THE GROWTH OF THE CHURCH HINGING ON THE INCREASE OF THE ELEMENT OF CHRIST
Ephesians 4:13 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.” Here Paul indicates that once we know Christ, we will progress and arrive at a full-grown man and at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Do not think that the church is progressing simply if it increases in number from several hundred to three or five thousand. It may not be. The growth of the church hinges not on an increase in number, in love, or in zeal but on the increase of the element of Christ. The church progresses when there is the increase of Christ’s element and the growth of Christ’s life. It is true that zeal, love, and the denial of the self can be found in Christians; however, the zeal, love, and self-denial in the lives of Christians should not be of man but of Christ.
Therefore, we must know that the content of the church is Christ, and the growth of the church is also Christ. Only Christ Himself should increase in the church. Some people had only a certain amount of Christ in them in the previous month, but after one month, three months, or five months, they have more of Christ’s element in them. Now when we meet them, we not only touch their zeal, love, meekness, humility, and freshness, but we also have the feeling that Christ’s element has increased in them. When we come into contact with them, they give an atmosphere that they have more of Christ’s element in them. It is not merely an increase in love, faith, zeal, and self-denial, but something that is most real and subjective—the element of Christ—has increased in them. This is the genuine growth of the church. The genuine growth of the church hinges on the increase of the measure of the stature of Christ in the church, the increase of the element of Christ day by day.
THE NEED OF PRAYER
In the past we only knew that as Christians we needed to have love, zeal, faith, humility, and meekness. Now we know, however, that Christ as an element has to be added into us and that He has to grow in us, be formed in us, and be expressed through us. How wonderful it is that Christ lives in us to be our life, our nature, and our personality! However, although we know, realize, and understand this, we do not really know this Christ. We do not know how Christ becomes the life in us, how His element becomes our element, how His life becomes our life, how His nature becomes our nature, and how His personality becomes our personality. Therefore, we need to pray and look to God that He will give us the revelation. Our eyes must be opened so that in our spirit we may see the light, the revelation, and the vision that Christ wants to mingle Himself with us. We really cannot convey this with words; hence, we need to petition, pray, and look to the Lord for the light and revelation.
From now on, we need to pray specifically, not for any other thing but to know Christ. We should not pray for our work but for this revelation, the revelation that Christ in us has become our life. We have to comprehend, to sense, and to practically experience Christ’s mingling with us.
(The Crucified Christ, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)