LIFE AND HEADSHIP FOR THE HOUSE AND THE CITY
What is Christ? Christ is the divine life. And who is Christ? Christ is the very God. Christ is nothing less than God. And Christ as God is our life. Christ is life to us, and He has been wrought into us that we may enjoy Him as life. This is indeed wonderful! Christ as life is so wonderful! No one can tell the wonder and joy of this life. Life is everything, and Christ is the life to us. There is no human utterance to define Christ as our life. Life is a mystery; no one can describe it, yet it is everything to us. If we do not have Christ as life, everything is vain. Christ as life is so much to us. Hallelujah!
Christ as life is signified by the church as the house. I realize that so many of us have partaken of the enjoyment of Christ as our life. But Christ is not only this much, He is more. The New Testament first tells us that Christ is our life, but eventually it says that Christ is our Head and we are His Body. The Body needs the Head, and the Head needs the Body. Christ is not only our life, but He is also our Head. If we only experience Christ as life, yet do not realize Him much as our Head, we only have the church as the house. There is not the city yet. When we realize that Christ is not only our life, but also our Head, then Christ will have the second step of enlargement. Then the church will not only be the house, but also the city. The house is mainly with the life, and the city is mainly with the Head.
In the last two chapters of the Bible, there is a city with a throne. Out of the throne proceeds the river of life with the tree of life growing on either side. Out of the throne proceeds life! There is the throne, and there is life. We know what the life is, but what is the throne? This is the headship, the authority, the kingship, and the lordship of Christ. It is easy for us to realize Christ as life, but it is not so easy for us to realize Christ as the Head. The enjoyment of Christ as life is comparatively easy to experience, but to realize the headship of Christ is not so easy. There are some who know a little of Christ as life, but they know nothing of the headship of Christ. The New Testament tells us clearly that Christ is both our life and our Head. The Gospel of John speaks of Christ as life, and the Epistles, especially Colossians, tell us that Christ is also our Head. He is not only our life, but also our Head.
We must keep in mind that Christ is these two main items to us: our life and our Head. When we realize and enjoy Christ as our life, we have the church as the house. But if we go further and realize His headship, the church will be enlarged to the city. Then the church will be safeguarded. It is much easier to capture a house than to take over a city. It is easy to break into a house, but it is not easy to get through the walls of the city. The city is the safeguard of the house.
We are all enjoying Christ now as life. And many are having a local church honeymoon. But we all know that a honeymoon cannot last forever. Now everyone feels so happy, but sooner or later this honeymoon will be over. Then you will not feel so happy with some of the brothers, and the local church will not be such a joyful place to you. It is at this time that we need Christ not only as our life, but also as our Head. We need not only the enjoyment, but also the headship. If we realize the headship of Christ, then the wall of the city will be built up.
In many of the local churches, there is the real enjoyment of life in the house, but as far as the city is concerned, there are still some breaches in the wall. They still do not have the safeguard. This is why after Zerubbabel, Joshua, and Ezra, there is the need of Nehemiah for the building up of the wall of the city. The enemy hates this even more than the building of the temple. The adversaries did try to hinder, frustrate, and damage the building of the house, but not nearly as much as they opposed with their subtle wiles the building of the city. The enemy knows that the building of the house can be destroyed, but once the building of the city is completed, there is the safeguard of the wall as a defense to protect the house. So what we need for the long run is the building up of the wall. The wall is part of the city which is the safeguard to the house.
It is good for all the young brothers and sisters to experience Christ as life. But they must go on to experience Christ as their Head. He must not only be our life, but also our Head; not only our enjoyment, but also our authority. We should not only be in the enjoyment of life, but also under the authority of the headship. Why are there so many divorces in America today? Simply because people want the enjoyment of marriage without recognizing the headship. If a couple feels happy, they enjoy marriage, but when they feel unhappy with each other, they get a divorce. If they realized that they are not only in the marriage life, but also under the headship, there would be no divorce. Brothers and sisters, under the headship, we have no choice! We are under the divine authority. We must all see the life and the headship. Then we will not only have a house, but also a city with a strong and high wall.
If I have realized the headship of my Lord, whether I am happy with the other saints or not, I am simply one with them; I have no choice. I am not only in His life, but also under His headship. I see the headship, and I am under it. The real building of the city is to help all the brothers and sisters to realize the headship of Christ.
In the church if we are only in the life of Christ, but know nothing of the headship of Christ, there may be breaches in the wall. We may build up the church as the house in the life of Christ, but to have the church as the city, we must realize the headship of Christ. To have a church not only as a house, but as a city for protection, we must go further to take the headship of Christ. Having the life of Christ may be sufficient for the house, but it is not sufficient for the city. The city must be built up with the headship of Christ.
We all need to have our will exercised, renewed, and transformed so that it will be under the headship of Christ. Our will must be subdued to the Head. Then we will be settled. As members of the Body, which is expressed by the local church, we must be willing to be under the headship of Christ. Then we will build up our part of the wall, and there will be no breach.
The book of Nehemiah tells us that each one must build up his part of the wall. I cannot build for you and you cannot build for me. Everyone must build up his own part. And with the building up of the wall, the work is mainly with the stronger ones because this is a matter of fighting. This is not a matter of the emotion, but a matter of the will. Whether I like it or not, I still must build the wall. Whether it is easy or hard, I still must do it. There is no choice. I must submit myself to the headship of Christ so that the wall can be built up.
All the local churches need the building up of the wall. If we have seen the local church as the expression of the Body, then we must see that the Body is under the headship of Christ. We as members are under this headship. There is no choice; we must all be under the authority of Christ. Then the wall will be built. The wall constitutes the city, and the city in typology signifies the kingdom, the government. The Lord is in the house, but the King is in the city for the kingdom.
(The Recovery of God's House and God's City, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)