Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

What is the Lord’s Recovery?

The Lord’s recovery today is not a recovery program from alcoholism, substance abuse, or any other kind of vice. Nor is it the name of a Christian movement.

What is the Lord's recovery?

The Lord’s recovery is the return to what God intended from the beginning, as revealed in His word, the Bible.

To understand its meaning, we first need to consider the principle of recovery in the Bible.

The principle of recovery in the Bible

The Lord’s recovery brings us back to God’s eternal plan as revealed in His word, the Bible (Eph. 3:11).

To participate in the Lord’s recovery, requires that we be willing to return to what God initiated from the beginning. It requires that we be willing to relinquish the things that are mere human inventions.

But to return, we first need to see what is God’s divine mystery (Eph. 3:9).  That is, we need to see what God desired and what He planned to do from the the beginning (1:9).

In His response to the Jewish religionists who condemning Him for not keeping their traditions, Jesus brought them back to God’s original intention. In Matthew 19:8 He said,

“From the beginning it has not been so.”

God  always wants to bring us back to what He initiated. So to participate in the Lord’s recovery, we need see what God purposed from eternity past (Eph. 3:9-11).

Especially in Ephesians, the Apostle Paul brings us back to what God wanted from the beginning. In chapter 3:3-4 he said,

“That by revelation the mystery was made known to me, as I have written previously in brief, by which, in reading it, you can perceive my understanding  in the mystery of Christ.”

We can perceive Paul’s understanding in the mystery of Christ! But to apprehend it, we need to read the word properly–that is, with a heart fully turned to the Lord (2 Cor. 3:16).  We need to drop our old concepts and come to God’s word “poor in spirit,” emptied and unloaded to receive something new from Him (Matt. 5:3).

With such a heart and spirit, we need to prayerfully read through Ephesians. Then I believe we could see God’s great mystery, His heart’s desire from the beginning (Eph. 5:32).

Three things God intended from the beginning

First, God intended to make Christ everything to us, His believers—Gal. 1:15-16; 2:20; 4:19; Eph. 3:17; Col. 3:10-11.

From the beginning, God wanted us to enjoy His Son, Jesus Christ  typified by the tree of life in the garden of Eden (Gen. 2:9). Christ is both the eternal life and He is the tree—the true vine (John 14:6; 15:1). Christ is the tree of life for us to receive, experience and enjoy every day!

God’s wants His Son to be everything to us, to be wrought into us!

In his hymn, “It is God’s intent and pleasure to have Christ revealed in me ” Witness Lee highlights this experience of Christ as the indwelling One to be our all.

The first stanza says that “It is God’s intent and pleasure to have Christ revealed in me” (Gal. 1:15-16).  The second stanza speaks of Christ living in me (Gal. 2:20). The third speaks of Christ being formed in me (4:19); the fourth speaks of  Christ making home in me (Eph. 3:17).  The last stanza speaks of Christ being all in me (Col. 3:11).

But if we’re honest, most of us would agree that we don’t experience and enjoy Christ “in us” very much.

So we need a real recovery to make Christ first in our daily lives! We need an upgrade of our enjoyment of the indwelling Christ!

Christ is so rich and so vast (Eph. 3:8, 18)! We need to learn how to enjoy Him in every detail of our lives. To obtain a deeper appreciation for Christ, I highly recommend the book, The All-inclusive Christ by Witness Lee. Prayerfully reading it along with all the referenced Bible verses will recover you to the enjoyment of Christ. You can download a free copy here.

Second, God intended to gain a group of people to be Christ’s one Body,  one new man, to fulfill His eternal plan—Eph. 2:14-16; 4:2-6, 22-24.

In Genesis 1:26 God said, “Let us make man in our image and let them have dominion.”

As believers, we may appreciate that Christ died on the cross to take away our sins (1 Pet. 2:24). But do we realize that Christ’s death was for the purpose of creating in Himself of all the divided peoples (both Jews and Gentiles), one Body, one new man?

The goal of the Lord’s recovery is to bring forth such a universal new man, with Christ as the unique person and constituent (Col. 3:10-11). Here is a hymn on this one new man.

When we enjoy Christ, giving Him the first place in our lives, we will grow up into Him in all things (Eph 4:15). Then, out from Him, our Head, we will enjoy His rich supply, His element, with which we can be built up together as His one Body (v. 16).

It is only by our mutual enjoyment of Christ that we could be one with all our fellow believers (1 Cor. 1:9).

