THE CHURCH BEING CHRIST’S ORGANISM AND ENLARGEMENT
We have already seen that the church is the Body of Christ, the fullness of the One who fills all in all (Eph. 1:23). It is correct to say, according to the Greek word ekklesia for church, that the church is a group of people called out by the Lord to meet in the Lord’s name, but this is too superficial and shallow. The church is not merely a called-out congregation. Such a congregation may be a human organization. However, the church is not a human organization but an organism with the life of Christ. For example, a table that is composed of a few pieces of wood is a lifeless thing, an organization. However, our human body, which is constituted with four limbs and many other parts, is an organism with life. It is something organic, something with life, and something living; it is not something formed by organization. So also is the church. The church is neither an organized group of people nor merely a kind of gathering. Rather, the church is Christ’s organism, the Body with Christ as its life.
The Bible shows us that Christ with the church is one great person. Christ is the Head, and the church is the Body. From God’s eternal view, in the universe there is only one great person—Christ with the church. In this universal great man, Christ is the Head and the church is the Body. Man’s body is an organism, and only those parts that have an organic relationship with this body are the members of this body. We all know that to have a skin graft or an organ transplant in the human body, not only should the two lives be the same, but they should also be able to form an organic relationship with each other. This is even more true with the Body of Christ. Every part of the Body must have the life of Christ and an organic relationship with Christ. However, in today’s so-called churches there are even false members. These false members do not belong to the Body of Christ. Today we are in the churches in the Lord’s recovery, and we all have the life of Christ. However, if we do not live by Christ, we too will not have the reality of the church as the Body of Christ. This is because the church is altogether the organic Body of Christ.
Thank and praise the Lord that today our Lord Jesus is the life-giving Spirit! Once we believe in Him and receive Him as our Lord, He enters into us as the Spirit to be our life and life supply. When we live according to and by this Spirit day by day, we are the genuine and living members of the Body of Christ. We all are living members, and the Spirit within us echoes from one to another and flows from one to another; moreover, there are no distinctions and no differences among us. This is the church, which is the Body of Christ, as mentioned in Ephesians 1:23.
Ephesians 1:23 also says that the church is the fullness of the One who fills all in all. The One who fills all in all is our Lord Jesus Christ. The church is His overflow and enlargement. When the Lord Jesus was on earth, if He was in Bethlehem, He could not be in Nazareth; if He was in Nazareth, He could not be in Samaria; and if He was in Samaria, He could not be in Jerusalem. Today, however, He has been enlarged into the church, so He is everywhere on the whole earth. This is the enlargement and the overflow of Christ.
THE CHURCH BEING THE HOUSE OF GOD APPEARING IN LOCALITIES
First Timothy 3:15-16 says, “The house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and base of the truth. And confessedly, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was manifested in the flesh.” The church is the house of God, the manifestation of God in the flesh. The church is also the firm pillar and base to support the truth. The church has the pure and high truths, and it is the place where God speaks. God is speaking in the church today, so it is only in the church that people can receive the pure and unadulterated truths.
Revelation 1:11 tells us that John was in spirit and heard a loud voice saying, “What you see write in a scroll and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamos and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.” According to what is mentioned here, the written scroll being sent to the seven churches equals its being sent to the seven cities. This shows clearly that the practice of the church life in the early days was the practice of having one church for one city, one city with only one church. The manifestation of the church should be in localities, and it should be one city with one church.
The church is the house of God, the Body of Christ, and the fullness of the One who fills all in all. However, the church is expressed locally, one church for one city. There should never be more than one church in any one city. If there are two or more churches in a city, that is division. Yet, today there are many so-called churches in one city; this is division.
(Five Great Mysteries in the Bible, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)