EPHESIANS BEING FULL OF POSITIVE REVELATIONS
Let us consider the positive matters that are revealed in Ephesians. Chapter one says that the church is the Body of Christ, the fullness of the One who fills all in all (v. 23). The Brethren saw the matter of the church as the Body of Christ as early as the nineteenth century. However, they never said that the Body grows by feeding on the riches of Christ. Every mother knows that children need the supply of food to grow. If there is no supply, how can the Body grow? Therefore, chapter three speaks concerning the riches of Christ (v. 8). If you read all the books in Christianity, you would not find one book on the unsearchable riches of Christ. Even our books prior to 1960 never mentioned the unsearchable riches of Christ. This was because in those days we did not sufficiently see the positive side. We mentioned the Body of Christ, but after a certain amount of speaking, we reverted back to speaking about the cross. We said that without the dealing of the cross we could not become the Body of Christ. We also said that if we are not broken, it will be difficult for us to be in coordination with others. If we were all broken by the cross, could the Body of Christ be produced simply by our coming together? It could not. The Body of Christ in chapter one grows by feeding on the riches of Christ in chapter three. Suppose you have a newborn child who is less than twenty-four inches long and weighs only six and a half pounds. If you spanked him every day to make him bear the cross and to cause him to be dealt with, I am afraid that in less than three weeks you would have to hold a funeral for him. It would be better to permit him to be a little bit naughty and to make him eat plenty of food so that he may become strong. If he is disobedient, you may have to discipline him, but afterward you should make him eat some more. The point is to get him to eat. If you only discipline him, “break” him, and deal with him, but do not give him anything to eat, he will be finished. He will be dealt with so severely that he will be skinny, pale, and dry.
Ephesians chapter one is on the Body of Christ, whereas chapter three is on the riches of Christ. What does chapter four speak about? Chapter four speaks about the Body arriving at a full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. How does the Body grow? The Body grows by receiving the supply. Ephesians does not mention dealings. It speaks only of the supply. Paul preached to us the unsearchable riches of Christ that we “may be filled unto all the fullness of God” (3:19b). This is the supply.
In the past when we spoke on Ephesians, we spoke concerning the Body, but we did not preach the riches of Christ. We spoke concerning the growth, yet we did not touch the matter of how we may be filled unto the fullness of God. In other words, we did not see that the church is produced by being supplied with the riches of Christ. Many of our hymns, such as those on the exhibition of Christ and the enjoyment of the riches of the land of Canaan, were written after 1960. Prior to 1960, these matters were not in our literature. When we mentioned anything in our books about Canaan before 1960, we said that it referred to the air, which is the spiritual battleground, because there were seven tribes in Canaan, typifying the spiritual forces of evil in the air. Therefore, we spoke concerning fighting the battle there daily. In the past we never told people how rich the produce of the land of Canaan was or how we should bring the produce to God and enjoy it with God, thereby bringing forth spiritual worship and a corporate life before God. We did not say these kinds of things prior to 1960.
The Lord is truly advancing. In the last fifteen years He has advanced quite far. We must endeavor to catch up with the present age. We do not mean that what we taught in the past was wrong, but the past is the past. The past cannot match today. Today we see the positive side of spiritual matters. Today in the book of Ephesians, I focus solely on the positive things instead of on the negative things.
The Body of Christ is produced not by our teachings or by our cultivation and much less by our being dealt with. The Body of Christ comes out of the supply of the riches of Christ. In chapter one we see the Body, in chapter three we see the riches, and in chapter four we see the growth. It is not a matter of being dealt with, of being broken, or of bearing the cross. In the previous message we saw that it is by the Spirit’s strengthening us into our inner man, Christ’s making His home in our hearts, and God’s filling us that the church is produced.
Furthermore, in the past we saw the church only as the Body, but we did not have much impression of the church as the new man. The Body needs the supply of the riches, but the new man needs someone to be his person. No matter how much we are dealt with, we cannot produce a person. We may bear the cross daily, but we cannot produce a person. The person of the new man does not come from our being dealt with, being broken, or bearing the cross. Rather, this person is the all-inclusive Christ becoming our indwelling person. I hope that from now on we would completely turn to the positive things. Whenever we sit down together to fellowship, we should share about how Christ is making His home in us to be our person, declaring, “Hallelujah, the Lord of all lives in me!”
Formerly we overstressed the first part of Galatians 2:20, which says, “I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live….” It is true that it is “no longer I,” but who is it then? We did not pay enough attention to the next phrase, which says, “But it is Christ.” It is not merely His power or His virtues but Christ Himself! It is Christ who lives in us, yet we neglected this matter. Whether or not we are crucified, Christ is in us, and Christ lives in us. He is not only our life but also our person making His home in us. Today the Lord is taking us onward in a definite way. We must look at the positive side. We must put together the crucial items in each chapter of Ephesians. Is the Christ who is making His home in us a poor man? No! The Christ who is making His home in us is unsearchably rich. If our wife bothers us, why should we determine to endure the pain and take up our wife as a cross when the unsearchable riches of Christ within us can be our supply? We should enjoy Christ more so that we may supply our wife. We should change our concept and our speaking and say to her, “Oh, dear wife, I have treated you wrongly. From the day we got married, I have been taught to take you as my cross. Since then, I have truly wronged you in bearing you as my cross. Today, however, I declare to you good news of great joy: you are not my cross but rather my joy and my comfort!” When we get married, we do not need our wife to be a cross to deal with us. Rather, we need our wife to be our co-enjoyer because Christ is so rich! I am afraid that some of the sisters are still bearing the cross. Quickly lay the “cross” aside, consecrate this matter, and let us enjoy Christ. Christ, who is unsearchably rich, is making His home in us that we may be filled unto all the fullness of God.
I am full of regret that my messages in the past brought you much hardship. I often said that your wives were your crosses and that some of you, due to your strong dispositions, needed not only a wife but also several children. I also warned you that by marrying, you get yourself into bondage and chains. Now I would like to tell you that the marriage life is a life of happiness. However, it is a life of happiness not in the flesh but in enjoying and sharing Christ together. I would like to annul the teachings I gave in the past. Do not come to me and say, “Brother Lee, did you not teach concerning the cross before?” Yes, I taught in that way before, but today—September 4, 1975—I solemnly declare that those teachings are annulled. I do not annul all the previous teachings, only the teachings concerning bearing the cross and suffering hardship. Empty yourself and come take in something positive. The church is the Body of Christ, which is supplied by Christ daily. When we eat the riches of Christ, we become healthy and strong. In the local churches there should be no “little caterpillars.” Rather, we should all be tall and strong as a result, not of being taught, but of eating Christ. The Spirit’s strengthening us, Christ’s making His home in us, and God’s filling us issue in the church.
(The Revelation of the Mystery, Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)