chagrin, the overwhelming majority of this booming cohort of Chinese Christians are meeting in underground churches. Only state-sanctioned religious organizations are allowed to operate in China, and official churches are closely watched.
In recent years, many state-sanctioned churches have been forced to install surveillance cameras, and preachers, selected by the government, are monitored to ensure that their sermons do not broach taboo topics.
“They want the pastor to preach in a Communist way. They want to train people to practice in a Communist way,” said an underground church leader, who spoke anonymously to the Telegraph.
The preacher explained that state churches often avoid potentially subversive portions of the Bible. For instance, the Old Testament book that tells the story of Daniel, who is exiled and refuses to worship the king as he is ordered and instead worships God, is “very dangerous.”
Preachers have also been pressured to show their loyalty to the Communist Party and have taken to praising President Xi Jinping and incorporating party propaganda into their sermons.
It is these heavy-handed tactics that have made many Chinese Christians turn to underground churches. According to Yang Fenggang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University, of China’s estimated 93 to 115 million Christians, less than 30 million attend official churches.
This disparity has caught the attention of state officials, and earlier this month new regulations aimed at curbing non-state sanctioned houses of worship were passed.
The new law has taken effect in February 2, 2018 and is imposing heavy fines on organizers of unofficial religious events and prohibit them from carrying out basic functions like receiving donations, providing religious information online, or teaching children.
Wang Zuoan, head of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, explained that the new law was necessary because “the foreign use of religion to infiltrate [China] intensifies by the day and religious extremist thought is spreading in some areas.”
CONCLUSION – There is no success without a successor. Next week, we shall be introducing Witness Lee who took over from where Watchman Nee ended. Watchman Nee mentored Witness Lee. Do you have anyone one you are mentoring at the moment or you think you are not qualified? I beg to disagree. You have something to offer as long as it brings glory to God. Remember, Life is for learning and the learning is for life from books, people, self and of-course from the spirit of the living God.
What would you want to be remembered for? What would you exchange your life for? Pray about it, find it and start doing it. That is your exchange for service.
Have a BLESSED week!
Monday Ogwuojo Ogbe e-discipleship team at otakada.org