THE FULLNESS OF CHRIST BECOMING HIS EXPRESSION, WHICH IS THE CHURCH
When we enjoy the riches of Christ, we become His fullness, and this fullness is His expression. Ephesians 1:22-23 says, “…and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church, which is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all.” Christ is the Head over all things to the church. The church is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all. Who is the One who fills all in all? It is Christ. The church is His Body, and this Body is the fullness of Christ. Three things are spoken of in these two verses: first, the church; second, the Body; and third, the fullness. These three things all refer to the church. The church as the Body of Christ becomes the fullness of Christ for the expression of Christ. A person with a head and a body appears full and perfect. What is this? This is his expression. Even if he wants to hide, he cannot because the expression of his fullness cannot be covered. Today the church has Christ as the Head and Christ as the Body, so it is the expression of the fullness of Christ. If day by day we have grace upon grace, receive in full the riches of Christ, and enjoy all the fullness of the Godhead which is in Christ, then we will become the expression of the fullness of Christ, which is the church.
The fullness is produced by our enjoyment of the riches. For example, when we go to the American supermarket to buy food, we walk in the door and see fish, meat, vegetables, and fruit, which are abundant and rich. These foods, however, have not yet become the fullness; they are only the riches of America. How do the riches of America become the fullness of America? By eating. We must ask everyone to eat these riches of America. If we eat steak every day, eventually each one of us will be a tall, strong, full person, and then we all will be the fullness of America. By eating the riches of America, we become the fullness of America. If we want to become the fullness of Christ, we must enjoy the riches of Christ as food and be filled with these riches that the element of the divine life may become our riches. In this way, we will constantly enjoy and absorb the riches of Christ, and the result is that we become the full expression of Christ, which is the church.
The riches of Christ are very abundant, but unfortunately many Christians are not willing to enjoy Christ as food every day. Therefore, despite the fact that the riches of Christ are in them, they do not express Christ’s fullness outwardly. The riches of Christ are not doctrines but are grace and reality. Twenty-two years ago in Palo Alto in northern California was the first time I spoke in English about the riches of Christ becoming the fullness of Christ. At that time many young Americans received my speaking and rose up to enjoy the riches of Christ. The more we enjoy, the more we digest; and the more we digest, the more we absorb. The result is the fullness, which is the church. Today the churches in different localities in America have truly become the fullness of the One who fills all in all, the expression of the fullness of Christ, and the manifestation of God in the flesh. We should give glory to God, because today God wants to obtain a church that expresses Him to deal with His enemy. Therefore, God wants us to enjoy the riches of Christ, to be constituted and saturated with the riches of Christ, and to become the Body of Christ for His expression in each locality that is on the ground of oneness.
Perhaps some would say that we should not speak about the church and that it does not matter how we meet. However, I know deep within that it is necessary to speak about the church. In the past sixty years in mainland China, in Taiwan, and now in America, some were with us but later were influenced by others to refrain from speaking about the church and to reject the ground of oneness of the church. I saw with my own eyes that these ones had a hard time growing strong in Christ. Some were not building up but dividing the Body of Christ. Once they abandoned the ground of oneness, they did not and could not keep the oneness of the Spirit, and the result was division after division. This is a historical fact.
I hope that especially you young people who hear this word would from now on always see the church, know the church, and remain in the church. The church is the place where you are fed and where you can dwell securely. In the church you are supplied. This is because what the Lord wants is the church. This is a way not of man’s choosing; it is the Lord’s way. We cannot give up this testimony, nor can any person destroy this testimony. This is the testimony of the oneness of the Body of Christ. The Head is one, the Body is one, and the expression is one; they are all Christ. We must preserve this oneness in order to escape all errors. Then our relationship with the church will be like the proper relationship between a husband and wife. A husband and wife must be one flesh; they cannot divorce. Neither the husband nor the wife can change his or her standing because of dissatisfaction; otherwise, all kinds of corrupt things will be brought in. May your vision of the church be with such a proper and clear view.
(Christ in His Excellency, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)