TEN GREAT THINGS ACCOMPLISHED BY CHRIST IN HIS FULL MINISTRY IN THREE STAGES
It is not enough merely to know Christ; we still need to experience and enjoy Him that we may gain Him. To experience, enjoy, and gain Him is not that simple. We can do this only by being in the full ministry of Christ in His three divine and mystical stages as explained in the first three chapters of this book. Actually, what are the things accomplished by Christ in His full ministry in three stages? Simply speaking, in the first stage, the stage of His incarnation, He accomplished four great things. First, He brought God into man; second, He united and mingled God with man; third, He expressed God in His humanity and lived out God’s attributes in His human living as His human virtues; and fourth, He accomplished His judicial redemption.
In the second stage of His ministry, the stage of His inclusion, Christ accomplished three great things. First, He was begotten as God’s firstborn Son; second, He became the life-giving Spirit; and third, He regenerated the believers for His Body. These three things seem to be simple, but their details are quite complicated. This is similar to our body, which seems simple but is very complicated when it is analyzed and tested in the laboratory.
In the third stage of His ministry, the stage of His intensification, Christ is accomplishing three great things. First, He is intensifying His organic salvation; second, He is producing His overcomers; and third, He is consummating the New Jerusalem. Hence, in summary, in the three stages of His full ministry, Christ accomplishes ten great things. The New Testament simply deals with these ten things. This is the new language expressing a new culture in the Lord’s recovery that has never been seen in Christianity.
C. In the Third Stage, the Stage of His Intensification, from the Degradation of the Church to the Consummation of the New Jerusalem
Now we want to see the third stage of Christ’s full ministry, the stage of His intensification, from the degradation of the church to the consummation of the New Jerusalem. In his Epistles, especially in 2 Timothy, Paul spoke thoroughly concerning the degradation of the church. He said that all who were in Asia turned away from him (2 Tim. 1:15). This means that the churches established by Paul in Asia turned away from him. The saints in those churches did not forsake Paul himself; rather, they turned away from his New Testament ministry, the apostles’ teaching which he preached. All that Paul had preached to them, all that he had nurtured them with, all that he had taught them, and all that he had shown them were completely abandoned by them. The first thing that happened in the degradation of the church was the turning away from the apostles’ teaching. If all of us today in the Lord’s recovery did not care for the apostles’ teaching preached by Brother Watchman Nee and me, the church and the Lord’s recovery would become degraded. To remain in the apostles’ teaching is a tremendous grace.
Concerning the degradation of the church, Paul went on to say that Alexander the coppersmith did many evil things to him (4:14). Alexander was probably a person who had been quite intimate with Paul, yet in the degradation of the church, he became one who did many evil things to Paul and resisted the apostles’ teaching.
(How to Be a Co-worker and an Elder and How to Fulfill Their Obligations, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)