THE REALITY OF THE HOUSE OF GOD BEING THE REALITY OF THE BODY OF CHRIST
In the Bible the most thorough and the highest speaking concerning the house of God is in 1 Timothy 3:15-16, which says, “But if I delay, I write that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and base of the truth. And confessedly, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was manifested in the flesh,/Justified in the Spirit,/Seen by angels,/Preached among the nations,/Believed on in the world,/Taken up in glory.” All orthodox students of the Bible acknowledge that the emphasis of verse 16 is not on Christ but on the church. The church is the great mystery of godliness, the manifestation of God in the flesh, and the pillar and base of the truth. The pillar supports the building, and the base holds the pillar. The church as such a pillar and base bears and holds the truth of God. The truth here refers to the real things revealed in the New Testament concerning Christ and the church according to God’s New Testament economy. The church is the supporting pillar and holding base of all the realities.
Since the church is the house of the living God, it is a matter of life and spirit. Both the Body of Christ and the house of God are organic; both are hinged on the life of God and the Spirit of God. Without the life of God or the Spirit of God, both the house of God and the Body of Christ are gone. All that is left is a human organization, a mere assembling of the called-out congregation. If there is no life or spirit, there is no reality of the Body of Christ. Moreover, if there is no life or spirit, there is no reality of the house of God.
In the previous message I said that the proper living of a Christ-pursuing God-man is to live out the reality of the Body of Christ. In this message I would like to add something more: A God-man should also live out the reality of the house of God. Actually, the reality of the house of God is the reality of the Body of Christ. The house of God is local; the Body of Christ is universal. Both are the same in their intrinsic essence; both depend on life and spirit.
To the church in Sardis the Lord said, “You have a name that you are living, and yet you are dead” (Rev. 3:1). To the church in Laodicea He said, “Because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I am about to spew you out of My mouth” (v. 16). The degraded church has a name that she is living, and yet she is dead; she is also lukewarm toward the Lord. To such a degraded church Christ is standing outside her door instead of inside (v. 20). This is the general situation of Christianity today. Christ is outside the door of the so-called church instead of being inside. That it is merely an organization is apparent; it is not the house of God or the Body of Christ. Hence, in reality it cannot be counted as the house of God or the Body of Christ; it has neither the reality of the house of God nor the reality of the Body of Christ. Such a danger exists also among us. When we meet, Christ may be outside instead of being inside.
Today if we want to bring in an unprecedented revival, we must deal with the matter of life and spirit. I hope to see that some of you will really exercise your spirit to be filled with the Spirit regularly. If so, once you step into the meeting hall, you will be singing and praising; you will sing going up the stairs and walking through the aisles, and even when you sit down you will still be singing and praising without ceasing. If we have this kind of meeting among us, this is indeed the manifestation of the Body of Christ, and this is where the house of God is. When people come into our midst, according to what 1 Corinthians 14:25 says, they will worship God, declaring that indeed God is among us.
(A General Outline of God's Economy and the Proper Living of a God-Man, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)