II. BY GOD
The church is built in Christ, and it is also built by God.
A. Out from the Head All the Body
Growing with the Growth of God
Colossians 2:19, a verse similar to Ephesians 4:16, says, "...holding the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied and knit together by means of the joints and sinews, grows with the growth of God." We grow into Christ, and out from Him we grow with the growth of God for the Body. Many believers have never heard that we are growing in Christ with the growth of God. This means that when we are growing, God is growing within us. We are growing in Christ, and God grows in us. Some versions have translated the phrase the growth of God into the increase of God. God is growing in us, and this growth is an increase of God within us. Eventually, the building material of the church is God Himself. To say that we build the church with Christ as the material is correct, but this is not as intrinsic as saying that we build the church with God as the building material.
God is growing, and His growing within us is actually His moving within us. This moving is God’s building. In the building up of the church God moves in such an intrinsic way. So, all the time we need to turn to our spirit, where God operates, where God increases, and where God grows to be the material of our building. We build by growing into Christ and by being out from Christ to grow with the Triune God.
The building up of the church depends on our inner situation. If our inner situation is wrong, there is no possibility of building the church. When our inner situation is right, at that time we are growing with the growth of God. By this growth and with this growth we build up the church. Thus, the building up of the church is God’s move within us.
We may consider that to build up the church we need to labor by visiting people and helping sinners to be saved, and thus that we must build up the church by ourselves and with ourselves. This kind of consideration is wrong. If we take this way, we will not see much result from our labor. We need to realize that when we go out to visit people, we must be growing into Christ and must be growing out from Christ in order to build with the growth of God. All our activities to go out and visit people should not be ours but should be God’s. God is growing in us. With this growth of God we first grow into Christ, and then we grow out from Christ. Then we have the growing God within us as the very element and material for us to build up the church. Eventually, our building up of the church is God’s move within us.
Some Christians consider that the way to build up the church is to have a capable pastor who is knowledgeable, eloquent, and very friendly. However, this concept is wrong. Whatever is built in that way is not the church; it is merely a social unit. When such a capable, eloquent, and knowledgeable one dies or resigns, after a short time that social unit may collapse. But the church that is built up by our growing with the growth of God into Christ and then out from Christ will remain forever and will consummate in the New Jerusalem. Whatever we build in this way will be a part of the New Jerusalem. This is not only our building; it is our building with God’s building of the church by His growing within us.
For the building with the growth of God, we must deny ourselves, rejecting our natural life and our natural strength, and turn to our spirit to contact God continually, to give Him the freedom to move, to act, to work, and to grow. Then as we grow with God into Christ and out from Christ, we have something with which to build. This building up of the church is God’s move in man.
(The Move of God in Man, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)