II. THE SAINTS BEING PERFECTED BY THE PERFECTING GIFTS WITH THE LIFE SUPPLY AS THE NOURISHMENT FOR THE GROWTH IN LIFE
[The saints are perfected by the perfecting gifts with the life supply as the nourishment for the growth in life. Proper mothers feed their babes nourishing food. We have to perfect the saints with some solid food supply that they may be nourished. This food supply actually is the life supply. Christ Himself is not only our life but also our life supply.] The gifted persons must perfect the saints that they may know how to minister Christ as life to sinners and then know how to minister life to supply the saved ones. The gifted persons help the saints by feeding them with solid food. The gifted persons not only teach people, but feed people.
The gifted persons perfect the saints, not by Bible teaching, but by nourishing them. [Bible teaching has been going on for centuries with very few of the Lord’s children being perfected. What is needed today is the nourishment of Christ. Do not tell people what is right and what is wrong. Even if something is right, that does not mean anything in the sight of God. Only life means something. Only life counts.] The saints need to be perfected not by something, but with something, that is, with the very life of God, with the very Christ whom the gifted persons enjoy. This is what nourishes the saints to perfect them.
III. UNTO THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY— UNTO THE BUILDING UP OF THE BODY OF CHRIST
[Ephesians 4:12 says that the gifted persons are “for the perfecting of the saints unto the work of ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ.’’ According to the grammatical construction, the work of the ministry is the building up of the Body of Christ. The perfecting is unto the work of the ministry, which is the building up of the Body of Christ. The word “unto’’ in Greek in Ephesians 4:12 means in view of, for the purpose of, resulting in, issuing in. The perfecting of the saints is in view of the work of the ministry, which is the unique ministry in the New Testament. Thousands of believers may be doing a work of a thousand parts, but every part should be for the unique work of the unique ministry to build up the Body of Christ. Paul referred to the building up of the Body of Christ, not to the building up of the church. Paul’s stress was not on the building up of the church as a congregation but on the building up of the Body as an organism. The saints are perfected unto the work of the ministry for the building up of the Body of Christ as an organism. The New Testament ministry builds up an organism not an organization.]
[All the members of the Body of Christ who do the work of the ministry participate in the unique ministry of God’s New Testament economy (2 Cor. 4:1; 3:8-9). This unique ministry is the ministry of the Spirit, who gives life (2 Cor. 3:8). The unique ministry of the Old Testament was the ministry of death because that was the ministry of the law which condemns and kills us (2 Cor. 3:7a, 9a). But the unique ministry of the New Testament is altogether a life-giving, organic ministry. This ministry is the ministry of righteousness, which brings in justification unto life (2 Cor. 3:9; Rom. 5:18b). The ministry of the law was the ministry of condemnation unto death, while the ministry of the faith, the New Testament, is the ministry of justification unto life, so it is altogether organic. The work of the ministry to build up the Body of Christ is directly by the perfected saints in the growth in life (Eph. 4:15-16). The saints grow up by being nourished, and this growing up is the building up.]
(Lesson Book, Level 5: The Church—The Vision and Building Up of the Church, Chapter 14, by Witness Lee)