II. THE CHURCH BEING THE BUILDING UP OF ALL GOD’S CHOSEN, REDEEMED, REGENERATED, AND TRANSFORMED PEOPLE, NOT A PHYSICAL STRUCTURE
[Many in Christianity have made the church something outward. When some speak of the church, they mean a physical building. If they speak of going to church, they mean going to a chapel or cathedral or some kind of sanctuary. These are material things constructed of bricks, stones, steel, or wood. What a mistake this is.] Have you made this mistake in the past? If you have, you will not make the same mistake after studying this lesson book.
The church is a building, but the church is not a physical building. The church is a building of all God’s chosen people. He first created His people. His people, as a result of the fall, fell into sin. He then had to redeem them back to Himself. After being cleansed from sin, they needed to be regenerated with the life of God in their spirit. After being regenerated in their spirit they are suitable for the building, but their soul still needs sanctification and transformation. The sanctifying and transforming work is done by the Triune God to produce material for the building of His church. These building materials are living. They are the chosen, redeemed, regenerated, and transformed people of God.
III. THE CHURCH BEING THE ORGANISM OF THE TRIUNE GOD, NOT AN ORGANIZATION
The church is the organism of the Triune God. [We need to see that the church as the Body of Christ is altogether organic, absolutely of life, with nothing organizational. The body of Christ is the organism of the Triune God. The Triune God has an organism. An organism and an organization are entirely different. To illustrate this difference, we may compare a living person to a wooden stand. The wooden stand is without life, while a living person is full of life. The wooden stand is an organization of pieces of wood put together, but a living person has many members which are joined together organically. A person is a living, moving, functioning organism, unlike a robot, which is an organization of inorganic parts. The church is not an organization without life, but an organism with life.]
We are born of God into the church. We do not join the church as we would join an organization. Because the church is a living organism ruled by life, there is no need of a hierarchy to organize or rule over the church. There are leading ones in the church. They are not organizational leaders, but ones who are more mature in life to shepherd the younger, the newer, and the weaker ones in life. Praise the Lord for His organic church.
IV. THE ESSENCE OF THE CHURCH IS OF LIFE, NOT OF KNOWLEDGE
[The divine life, God’s life, the eternal life, the uncreated life, the indestructible life, is the very essence of the church, and this divine life generates the church (1 John 1:2; 5:1).] Anything that is not of life is not of the church.
Man left God in the garden of Eden because he took in knowledge. From there man sinned, developed the world, lived in the flesh, loved only himself, and became separated from one another. Before we were saved, we were alienated from the life of God and were not in the church. When we were saved, we received the life of God into us. This life immediately made us a part of the church. From that point on, we must feed the life in us and grow in this life so that we may be in the church life. Anything other than life does not belong in and is not part of the church. Saints who care for knowledge bring death into the church. They not only deaden themselves they also deaden others. We should never bring anything other than life into the church. We also should stay away from anything that is not life. The best way to be in life is to pray, read the Word, fellowship things of life, and preach the gospel.
(Lesson Book, Level 5: The Church—The Vision and Building Up of the Church, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)