THE CHURCH BEING THE CORPORATE CHRIST
First Corinthians 12:12 reveals that the church is the corporate Christ. This verse says, “For even as the body is one and has many members, yet all the members of the body, being many, are one body, so also is the Christ.” It seems that this verse should say, “…so also is the church,” because this verse is referring to the church as the Body. Instead it says “so also is the Christ.” This is not the single, individual Christ. This is the corporate Christ. All the believers of Christ are organically united with Him, are constituted with His life and element, and have thus become His Body, an organism, to express Him. Hence, He is not only the Head but also the Body. As our physical body has many members yet is one, so is this Christ. We cannot say that a head is the person and the body is not part of that person. If the Head is Christ, the Body surely is Christ. It is altogether right to say that the Body is Christ.
THE CHURCH BEING THE NEW MAN WHERE CHRIST IS ALL AND IN ALL
Colossians 3:10 and 11 say that in the new man, the church, “there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all and in all.” This means that there is no room for any natural person in the church as the new man. There is only room for Christ. In the new man there cannot be any races; there can only be Christ. Christ is “all and in all” in the new man. He is all the members of the new man and in all the members. He is everything in the new man. Actually, He is the new man, His Body. The church as the new man is just Christ.
THE GOD-ORDAINED WAY
The Organic Way of Life
Now we want to fellowship concerning the God-ordained way, the fifth emphasis in the Lord’s recovery. Today in the Lord’s recovery we are taking a new way, which is God-ordained. The God-ordained way to build up the Body of Christ is purely a matter of life. According to the record of Genesis 1, God created the plant life, the animal life, and the human life. Eventually, in Genesis 2 the highest life is revealed, and that life is God Himself as the tree of life (v. 9).
Genesis 1 is a record of life. It shows how the organic God of life created the earth in an organic way by producing life. First, He created the plant life, the lowest life. After creating the plant life, God created the animal life. This earth is beautiful in life, in the plant life and in the animal life. Last, God created man and told man to replenish the earth. Today the earth has been replenished by the Adamic race. That one man, Adam, eventually became a race of billions. Man’s replenishing of the earth took place in a gradual way. This is the organic way of life.
The artificial way is a quick way. Artificial things can be made quickly, but a child cannot be produced overnight. After a child is conceived, it takes nine months for it to be born. This is God’s way of life. In the Lord’s recovery we should not do anything in an artificial way by our art. We have to do everything in the organic way.
The Lord Jesus, of course, did many things in His ministry. He performed miracles and taught, but whatever He did was a kind of sowing. Sowing is organic. The Lord said that the kingdom of God was like a man who casts seed on the earth (Mark 4:26-29). After the seed is sown, it grows in a spontaneous way. Whatever the Lord did was not by His art. Whatever He did was a sowing. Mark 4 reveals that He actually sowed Himself. Eventually, Christ as the seed became a kingdom. Therefore, the kingdom is Christ. Christ sowed Himself as the seed, and this seed grows up to be the kingdom. This kingdom is still growing. When Christ comes back, He will become a great mountain (Dan. 2:35, 44). This great mountain is the eternal kingdom, which is Christ. Christ is the kingdom today, and Christ will be the enlarged, eternal kingdom in the next age. Christ has sown Himself into mankind so that He can grow up into the eternal kingdom.
The new way, the God-ordained way, is not to do anything by art, but to sow Christ as the seed organically. The new way is organic. The old way is artificial. The old way of gospel preaching is not organic. There are two ways to have flowers. One way is by sowing a seed; then the seed grows. It takes time for the seed to blossom into a flower. Another way to have flowers is by art. Many beautiful artificial flowers can be made within a short period of time. These artificial flowers may seem very genuine. Even some genuine flowers may not look as nice as the artificial flowers do. Today many Christians preach the gospel to sinners mostly by art with no life. Artificial things cannot produce anything. However, if we sow a seed and one flower grows up, many more seeds will fall into the ground. Then the next year there may be thirty more flowers. Organic things produce life.
We must take the organic way in our preaching of the gospel. When we go to people, we do not need to talk much. We need to exercise our spirit. Before going to contact people, we should have a time of prayer to call on the Lord until we are filled with the Spirit essentially within and economically without. When we are full of the Spirit, we can sow Christ as the seed into others with just a few words spoken by the Spirit. Because people have been enlivened by us, they will have the desire to enliven others. They will become a producing and begetting factor.
The old way of preaching the gospel is to make people Christians by our art. Then they become something artificial. We should not preach the gospel by art, but by the Spirit. Then we do not “make” a Christian, but we produce a Christian; we beget a spiritual child. They have the same life, the same Spirit, as we do, and they will go to beget others. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 4:15 that we may have a thousand teachers but not many fathers. Paul told the Corinthians that he had begotten them in Christ and by Christ. Begetting others organically in Christ and by Christ is what we have to learn to do. The God-ordained way is the organic way of life.
(Five Emphases in the Lord's Recovery, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)