V. THE NATURE OF THE CHURCH BEING OF HEAVEN, NOT OF EARTH
Since the source of the church is the Triune God, the nature of the church is of heaven and not of earth. We began by being seated in the heavenlies with Christ (Eph. 2:6). The New Jerusalem, the ultimate consummation of the church, will descend out of heaven from God (Rev. 21:9-10). This tells us that the church is not of earth but of heaven. Therefore, the apostle Paul told us in Colossians 3:1-3, “If therefore you were raised together with Christ, seek the things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things which are above, not on the things which are on the earth; for you died, and your life has been hidden with Christ in God.’’ We should live our life on this earth as a heavenly people, not bound or distracted by earthly things like the unsaved, but to be occupied with the Triune God, His life, and the things above—Christ Himself. As we live this way, we will be good material for the building up of the church.
VI. THE FOUNDATION OF THE CHURCH BEING CHRIST
[The church’s foundation is Christ, revealed and ministered through the apostles and prophets. Ephesians 2:20 speaks of the foundation of the apostles and prophets. This foundation is the very Christ whom they ministered to others. Paul said that Christ was the unique foundation which he had laid. No one can lay another foundation (1 Cor. 3:10-11). The Christ who is the foundation of the church is the unique Christ revealed and ministered by the early apostles, as recorded in the New Testament.] We should lay hold of this Christ. We should not live in ourselves or become distracted by the world.
VII. THE CHURCH BEING GLORIOUS
God [wants a church of glory. Glory is the expression of God and it is altogether different from human morality and behavior. When God filled the tabernacle and the temple, both of them were filled with glory, with the very manifestation of God.] [The only way God can have a glorious church is through Christ’s sanctifying, cleansing, nourishing, and cherishing. As we experience these things in a personal and practical way, the church becomes glorious.]
The church is God’s eternal purpose. The church is the building of all God’s people. The church is the organism of the Triune God. The essence of the church is life, the very life of God. The nature of the church is of heaven. The foundation of the church is Christ. This means the church is a corporate entity that is completely involved with the Triune God; therefore, the church is glorious. It can only express God. Sometimes we may see some problem in the church. Those problems are not part of the church, they are the blemishes and wrinkles the Lord is cleansing in this age. Eventually the church will be “glorious, not having spot or wrinkle or any such things’’ (Eph. 5:27).
We praise the Lord, that by His mercy, He brought us into the church. Let us treasure the church as God treasures her. Do not take the church for granted. The church is according to God’s plan. Christ died for her. The Spirit is transforming her. We should consecrate ourselves—all our time, all that we are, all that we have, and all that we can do—to Christ and the church so that God can accomplish His plan. This is the highest matter in the universe. Let us press on for this.
(Lesson Book, Level 5: The Church—The Vision and Building Up of the Church, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)