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

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[The third main aspect of the church in God’s economy is the heading up of all things in Christ. We have seen that the first item of the sonship is for the church positively. The second item is that the church might make known to the principalities and powers the manifold wisdom of God, in defeating the enemy negatively. Now the third item is the heading up of all things in Christ universally. The church has to have the sonship, Satan has to be subdued and cast out, and the whole creation has to be brought into the proper order and oneness.

In Ephesians 1:10, the phrase gather together in one is best translated, “head up.’’ It is God’s eternal purpose that in the economy of the fullness of times He might head up all things in Christ.]

[God created the heavens and the earth as a realm within which He placed countless creatures, and at the center God created man as the vessel to contain Himself. But before God could come into man, Satan, the enemy of God, injected himself into man by tempting him to take the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When man took of that tree, the fruit went into his body. This is why we read in Romans 7 of sin being in the members. The apostle Paul says in verse 20, “But if what I do not will, this I do, it is no longer I that do it but sin that dwells in me.’’ Here sin is a personified thing; it is something living, because it can dwell in us and have dominion over us. This is the law of sin which is in the members of the body. Sin brings in death, death brings in darkness, and darkness brings in confusion. This influences the whole universe because man was made the head of all things. The head has been damaged, so all of creation is damaged. Sin brings in death and death brings in darkness. We all know that where there is darkness, there is confusion. If we did not have the sunlight or the electric lights, everything would be confused. We are controlled unconsciously by light. If there were no light, there would be no order and everything would be in confusion.]

You have probably witnessed this confusion in your own life, family, neighborhood, and school. There is much confusion. Many of your friends come from broken homes. That is confusion. Some in your school may be ruined by drugs, alcohol, or boy/girl relationships. That is confusion. In God’s ordination, there is no divorce. According to God’s creation, the human body does not need alcohol or drugs. These things ruin people. Boy/girl relationships are a form of fornication which is sin before God. There is confusion and division everywhere you look. This was brought in by the fall.

[God’s way to recover the oneness among His creation is to impart Himself into us as life. Satan injected himself into us as death, but God imparts Himself into us as life. When life comes, there is light. John 1:4 says, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.’’ Then in John 8 the Lord Jesus says, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall by no means walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life’’ (v. 12). When God comes in as life, there is the light that shines within us as the light of life. This life swallows death, and this light expels the darkness. When we are in the life and under the light, then we are delivered out of confusion and brought into order, harmony, and unity. God’s way of recovery is Christ versus Satan, life versus death, light versus darkness, and order versus confusion. When we are filled with Christ, we will be full of life, and completely under the light. Then we will have the harmony and the unity. If we are not filled with Christ as life, then, at least to some extent, we are in darkness. As long as there is some part under darkness, there is confusion, and no order or harmony. When everyone is full of Christ as life, we all are under light, and there is no need of outward control. Spontaneously, everyone is controlled by this light of life, and there is unity and harmony.]

[God’s purpose with the church is to work Himself into us as life that we may be full of light. When we are controlled by this light, then we have oneness and harmony, which will be the real building. By this building God will shine upon all creation to bring it out of confusion. This will be the fullness of time when creation will be liberated. The old serpent will be cast into the lake of fire; and even death, the last enemy to be dealt with by God, will be cast away. Then the universe will be full of light, and under this light all creation will be liberated from the bondage of corruption in vanity and brought into the liberty of the glory of the sons of God. The shining of the New Jerusalem is the glory of the manifestation of the sons of God, and all the nations will be brought into that light. By this light they will be controlled, and there will be no more confusion, vanity, bondage, or corruption.

But all of this depends on the work of God within us. God is working out such a city as a corporate vessel, that He might be the life and the light to shine through this city to liberate the whole creation. How important it is that the church be built up! Without the building up of the church, God could never head up all things in Christ. It is by being life to the church, and the church being built up by this life, that the light of God shines out as the controlling factor. This will release all creation from confusion and bring it into a liberty under the shining of the sons of God. Then Christ will be the Head of all things through the church. All of God’s problems will be solved, and all creation will be brought into the liberty of the glory of the sons of God.

This will be the consummation of God’s eternal purpose for the church: when the sonship of God is fully fulfilled that God may be fully expressed, when the enemy of God is cast out that all of God’s problems may be solved, and when all things are headed up in Christ through His Body that all of the creation may be in full harmony, freed from the bondage of corruption and brought into the liberty of the sons of God. Even today we can realize this in a miniature way here on this earth. When we know how to enjoy the sonship, how to defeat the enemy, and how to be filled with Christ under His headship, there will be the light shining out from us enlightening others and giving a foretaste of the coming consummation of the New Jerusalem.]

You and I must take the lead to live under the light of life to be a testimony against this evil world around us. We should not participate in things of darkness with our friends. Rather, not only should we separate ourselves by this life, we should also testify to our friends how we have been saved from the confusion of Satan into the oneness of God, that is the church. Hallelujah! We have been saved to take the lead to head up all things in Christ. We get headed up first, then we help others around us to be headed up, and finally, we head up the whole universe as the church, the Body of Christ. The three main items concerning God’s purpose for the church are: expressing God through the sonship; making God’s wisdom known to the enemy; and heading up all things in Christ. These items are universally great. We must consecrate ourselves to the Lord and His church as members of His Body so that He will have His builded church to fulfill His purpose. Amen!

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