I. CHOSEN AND PREDESTINATED BY THE FATHER
In lesson one, we pointed out that the church was in God’s eternal plan. Here, we state that not only is the church in God’s eternal plan, we also are in that plan. Our being here is not a matter of happenstance. Ephesians 1:3-5 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ, according as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blemish before Him, in love, having predestinated us unto sonship through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.’’ It is clear that the first blessing we receive from the Father is His choosing and predestinating of us to be His sons. We know that Ephesians is a book on the church. Chapter one ends with the revelation of the Head with the Body, the church, to be the fullness of the Head. We can therefore say that the Father’s choosing and predestinating of us to be sons is for the church. Because the church is made up of the many sons of the Father, we who were chosen and predestinated are the constituents of the church.
II. THE REDEMPTION OF CHRIST THROUGH HIS BLOOD
Ephesians 1:7 says, “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of offenses, according to the riches of His grace.’’ When man was created, God said that he was very good. He had no sin, yet he still needed God to come into him. But before God could come into him, man fell into sin and came under the curse of the law. Therefore, God must redeem us, forgive us, and cleanse us from our sins to prepare us to be building material for the church. He accomplished redemption, as a man, on the cross for all mankind, once and for all. When we believe into Him, we receive the forgiveness of sins.
III. THE RESURRECTION AND ASCENSION OF CHRIST
After Christ was delivered because of our offenses, He was raised because of our justification (Rom. 4:25). We were regenerated unto a living hope through His resurrection (1 Pet. 1:3), and we were made alive together with Christ (Eph. 2:5). As a result, the eternal life of God came into us to make us divinely human. This qualifies us to be the constituents of the church. Furthermore, we were raised up together and seated together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:6). All things are under our feet. We have the authority in heaven and earth to carry out God’s desire—to build up the church. Having obtained all these blessings from the Father, we can never be discouraged or down-trodden. Nobody can stop us, not even the devil himself, from accomplishing God’s purpose—the building up of the church.
IV. THE OUTPOURING OF THE SPIRIT ON THE BODY
The Triune God’s final accomplishment was the outpouring of the Spirit to form the one Body. This was done in two steps for two peoples. The Spirit was first poured out on the day of Pentecost for the Jewish believers (Acts 2). The Spirit was then poured out in the house of Cornelius for the gentile believers (Acts 10). Therefore, Paul said in 1 Corinthian 12:13, “For also in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks (representing the gentiles), whether slaves or free, and were all given to drink one Spirit.’’ The baptism is our initiation into the Body and is once for all. To drink the Spirit is continuous, and is to be practiced by us constantly for eternity.
(Lesson Book, Level 5: The Church—The Vision and Building Up of the Church, Chapter 20, by Witness Lee)