THE HOUSE OF GOD
The church is also the house of God (1 Pet. 2:5). By this we do not mean merely that the church is the dwelling of God. This Greek word oikos means not only the house, the dwelling, but also the household. Oikos means both house and also the folks, the family, that make up the household; thus, it may also be translated household (Eph. 2:19).
God’s dwelling place today on earth is the church, and God, as such a great Father, has a family, which is the church. For our family life we have a house, and inside the house we have the family. To us the house is one thing, and the family another; the house is the building, and the family is the people who live there. God’s house and God’s family, however, are the same. The house is the family, and the family is the house.
We as the church are God’s house, God’s dwelling place. At the same time, we are God’s family. Both the house of God and the family of God are one entity, that is, a group of regenerated, called ones, indwelt by God Himself. These called ones, who have been regenerated by God with His life and who are being indwelt by this living God with all that He is, are both God’s dwelling place and His family. This is more than an assembly. This is different from a group or organization of people. This is something organic—organic in the divine life, organic in the divine nature, and organic in the Triune God.
Some stressed the ekklesia very much, but they did not pay much attention to the organic aspect of the church. They did not say much about the church as God’s family. We must realize, though, that the church is organic; it is the living house of God. Paul says the church is the house of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15) and that this house grows (Eph. 2:21). Does your house grow? Our houses do not grow. They depreciate. But God’s house grows! For something to grow it must be living. Anything without life cannot grow. Anything which grows is organic, with life. Hallelujah, we are growing!
In 1964 I went to Plainview, Texas, to visit a small group of saints. Then in 1965 I went to Waco, Texas, to visit another small group. Without faith I would have been fully disappointed. When the news went to New York, a dear brother with whom I had been co-working for a number of years said to another brother that he did not believe these small groups in Texas would last. In 1968 I went to Lubbock. I did not see a big church; rather I saw something which needed much faith. By His mercy I did have that faith. Then the saints in Texas moved to Houston in 1969, and I went to visit them. The situation there was somewhat encouraging, but not entirely so. My visits to Irving, however, in 1982 and 1983 made me excited. There has been much growth among the churches in Texas because the church is something living. It is the living house of the living God. It is not something of organization, but of life; thus, its growth is by life.
(The Basic Revelation in the Holy Scriptures, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)