Such a oneness is like the current of electricity flowing through the different lamps in a room making them all one in the shining.

Third, God intended that all the believers become functioning  members of Christ’s Body—Rom. 12:4-5; Eph. 4:16.

After making Christ everything to us, and making us one Body, one new man, in Him, God also desires that we function as members of Christ’s Body. It is through our varied functions that God is expressed (1 Cor. 14:25).

In 1 Corinthian 14:31, Paul said that all the believers can prophesy one by one that all may learn and all may be encouraged. When we all function in our measure this causes the growth of Christ’s Body unto the building up of itself in love (Eph. 4:16).

Since every saved one is, by God’s design, both a member of Christ’s Body and a functioning priest in God’s spiritual house, we all need to be recovered to function (Rev. 1:5-6; 1 Peter 2:5, 9).

May we see this glorious intention God has for us in His word and aspire to return to God’s “normal,” that which He intended for us from the beginning.

How God’s enemy, Satan, came in to frustrate God’s plan

However, Satan came in to frustrate God’s plan, not just once, but at every stage. In the garden in Genesis 3, he deceived Adam and Eve to neglect the tree of life and to eat of the tree of knowledge.

Later, when God initiated the church life at Pentecost, Satan came in to damage it by bringing in many destructive heresies, worldly practices, and human systems.

Satan’s strategy against the church is especially to frustrate these three great matters of God’s intention—the first place of Christ, the oneness of the Body of Christ, the church, and the annulling of the function of all Christ’s members.

First, Satan brought in many replacements for Christ (Col. 2:16-17). Second, he divided the one Body of Christ with many different teachings (1 Cor. 1:10-13). Finally, he annulled the universal function of all the members of  Christ’s unique Body, replacing it with religious systems  (Eph. 4:16; 1 Pet. 2:5; Rev. 2:6, 15).

How we can participate in the Lord’s recovery today

Enjoy Christ daily, starting first thing each morning

First,  if we are going to participate in the Lord’s recovery we need to come back to Christ as the preeminent One (Col. 15-18). We need to enjoy Christ daily as the wonderful One, the life-giving Spirit, living in us (1 Cor. 15:45).

You can practice this by setting aside the first part of each day to enjoy the Lord. Here are some short morning prayers to get you off to a good start.

I also like the chorus to this hymn, “Oh Glorious Christ, Savior Mine”:

Oh! Christ, expression of God, the Great,
Inexhaustible, rich, and sweet!
God mingled with humanity
Lives in me my all to be.

I hope you will enjoy every stanza of this hymn, sing it, and make it your personal prayer. Then Christ will have the way to recover your enjoyment of Him making Him the first in your life.

Keep the oneness of Christ’s Body

Second, if we are going to participate in the Lord’s recovery today, we need to care for the recovery of the lost oneness of Christ’s Body, the church (Eph. 4:3-6). Ephesians 4:3-4a says,

Being diligent to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace: 4 One Body and one Spirit…

Our Lord Jesus has only one Body (1:22-23) and this Body should be expressed in oneness both locally and universally to satisfy the Lord’s desire (John 17:21-23).  This is an exceedingly great matter which requires another post just to cover. But here is hymn that strengthens this point: “We’re gathered here, O Lord, as Thy one Body.”

Function as members of  Christ’s Body

Finally, to participate in the Lord’s recovery today, we need to realize that as reborn believers we are all members of Christ’s Body (1 Cor. 12:12) and all  priests in His holy and royal priesthood (Rev. 1:6; 1 Pet. 2:5, 9).

As Christ’s members  we need to offer ourselves to Christ for His Body (Rom. 12:1), grow up into Christ in all things (Eph. 4:15)  and then function out from Him for the building up of His Body, the church (4:16; 1 Cor. 14:26, 31). We should practice to prophesy for the building up of the church.

As priests of the gospel we should all live a gospel preaching life with our fellows priests. We should all care for younger believers by feeding them for their spiritual growth and perfecting (1 Pet. 2:2).  By living such a vital life with our spiritual companions we can participate in the the recovery of the functioning of the members of His Body.

If you have found this post helpful, please take a moment to share what you enjoyed in a brief comment.

