Lesson Book, Level 5: The Church—The Vision and Building Up of the Church, by Witness Lee

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[In his exhortation in Ephesians 5:22-33, Paul presents the church as the counterpart of Christ. This reveals that the church is actually a part of Christ, for the church comes out of Christ and is unto Christ, just as Eve came out of Adam and was unto Adam (Gen. 2:21-23).

The first couple in the Bible, Adam and Eve, is a picture of Christ and the church. In His creation, God did not create a man and woman at the same time. He first created a man, and then from the man He created a counterpart to help him (Gen. 2:18). When the fowl, the beasts, and the cattle were brought before Adam, Adam named them one by one. But for Adam “there was not found a help meet for him’’ (Gen. 2:20). Adam desired to have a counterpart, to have someone to match him. However, among the fowl, the beasts, and the cattle, he could not find his counterpart. In order to produce such a counterpart, God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam (Gen. 2:21), and He took a rib out of Adam and built a woman with the rib (Gen. 2:22). The name of the woman was Eve. Eve was the same as Adam in life, nature, and form. Therefore, she could be his counterpart. When God brought Eve to Adam, Adam exclaimed, “This time it is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh’’ (Gen. 2:23, Heb.). At last, Adam had found one who could be his counterpart.

Genesis 2:24 indicates that a man and his wife are one flesh. The husband and the wife are two halves of a whole person. This is a marvelous picture of Christ and the church. Eve had the same life and nature that Adam had. This signifies that the church has the same life and nature that Christ has. Furthermore, Eve had virtually the same image and nearly the same stature as Adam. This indicates that the church bears the same image and has the same stature as Christ.

The church as the counterpart of Christ implies satisfaction and rest in love. Every husband needs satisfaction and rest, which are found in love. The brothers who are husbands can testify that our satisfaction and rest can only be in our wives. If we say that we are the church, then we must ask if Christ has His rest among us. This is a serious matter. A group of Christians should not be so quick to claim that they are the church. To be the church is to render to Christ the adequate satisfaction and rest in love. Christ needs such a counterpart. The church is not merely a gathering of God’s called ones. The church, as Christ’s counterpart, is a satisfaction and rest to Christ in love.]

A. The Church as the Bride, the Wife, of Christ as the Bridegroom, the Husband

[The church is the bride, the wife, of Christ, who is the Bridegroom, the Husband. The word of John the Baptist in John 3:29 indicates that Christ is the Bridegroom. “He who has the bride is the bridegroom.’’ The bridegroom is a most pleasant person, who comes for the bride. The church should be a corporate bride prepared for Christ. To us He should be the attraction, the pleasure, and the satisfaction. As those who constitute the counterpart of Christ, we should enjoy Him as such a pleasant Bridegroom.

In 2 Corinthians 11:2 Paul speaks concerning Christ as the Husband. “I am jealous over you with a jealousy of God; for I betrothed you to one Husband, to present a pure virgin to Christ.’’ Here we see that Christ is the believers’ Husband, the unique Husband for us to love. We should belong only to Him, and we should appreciate Him and love Him. As our Husband, Christ has attracted us, and we have been presented as a pure virgin to Him. Now we should care only for Him, allowing nothing to replace Him in our hearts. Our love for Him should be pure, and our whole being should be focused on Him.

As Eve was Adam’s increase, so the church as the bride, the wife, of Christ as the Bridegroom, the Husband, is Christ’s increase. After John the Baptist referred to Christ as the Bridegroom, he went on to say, “He must increase, but I must decrease’’ (John 3:30). The increase in verse 30 is the bride in verse 29. For the Lord to increase means that He must have the bride. All the following must go to Him. All those who believe in Him should follow Him to be His bride as His increase.]

(Lesson Book, Level 5: The Church—The Vision and Building Up of the Church, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)