Life-Study of 1 & 2 Thessalonians, by Witness Lee

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We have seen a little of what it means for the church to be in the Father. Now let us go on to consider what it means for the church to be in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a great matter to be in Christ. To be in Christ means that there is no sin, flesh, self, natural life, old creation, death, or Satan. If we are in Christ, everything negative has been terminated. Sin, death, the self, the flesh, Satan, and the old creation have all been terminated. For those who are in Christ everything other than God has been terminated.

If we realize what has been terminated in Christ, we shall know that it is shameful for so-called churches to designate themselves by certain names. For example, in China there was a group called the American Presbyterian Church. Recently in southern California I saw a sign which read “The Orange County Chinese Taiwanese Church.” A brother recently told me about a group called the San Francisco Chinese Mennonite Church. There is no room for any such names or designations in the church. Those who take a name such as these indicate by doing so that they are not the church in the Lord Jesus Christ. The fact that they have a name indicates that many things among them have not been terminated.

The church is in the Lord Jesus Christ. This implies that with respect to the church everything natural, everything negative, everything of the old creation, has been terminated. This means that in the church there are no Chinese or Americans, no Japanese or Koreans, no French or Germans. In the church there is room only for Jesus Christ the Lord. This is the significance of the church being in the Lord Jesus Christ.

We in the Lord’s recovery claim to be practicing the church life. Whenever we make such a claim, however, we need to check to see whether we are still holding to our culture or disposition. Regarding this matter, sometimes we expect others to sympathize with us. On occasion sisters have said to me, “Brother Lee, don’t forget that we are sisters. According to the Bible, we sisters are weaker vessels.” But in the Lord Jesus Christ there are no weak vessels. Therefore, we should not expect anyone to sympathize with our natural disposition. As long as you want others to sympathize with you, that is an indication that in your experience you are not buried with Christ. For the church to be in the Lord Jesus Christ in a practical way, we all need to be terminated and buried. We need to die and then be placed in the tomb. This is to be in the Lord Jesus Christ.

When I say this, does it seem that I am comparing the Lord Jesus Christ to a tomb? Listen to what Paul says in Romans 6:3: “Are you ignorant that as many as have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?” This verse clearly says that to be baptized into Christ is to be baptized into Christ’s death. How, then, can we be in Christ without also being in His death? To be in Christ is to be buried, terminated. Do you like to hear such a word? Whether we like to hear it or not, it is the truth that to be in Christ is to be terminated.

During special times of conference or training, saints come together from different cities and regions. Outwardly, no one says anything in favor of his locality. But deep within we may be proud of coming from a certain place. In our heart we may say, “You have to realize that we are from such-and-such place. Our place is the best.” To think in this way is to exalt ourselves. When we claim to be of a certain place, we are excluding ourselves from the Lord Jesus Christ. The church must be only in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

(Life-Study of 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)