References and Further Reading:

  • For a further development of the points in this post, you may enjoy reading the following books by Witness Lee. They are all free to read online at ministrybooks.org:
    • Satan’s Strategy Against the Church
    • Basic Principles for the Practice of the God-ordained Way


About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

16 Replies

  1. George Okechukwu

    I learnt so much in one blog post. Kindly send me link to c9ntinue to receive ‘HoldingTheTruth’

    1. Tom Smith

      I have added you to my email group. I hope that is what you were requesting. Please confirm. Thanks.

  2. Philip

    I struggle to just trust God for my salvation, despite being saved and having many small instances of feeling Gods assurance or deliverance from doubts and / or fixed thoughts. Please I need help / contact.

    1. Tom Smith

      There are 3 proofs of that provide us the assurance of our salvation: 1) the proof of God’s word (1 John 5:13), 2) the proof of the Spirit’s witnessing with our spirit (Rom. 8:16), and 3) the proof of our love for the brothers in the Lord (1 John 3:14). You may want to read my post on How can I be sure that I am saved. You can also listen to my podcast on this subject. After checking out the links. Please let me know if they rendered you the help you are looking for. I’d be happy to continue the conversation. You may also want to download and read the chapter on the Assurance, Security and Joy of Salvation in this free ebook, Basic Elements of the Christian Life, vol. 1, from Bibles for America. Let me know if you find these links helpful.

  3. leslie shamel

    hello,i’ve been reading a lot of the books that witness lee and watchman nee have written and they have been very enriching.

    1. Tom Smith

      I’m glad you have received so much help from the books by Witness Lee and Watchman Nee.I also have received much enriching from their writings. This is why I am very focused on sharing the wonderful aspects of the Christian life unfolded in the mingled ministry of these two men of God. You can freely read most all of their books at ministrybooks.org or listen to short podcasts opening this ministry at lsmradio.com.

      Feel free to share what you’ve enjoyed from any of their books and do let us know if you’ve found any of the linked resources helpful.

  4. Lauralee

    Thank you for this wonderful share. It is a part of a call that God gave me through the story of Abraham, to leave the familiar and simultaneously to seek Him truly, not man-made entities and traditions. Its a very painful, lonely path but our dwrlling with Hod provide other-worldly joy and nourishment. Thank you for this share.

    1. Tom Smith

      Glad you were touched by the post. Ask the Lord to bring you fully into His recovery today. I believe that He will answer this prayer and bring you into what He is seeking to recover today. Thanks for the comment. If you have a deeper to take this way, I would be glad to introduce you to more spiritual resources to supply you for the journey. Thanks for the comment.

  5. Camilla

    Read this while at school, and now I finally understand what the recovery is. Praise the lord for the recovery ! Thank you for this post.

    1. Tom Smith

      Glad you found this post on “What is the Lord’s recovery?” helpful. It is really good to realize that God want to bring us back to Himself and to what He initiated from the beginning. It is also good to ask the Lord to bring your Christian life and church life into His recovery. For more understanding about the Lord’s recovery you may want to check out this site on the Lord’s recovery. Thanks for the comment.

  6. Doneza Tico

    Thank you so much for this Bro. Smith. Praise God for sharing. God indeed loves us so much that He is doing everything to find the lost and recovers someone like me and be back on the track. Praise God for the recovery! Amen.

    1. Tom Smith

      Glad you enjoyed the post. Yes, our God truly loves us and is a God of recovery. He desires to recover us to His purpose from the beginning. It is by being recovered to God’s intention from the beginning that we can be brought to His consummate goal the New Jerusalem for eternity. thanks for taking the time to comment. For a brief explanation of the crucial points of the Lord’s recovery today I would recommend a thoughtful reading of The Crucial Points of the Major Items of the Lord’s Recovery Today by Witness Lee. You can read it online here at ministrybooks.org

      1. Doneza D. Tico

        Thank you so much. Really appreciate it. Amen.

        1. Tom Smith

          Glad you enjoyed the post. It is so good to see that our God is a God of recovery. He is not only recovering us personally from the damage of the sin from the fall. He is recovering us back to His original purpose which He intended from eternity past. May we have the heart to enter into God’s hearts desire so that His recovery work can be done through us. Thanks for sharing your comment.

  7. Percy

    Out of curiosity and a burden to give a legitamate answer to my friends, why does the Recovery Version not have the names and credentials of those that translated it? My friend has asked me this question and I gave a half hearted answer.
    Thank you 🙂

    1. Tom Smith

      Sorry, I would think that question would be better directed to the publisher, Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim, CA. No one ever told me, so my answer would be mere conjecture.

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