THE PERFECTED SAINTS DIRECTLY BUILDING UP THE BODY OF CHRIST
In the last chapter we have seen that in the building up of the Body of Christ the first One who builds is Christ. How does Christ build the church? He does it in His ascended position by giving to the church gifts such as the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the shepherds and teachers. The Lord does not build up the church directly. Rather, it is the gifts given to the church that perfect the saints. The perfected saints in turn participate in the work of the ministry to directly build up the Body of Christ. Here is the distinction between the church in the Lord’s recovery and the denominations. The denominations are built up as a congregation by a few pastors and preachers. But the church in the Lord’s recovery is built up as the Body of Christ by every perfected saint.
Holding to Truth in Love
Ephesians 4:15 shows us that to build up the Body of Christ we first need to hold to truth in love. In the universe everything is vain and empty; there is no truth. According to Ephesians, in the universe there are only three things that are true and will last to eternity. The first is God’s New Testament economy. This is very practical and real. We have to hold to this in love. This love is not our own love; rather, it is the love of God in Christ becoming our love. By this love we love God, Christ, and the church. We have to hold to God’s economy in this love. The second thing is the all-inclusive Christ. Christ is most real. All other doctrines, speakings, and different teachings are not real. We must hold to Christ and forsake everything else. The third thing is the church as Christ’s Body, the organism. The church is also true and will last for eternity because it is the Body of Christ, the true One. To build up the Body of Christ we must hold to these three things. All the other things we must reject.
Growing into Christ the Head in All Things
In order to build up the Body of Christ, we also need to grow up into Christ the Head in all things (Eph. 4:15). Although we are saved, in many things we are still outside of Christ. We need to grow into Christ in one thing after another. For example, when the sisters are going to make a dress, they often make their own decisions in choosing the style, the color, and the fabric. They do not allow the Lord to be Lord. Likewise, the brothers may not allow the Lord to be Lord in deciding whether they should leave their hair long or short. In too many things we have not allowed Christ to be Lord. Hence, in those things we are not in the Lord but rather outside the Lord. For this reason we need to grow. We need to grow into the Lord in one thing after another. This requires that we acknowledge the headship of Christ. When a sister is going to make a dress, she should pray to the Lord, “Lord, I am not the Lord. You are the Lord. You decide what style, color, and fabric the dress should be.” In this way, she will grow into Christ. Second, we have to let Christ increase and grow in all of our inward parts. When Christ grows within us, we will grow in Him. Actually, the growth in life is not our growth, but the growth of the Lord Jesus in us. This requires that we give Him the ground and acknowledge His headship. We have to hand over our rights to Him and allow Him to have the ground in us. In this way, He will occupy us and will grow in us, and we will grow in His life. By this, we will grow into Christ the Head in all things.
(The Economy of God and the Building Up of the Body of Christ, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)