II. THE NATURE, GROUND,
AND CONDITION OF A LOCAL CHURCH
Scripture Reading: 1 Cor. 1:2; Rom. 16:16b; Eph. 4:3; Acts 8:1; 13:1; Rom. 16:1; 1 Cor. 1:2; Rev. 1:11
In this chapter we shall consider, second, the nature, ground, and condition of a local church.
A. The Nature
1. The Church of God,
Possessing the Divine Nature of God
Concerning the nature of a local church, first we must realize that the church is the church of God (1 Cor. 1:2). A local church must be a church of God, possessing the divine nature of God. The title "the church of God" denotes not only that the church belongs to God, but also that the church must have the nature of God.
2. The Churches of Christ,
Being in the Element of Christ
Second, the churches are the churches of Christ (Rom. 16:16b). A local church must be a church of Christ, being in the element of Christ. Every element has a nature, and the nature is the essence of the element. Christ is the element of the church, and God is the nature of the church. God is in Christ; this indicates that the nature is in the element. A local church must possess the divine nature of God and be in the element of Christ.
B. The Ground
1. The Genuine Oneness of the Body
of Christ—the Oneness of the Spirit
The ground of a local church is the genuine oneness of the Body of Christ, that is, the oneness of the Spirit. Ephesians 4:3 charges us to be diligent to keep the oneness of the Spirit. The oneness of the Spirit is the oneness of the Body of Christ, which is the basic element of the unique ground of a local church.
(Elders' Training, Book 10: The Eldership and the God-Ordained Way (2), Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)