The Vital Groups, by Witness Lee


In this message we want to see the accomplishments of Christ in the stage of His intensification from the degradation of the church to the consummation of the New Jerusalem. Recently we have seen that John 4:14b shows us that the goal of God’s eternal economy is the New Jerusalem: "The water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into eternal life." The Father is the fountain, the source, emerging in the Son as the spring, who flows out as the Spirit, the river, into eternal life. The phrase into eternal life means into the totality of the eternal life. Each human being is a totality of the human life. The totality, the aggregate, of the eternal life is the New Jerusalem. Our God is the flowing God, flowing to impart and dispense Himself as life into all His lovers. Eventually, this eternal life will have an aggregate, a totality, a consummation. That will be the New Jerusalem. The New Jerusalem is the totality of the eternal life in the entire Bible.

The apostle Paul said that we are God’s farm to grow Christ and God’s building (1 Cor. 3:9). As we grow in the divine life, we are transformed into precious material for God’s building: gold, silver, and precious stones (v. 12). The New Jerusalem is constituted with transformed precious material: gold as the base, pearls as the gates, and precious stones for the city’s wall. If we build up the church with ourselves, with the world, or with earthly things, we are building with wood, grass, and stubble, which are fit only to be burned (vv. 12b-13). But if we build the church with the Triune God—the Father as the gold, the Son as the pearl or silver, and the Spirit as the precious stone—our building work will be a part of the New Jerusalem. In other words, our work will go into eternal life. The New Jerusalem as the totality of the eternal life is God’s goal. The chorus of Hymns, #976, a hymn concerning the New Jerusalem, says, "Lo, the holy city,/Full of God’s bright glory!/It is God’s complete expression/In humanity." Christ has become the sevenfold intensified Spirit to intensify His organic salvation and to produce the overcomers for the consummating of the New Jerusalem.

A. To Intensify His Organic Salvation

1. Christ Becoming the Life-giving Spirit, the Pneumatic Christ, in the Stage of His Inclusion

For His ministry in the stage of His inclusion, Christ became the life-giving Spirit, the pneumatic Christ, to carry out His organic salvation for the producing of the church and the building up of His Body to consummate the New Jerusalem.

2. The Church Becoming Degraded

On the way of Christ’s ministry in the stage of His inclusion, the church became degraded to frustrate the accomplishment of God’s eternal economy.

3. Christ as the One Life-giving Spirit Becoming the Seven Spirits of God

Hence, Christ as the one life-giving Spirit became the seven Spirits of God (Rev. 1:4; 4:5; 5:6; 3:1). These are not seven individual Spirits, but the one Spirit who is intensified sevenfold. This is to intensify the organic salvation of Christ sevenfold for the building up of the Body of Christ to consummate God’s eternal goal—the New Jerusalem.

B. To Produce the Overcomers

1. Nearly All the Believers in Christ Becoming Defeated

Through the degradation of the church nearly all the believers in Christ became defeated in their old man by Satan, sin, the world, and their flesh.

(The Vital Groups, Chapter 14, by Witness Lee)