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

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[There are three main items concerning the church in the economy of God. The first is that the church might have the sonship, and that God might be expressed through this sonship. Ephesians 1:5 says that God predestinated us unto sonship. What does this word sonship mean, and what does it include? Briefly, it means the birth, plus the growth, plus the birthright. First of all, we must be born of God. By this divine birth we become the sons of God, because we have the life of God. This is the very beginning of God’s mingling with us.]

[God’s eternal purpose is to work Himself into us that He may be thoroughly mingled with us and expressed through us. When God is born into us, He begins this mingling process. But this is only the start! There must be the growth. If we have the birth, but not the growth, we could never enjoy the birthright. God is born into our spirit, which is the very center of our being. Then His desire is to spread from our spirit to transform all the parts of the soul, and eventually to transfigure our physical body. By this process our whole being will be saturated and permeated with the essence of God Himself.] This is the growth in life.

[After receiving the birth of God’s life and the growth of this life, the Lord will grant us the enjoyment of the birthright.] The birthright is the special portion of the firstborn. According to the Bible, the birthright includes the double portion of the land, the kingship, and the priesthood. [Hebrews 12:15-17 warns us to be careful because there is the possibility of losing the birthright. We may have it, but we may also lose it. Having been born of God, there is the possibility of enjoying the birthright if we are matured, but there is also the possibility of losing the birthright. There will be many Christians who will lose the birthright because they do not have the proper growth. They have the birth of life, so they are the children of God, but they still need the growth of life, the maturity in life, for them to be the heirs of God] in order to enjoy the birthright. By having the birth, growing in life, and enjoying the birthright, we will be able to express God, not only individually, but also corporately as the built up church.

You have been born of God. Would you like to participate in the full sonship? I am sure that you would, since the full sonship is the most enjoyable thing any human being can attain to and experience. All of your friends are seeking enjoyment of some kind; some good and some evil. You too are seeking enjoyment. Imagine, that one day God will fill your spirit and soul and body, and that you will be a priest to God and a king to the inhabitants of the earth eternally. If you seek enjoyment, nothing is more enjoyable than this. This is our birthright. This is our rightful portion, given to us when we were born anew of God in our human spirit. The way to experience the full sonship is by the growth of the divine life in us. Even this process of growth is an enjoyment to us. All of humanity, including you and your friends, experience some sort of suffering every day. All of these sufferings are temporal, and are working for us daily to cause us to grow in life (2 Cor. 4:16-18). Therefore, in 1 Thes. 5:16-18, Paul charges to “Always rejoice; Unceasingly pray; In everything give thanks.’’ We thank Him for all our situations, because through prayer we can rejoice always in our spirit to grow in life. We not only do this individually, but also with one another corporately. By His mercy with our diligence, we will receive the full sonship on the day of the Lord.

(Lesson Book, Level 5: The Church—The Vision and Building Up of the Church, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)