The Practical Expression of the Church, by Witness Lee


In Ephesians 3:9-11 many great and significant terms are used because they are related to God’s eternal plan. We must all know the economy of God’s mystery. This mystery has been hidden in God for generations from the beginning of creation. Even before the foundation of the world, God was exceedingly clear regarding this mystery.

All the creatures do not know this mystery. It has been hidden in God. If you could ask a tiger or a lion why they are here, they would tell you that they do not know. If you were to ask university professors the meaning of life, I believe they all would answer that they simply do not know.

But praise the Lord! This mystery has been made known. We know why God is in three persons. We know why the creation of the heavens and the earth and so many billions of items is necessary and why mankind was brought into existence. We know because God has made known to us this mystery. We know what the economy of the mystery is, which has been hidden in God from the beginning of the creation. It is all for the church.


With this eternal purpose of God, God’s multifarious wisdom is shown; and it is made known not only to man but to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenlies. God makes a display of His wisdom to all these angelic powers through the church. Hallelujah, this is real wisdom! It is made known through the church, not through individuals. This is why we all must respect the church and realize how much we need the church. As long as we are in the church, it is a glory to God and a shame to the enemy. But as long as we are out of the church, it is a shame to God and a kind of boast to the enemy. We must have the church.

We are chosen, redeemed, saved, and regenerated not for heaven but for the church. The church is God’s goal. The church is God’s aim. The church is the center of God’s plan.


Ephesians 4:11-12 tells us that all the gifted persons—the apostles, prophets, evangelists, and shepherds and teachers—are for the church. They are for the perfecting of the saints, that the building up of the church may be realized.

It is indeed regrettable that today so many so-called Christian workers, ministers, and teachers are doing a work without much regard for the church. They only care for their work; they care little for the church. The work they are doing, in a sense, is frustrating, destroying, and damaging the church. All the gifted persons must be for the church. To be an apostle must be for the church. To be a prophet must be for the church. To be an evangelist must be for the church. To be a shepherd and teacher must be for the church. Whatever the Lord commits to us or burdens us to do must be for the church. The church is what God is after. The church is what God planned and desires to have.

(The Practical Expression of the Church, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)