Lesson Book, Level 5: The Church—The Vision and Building Up of the Church, by Witness Lee

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God is one in every respect. His expression must also be in oneness. Since there is one God, there can only be one house of God to be the one dwelling place of God. Since there is one Head, there can only be one Body. As with one husband there is one wife, so also, there is only one church as the full expression of the one God. Any division is disallowed because division does not build up the church. It is impossible to build up the Body of Christ when there is division.


The Lord’s prayer in John chapter 17 shows His aspiration for the oneness of His Body. The organic oneness of the Body of Christ is the organic oneness in the Triune God. [Verse 20 says, “And I do not ask concerning these only, but concerning those also who believe in Me through their word.’’ This verse tells us that the Lord’s prayer here includes us, all the ones who believe in Him. Verse 21 says, “That they all may be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You…’’ This shows that the oneness of all the believers should be like the oneness in the Triune God. The Triune God is three yet one. The Father is in the Son, and the Son is in the Father. The oneness in the Godhead is not a mere unification. That is the oneness of men. The oneness of the Three of the Godhead is that They mutually indwell one another. What is the oneness among the believers? No word can adequately explain it, but there is the example of the divine oneness among the Three in the Godhead.]

[Verse 21 goes on to say, “Even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, that the world may believe that You have sent Me.’’ As the Father is in the Son and the Son in the Father, we also are in the Father and the Son. Before we believed in the Lord Jesus, we were separate from the coinhering Triune God, but now we are in the Triune God. God the Father’s being in the Son, God the Son’s being in the Father, the Father and the Son’s being in the Spirit, and the Spirit’s being in the Father and the Son has an issue, an outcome. This issue, this outcome, is that all the believers may also be in the Three of the Godhead. In the entire universe there is such a oneness, and this oneness is that the believers are mingled and wrapped up with the Triune God.]

[Verse 22 says, “And the glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, even as We are one.’’ What is the glory in this verse? The Father has given His divine life to the Son that the Son may express the Father. This expression is the glory. Now the Son has given us His life by which we can express Him. This expression is also glory. This indicates that the oneness we have with the Triune God is the divine life, and by this divine life we can express the Triune God. The divine life has been given to us and is within us. When we express the Triune God by this divine life, that is the oneness. The oneness is the very expression of the Triune God in and by His divine life.]

[Verse 23 says, “I in them, and You in Me, that they may be perfected into one, that the world may know that You have sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.’’ The Son is in the believers, the Father is in the Son, and by this the believers may be perfected into one. On the one hand, we are in the divine oneness. On the other hand, we still need to be perfected. This means that we may be in the oneness only to a small degree. This is why we need to be perfected into one. To be perfected is for us to have the growth in the divine life every day. The divine life has been given to us, and we need to live by this divine life. Then our expression will be the divine oneness. At the start of our Christian life, we have just a little of the divine life, so we need to be perfected. This means that the divine life within us is continually increasing, and that we are growing in this increasing of the divine life. The more we grow in the increasing of the divine life, the more we are perfected and the more oneness we live out. I hope that we all can realize that the very Christian oneness is the mingling of the Triune God with the believers in an increasing way. Last year the divine oneness expressed among us might have only been fifty percent. This year our expression of the divine oneness may increase to sixty percent. Later we may go up to seventy percent. This increasing of the divine life and its expression is our being perfected into one.

The prayer of the Lord in John 17 is a unique prayer made by the Son to the Father. We may be accustomed to calling the prayer in Matthew 6 the Lord’s prayer, but the prayer in John 17 is also the Lord’s prayer. Actually, the prayer in John 17 is much higher than the one in Matthew 6. As we have seen, the Lord’s prayer in John 17 is that we, all the believers in the Son, may be one; even as the Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father, that we also may be in the Triune God (v. 21). The oneness among us is a oneness of coinherence. The Three of the Godhead mutually indwell each other as one, we are one with the Triune God, mutually indwelling each other as one, and we believers all are one in the coinhering Triune God. We believers and the Triune God are all one. Although the believers in Christ come from many different countries and cultures, they all have the same unique divine life. The same life that is in you is also in me. Through this life we are one with each other and with the Triune God.]

(Lesson Book, Level 5: The Church—The Vision and Building Up of the Church, Chapter 15, by Witness Lee)