THE CONCLUSION CONCERNING THE CHURCH
The Relationship between Christ and the Church
The church comes out of Christ, through the Spirit, and by life. Therefore, the church is a product of Christ, the Spirit, and life. First of all, we need to know the relationship between Christ and the church. The church is in Christ and comes out of Christ, as Eve came out of Adam. God created only Adam, but after Adam was created, God said that it was not good for the man to dwell alone. This indicates that God Himself felt a lack. Therefore, God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep and took a rib from his side to build it into a woman. This signifies that the church came out of the side of Christ. When the Lord Jesus was crucified, His side was pierced and out came blood and water (John 19:34). Blood is for redemption, to deal with sins for the purchasing of the church (John 1:29; Heb. 9:22; Acts 20:28). Water is for imparting life, to deal with death for the producing of the church (John 12:24; 3:14-15; Eph. 5:26-30). This proves that the church comes out of Christ.
Second, the church is of Christ. Since the church is out of Christ, it is also of Christ. Out of denotes the source, whereas of denotes the essence. The essence of Eve was the same as that of Adam; there was no difference in essence because Eve was of Adam, being built with a rib of Adam. Therefore, Eve was not only out of Adam but also of Adam. In like manner, the church is not only out of Christ but also of Christ. The essence of the church is nothing other than Christ Himself (Col. 3:11).
Third, the church is joined to Christ. The union of the church with Christ is not only like the joining of a wife to a husband, but even more like the union of a body with a head. Even though a couple may be joined, they are still somewhat separate, but a head and a body cannot be divided because once they are divided, they are finished. This means that the union of the church with Christ is an organic union, not an organizational association. A table is made up of pieces of wood joined together; this is organizational. However, a head and a body are joined together not organizationally, but organically.
Fourth, the church is based upon Christ. The Lord Jesus said that He would build His church upon “this rock” (Matt. 16:18). This rock refers to Christ and also to the revelation concerning Christ. This means that Christ is the foundation of the church and that the church takes Christ as its starting point. Christ is the unique foundation of the church (1 Cor. 3:10-11). The church is out of Christ, of Christ, joined to Christ, and based upon Christ.
The Relationship between the Church and the Spirit
We also need to see the relationship between the church and the Spirit. According to the Bible, the church is first baptized in the Spirit into one Body (1 Cor. 12:13); second, the church is given to drink the Spirit; third, the church lives in the Spirit; and fourth, the church is for the manifestation of the Spirit. On the one hand, the church is out of Christ, of Christ, joined to Christ, and based upon Christ. On the other hand, the church is baptized in the Spirit into one Body and is given to drink this one Spirit. To be baptized is to be immersed in the Spirit; to drink is to have the Spirit saturating us within. In the area around Nanking and Yangchow in China, there is a saying: “In the morning, the skin wraps the water; at night, the water wraps the skin.” When a person sits in the tea house in the morning drinking tea, that is the skin wrapping the water; when he goes to soak himself in a bath at night, that is the water wrapping the skin. This is the local people’s secret to health. For a Christian to be healthy, there is also the need to have “the skin wrapping the water” and “the water wrapping the skin.” First, it is the “water wrapping the skin,” that is, to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Then, it is the “skin wrapping the water,” that is, to drink the Holy Spirit moment by moment. In this way, our living is in spirit. Once we live in spirit, the issue is that Christ is expressed. This is similar to what Revelation says concerning each golden lampstand having seven lamps. The seven lamps are the expression of the golden lampstand; this is the manifestation of the Spirit because the seven lamps are the seven Spirits (Rev. 4:5). Therefore, the church is baptized in the Spirit, is given to drink the Spirit, lives in the Spirit, and is for the manifestation of the Spirit.
(Four Crucial Elements of the Bible, The—Christ, the Spirit, Life, and the Church, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)