Lesson Book, Level 5: The Church—The Vision and Building Up of the Church, by Witness Lee

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[If a person has Body consciousness he at once recognizes his place in the Body; that is to say, he sees himself as being one of its members. Each member has his distinctive usefulness. A member of a physical body is different from a body cell. Lacking a cell does not matter much, but the lack of a member in a body is unthinkable.]

[Because we are members of the Body of Christ and members each in its part, we must seek how to help the Body in gaining life and strength. In any gathering, even if we do not open our mouths, we may pray silently. Even though we may not speak, we can still look to God. This is Body consciousness. If we have seen the Body, we cannot say we are a person of no consequence. We will rather say: I am a member of the Body, and hence I have a duty to perform. I have a word which I should speak, I have a prayer which I should utter. When I come to the meeting I must do whatever God wants me to do. I cannot afford to be a spectator. Such things as these are what we will say or do if we truly apprehend the Body. And as we all function, the life of the entire gathering will swallow up all death. Many meetings fail to exhibit such power to overcome death for there are too many spectators.]


[Whoever knows the life of the Body of Christ and is conscious of being a Body member will invariably sense the authority of the Head, who is Christ Jesus the Lord.

We must not only submit to the direct authority of the Head, we need also to submit to the indirect authority of the Head. My physical hand is under the direct authority of the head of my body, but when my arm moves, my hand moves together with my arm—for my hand submits to the head through the arm. Consequently, whoever sees the Body of Christ sees also the authority which God has set in the Body of Christ for him to submit to.]

[If you truly perceive the authority of the Head, you will also perceive that one or more members of the Body are ahead of you, and that to them you must learn to submit. Hence you recognize not only the Head but also those whom God has set in the Body to represent the Head. If you are at odds with them, you will also be at odds with God.]

[If a person does not know what authority is, how can he say he knows the Body of Christ? Let us see that the one who knows the Body can discern—even when only three or five people are assembled together—who among those assembled is his authority; because there is manifested in their midst the authority of the Head to which he needs to submit. How natural and how beautiful it is in the human body for the fingers to submit to the wrist, the wrist to the arm, the arm to the shoulder, and so on. And this same beauty can be displayed in the Body of Christ.

Certain Christians are so careless in action as well as in speech that they will not listen to anyone. They seem to regard themselves as being the greatest to such an extent that they fail to recognize anyone to whom they could submit. This proves that such believers have never known the restraint of the Body nor have ever submitted to the authority of the Head. May God have mercy on such members. If we have genuinely been dealt with by the Lord and if our flesh has received such dealings as to have had the backbone of the natural life broken, we will immediately acknowledge how neither our hands nor our mouth have unlimited freedom—since all are under the control of the body—and how we cannot fail to submit ourselves to the authority which God has set in the Body of Christ.]

(Lesson Book, Level 5: The Church—The Vision and Building Up of the Church, Chapter 21, by Witness Lee)