THE EXPRESSION OF CHRIST BEING THE EXPRESSION OF GOD
The expression of Christ is the expression of God. Because the fullness of Christ is the fullness of God, the expression of Christ is also the expression of God. Ephesians 3:17-19 says, “That Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith, that you…may be full of strength to apprehend with all the saints what the breadth and length and height and depth are…that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God.” The universe has its dimensions, but no one is able to measure its breadth and length and height and depth. The dimensions of the universe are Christ. Christ is the breadth, the length, the height, and the depth of the universe.
In our experience, we first experience the breadth of what Christ is, and then the length. Then we advance and experience, in the church, the height and depth of His riches. From the horizontal aspect of breadth and length to the vertical aspect of height and depth, we are going from a plane to a cube. When we experience Christ together with the brothers and sisters in the church and together apprehend the dimensions of Christ, we discover that the riches of Christ are limitless and immeasurable. Through the bountiful supply of the indwelling, life-giving Spirit, the riches of Christ are constantly being dispensed into us that we may be filled and saturated unto all the fullness of God. The fullness of God refers to the expression of the riches of what God is, and this makes us the expression of God, which is the church of Christ.
BECOMING FULL-GROWN AND ARRIVING AT THE MEASURE OF THE STATURE OF THE FULLNESS OF CHRIST
Ephesians 4:11-12 says, “And He Himself gave some as apostles and some as prophets and some as evangelists and some as shepherds and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ.” We are here perfecting the saints unto the work of the ministry. The work of the ministry is not just the preaching of the gospel, nor is it just the teaching of the Bible or the setting up of a meeting. The work of the ministry is to build up the Body of Christ. According to the Greek grammar, using the word unto twice here is in apposition and implies that the work of the ministry and the building up of the Body of Christ are not two different matters but two ways of saying the same thing. Therefore, unto the work of the ministry equals unto the building up of the Body of Christ. Our work is not merely to preach the gospel, to set up a meeting, or to teach people about the Bible. These are all things we should do, but they are all for the building up of the Body of Christ—the church. If any activity is not for the building up of the Body of Christ, it is a work of division, and it is not for the work of the ministry. The work of the ministry has only one goal, that is to build up the Body of Christ—the church.
Verse 13 says, “Until we all arrive at the oneness of the faith and of the full knowledge of the Son of God, at a full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” This does not refer to three different kinds of arriving, but to one arriving with three aspects. The first aspect is arriving at the oneness of the faith and of the full knowledge of the Son of God. The second aspect is arriving at a full-grown man. Although we have the church here today, we must confess that we are still immature, that we have not arrived at a full-grown man. We are still in the process of being built up until we arrive at a full-grown man. The third aspect is arriving at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. This fullness of the stature is the church. To arrive at the full-grown stature of the church is to arrive at the stature of the fullness of Christ.
THE UNIQUE GOAL
We have seen this Christ in His excellency. His surpassingness, His transcendence, His glory, and His riches are all for one unique goal—His fullness. His fullness is His expression, and His expression is His church.
The work we are doing here is a spiritual warfare. We are not beating the air in vain with empty fists, nor are we running without a clear aim or goal. Our goal is the same goal as that of the apostle Paul and all those who have ministered throughout the ages: to build up the Body of Christ. We cannot have any work that divides the Body of Christ. If we preach the gospel, teach the Bible, or set up meetings, but this leads to the division of the Body of Christ, we should not do it. All of our work should be a part of the work of the ministry and should all have the goal of building up the Body of Christ.
I deeply believe that this is the proper way. The more we go on, the more we will have faith; the more we speak, the more we will have to speak about; the more we preach, the more capacity and boldness we will have to preach. The trumpet we are sounding here is the same trumpet sounded by the apostle Paul and by the saints throughout the ages. Our trumpet sound is in one accord. From Taiwan to America, we have been sounding this trumpet for more than twenty years, and we will continue to sound this trumpet without changing our tune. We do this because the excellent Christ has become our all, and we do it for the expression of His fullness—His church. This is God’s unique goal.
(Christ in His Excellency, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)