Summary: God resides in the inner man, and the man outside this God-occupied inner man is the outer man.


According to Watchman Nee


Sooner or later a servant of God discovers that he himself is the greatest frustration to his work. Sooner or later he finds that his outer man does not match his inner man. The inner man heads in one direction, while the outer man heads in another direction. pg 7 [Romans 7]

A. The Outer and the Inner Man --- Defined pg 7-8

1. Scriptures that divide the man into inner and outer man:

Romans 7:22; Ephesians 3:16; II Cor 4:16

2. God resides in the inner man, and the man outside this

God-occupied inner man is the outer man. Our inner man puts on our outer man like a garment. God has placed Himself, His Spirit, His life, and His power in us, that is, in our inner man. pg 8

Our inner man delights in the law of God.

3. Outside of the inner man is our mind, emotion, and will. Outside of all these is our

body, our flesh. pg 8

4. In order for a man to work for God, his inner man must be released. In order for the inner man to be released, it must break out of the outer man. pg 8

5. The Lord has to dismantle our outer man in order to make way for our inner man. As soon as the inner man is released, many sinners will be blessed and many Christians will receive grace. pg 8

B. Death and the Bearing of Fruit --- The illustration of the seed.

1. John 12:24 Life is in the grain. However, there is a shell outside of the grain, a very powerful shell. As long as this shell does not break open, the grain cannot grow. It is the action of the temperature and moisture of the earth upon the grain which results in the breaking of the shell. When the shell breaks, the grain grows.

2. John 12:25 According to the Lord, the outer shell is our own life [bios & psuche] and the inner life is the eternal life [zoe] that He dispenses. In order for the inner life to be released, the outer life, must suffer loss. pg 9

3. Two conditions of those who have the Lord's life within them.

a. Bound, surrounded, and locked up.

b. Opened up so the life [zoe] can be released.

The problem today is not how can we have life [zoe], but how we can allow this life to flow out of us. pg 9

C. The Need for the Breaking --- The alabaster flask

1. John 12:3 Mark 14:3 "she brake the box" Unless the alabaster flask is broken, the ointment cannot be released. pg 9

2. It is strange that many people appreciate the alabaster flask. They think the flask is more precious than the ointment.

3. Many people think that their outer man is more precious than their inner man.

a. Some treasure wisdom.

b. Some treasure emotions.

c. Some treasure themselves --- eloquence, ability, etc.

4. We are not antique collectors; we are not admirers of the alabaster flask. pg 10

5. We are those who are after the aroma of the ointment. pg 10

6. The Holy Spirit is working to break the outer man.

a. People face one trial after another, encounter one incident after another.

The Holy Spirit has only one goal in all of His disciplining work:

To break and dismantle the outer man.

b. The trouble with us is that we murmur as soon as we suffer a little hardship,

and we complain as soon as we suffer a little defeat.

c. The Lord is ready to use us. As soon as His hand is upon us, however,

we become unhappy.

d. From the day we were saved, the Lord has been working on us in many

different ways for the purpose of breaking the self.

7. The treasure is in the earthen vessel. The church lacks the treasure, not the earthen vessels. pg 10

D. Breaking and Timing pg 11

1. The Lord breaks our outer man in two ways:

a. He breaks it in a cumulative way.

b. He breaks it in a sudden way.

The Lord gives some people a sudden breaking first, followed by more gradual

breakings; the sudden work comes first and the cumulative work follows. Other people face situations and problems every day. Then one day, they suddenly receive one great blow from the Lord; the cumulative work comes first and the sudden work follows. pg 11

2. The Time to Break

a. Generally speaking, the Lord has to spend a few years before He can complete the breaking work.

b. We cannot reduce the time this breaking takes, but we can extend the time. The Lord completes the work in some in a few years.

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