ONE UNIQUE BODY WITH ONE SPIRIT, ONE LORD,
AND ONE GOD AND FATHER OF ALL
The Body of Christ is one unique Body with one Spirit, one Lord, and one God and Father of all (Eph. 4:3-6). This one Body is the expression of the all-inclusive Christ (1:23). The one Spirit is the essence of the one Body. The Triune God expresses Himself in the one Body, and the essence of this Body is the one Spirit. The one Lord is the object of our faith and baptism. We believed into Him and we were baptized into Him. Now we are in Him. The one God and Father of all, who is over all, through all, and in all, is the source of life and the object of our worship. We came out of the Father and now He has to be our unique object of worship. The thought of the Trinity is implied in the fact that the Father is over all, through all, and in all. "Over all" mainly refers to the Father, "through all" to the Son, and "in all" to the Spirit. One Spirit, one Lord, and one God and Father of all are the elements of the very oneness of the Body.
BUILT UP BY ONE MINISTRY
OF MANY GIFTED PERSONS PERFECTING THE SAINTS
TO DO THE SAME ONE BUILDING UP WORK
The Body is built by one ministry of many gifted persons perfecting the saints to do the same one building up work (4:7-16). The ministry mentioned in Ephesians 4:12 is referred to by Paul in 2 Corinthians 3 where he also told us that the Old Testament had one ministry, the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of death, which is the ministry of the law (vv. 7-9). In the Old Testament age, there were many priests, prophets, and kings, but they all participated in the one ministry of the law, which was the ministry of condemnation unto death. In the New Testament there is another ministry, the ministry of grace, which is the ministry of the Spirit and the ministry of righteousness unto justification of life (2 Cor. 3:8-9; Rom. 5:17, 21). All the ones who served the Lord and ministered Christ for the building up of His Body throughout the centuries had different ministries which were all a part of the unique New Testament ministry. The Body is built up by one ministry, the unique New Testament ministry.
For the building up of the Body, the Head has given some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some shepherds and teachers (Eph. 4:11-12). Their work is "for the perfecting of the saints unto the work of ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ" (4:12). Therefore, the saints are perfected by the gifted ones to do the work of the ministry also. In Ephesians 4:12 "unto the work of ministry" is in apposition to "unto the building up of the Body of Christ." Thus, the work of the ministry is the building up of the Body of Christ. The gifted persons have the same one ministry to build up the Body of Christ. The one Body is built up by one ministry.
In today’s Christianity, so-called ministries that are different from the apostles’ ministry build up denominations. One so-called ministry builds up the Presbyterian denomination. Another so-called ministry builds up the Baptist denomination. Still other so-called ministries build up the Episcopalian and Methodist denominations. In Christianity there are many different ministries outside of and other than the one unique ministry, and these issue in division after division.
When I refer to "one ministry," I do not mean that this one ministry is my ministry. But I would say that my ministry is a part of the one ministry. Each member of the Body of Christ has a ministry that is a part of the unique New Testament ministry. Some sisters may be burdened organically to clean the hall. This cleaning of the hall is their ministry, which is a service for the work of the building up of the Body of Christ. The saints who go out to preach the gospel are carrying out their ministry as a part of the New Testament ministry to build up the Body of Christ. The Head has given all the gifted persons to perfect the saints so that they may participate in the ministry which the gifted persons are carrying out for the building up of the Body of Christ. To perfect the saints is to develop their organs, equipping and furnishing them with functions through the growth in the life of Christ. Eventually, all the saints do the same one building up work as the gifted members. The saints are perfected to do the work of the ministry for the direct building up of the Body of Christ by their growth in Christ.
(The Body of Christ, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)