The Body of Christ, by Witness Lee


Christ making His home deep down in our hearts is an organic matter full of life and has nothing to do with any kind of organization. The church is not an organization but an organism. With an organism, the growth in life is what counts. The more we grow in life, the more we are in this organism. The more we grow in life, the more Christ will be able to make His home deep down in our very being. As Christ makes His home in our inward parts, we are filled with His untraceable riches resulting in all the fullness of the Triune God—the Body of Christ as the full expression of the Triune God (v. 19b).

In Paul’s prayer the word "that" is used four times: "that He would grant be strengthened..into the inner man"; "that Christ may make His home in your hearts"; "that you..may be strong to apprehend..and to know"; and "that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God." The second "that" is the result of the first, the third is the result of the second, and the fourth is the result of the third. Here we see several steps. From Paul’s prayer we are strengthened; from being strengthened we proceed to Christ’s making His home in our hearts; and from this we progress to apprehending the dimensions of Christ and knowing the knowledge-surpassing love of Christ until we are finally filled unto all the fullness of God. Paul’s prayer reveals that we are supplied and filled with the unsearchable and untraceable riches of Christ unto, or resulting in, the fullness of God. In other words, these riches will become the very fullness of God in us through our experience and enjoyment of Christ.


On the one hand, we may talk about enjoying Christ and eating Christ. But on the other hand, we may talk about matters in the church life in the realm of organization. If we talk about organization in relation to the church life, we are off from the central lane of God’s New Testament economy. Our practice of the church life and our service in the church life must be organic. Even our practical service, such as the cleaning of the hall, should be organic. We could clean our meeting hall in three ways. First, we could hire some janitors to do the work. Second, we could make some organizational arrangement to appoint some brothers and sisters to be responsible for the cleaning of different areas of the hall. The third way is the organic way. If some saints are living organically in Christ, enjoying Him all day long, they will become burdened to clean the hall. When the church realizes their burden, they may announce that Saturday morning is the time for all the burdened ones to come to the hall to serve. Then the saints serve, not by being hired or organizationally arranged, but by being organically one with the living Christ.

About forty years ago in Shanghai, there was a sister in the church who was the wife of the manager of a big bank. Although she had servants in her home, this sister was burdened to clean the hall every Saturday morning. After her husband’s chauffeur drove him to the bank, she would ask him to drive her to the hall. Because the hall was not on an open street but in a narrow lane, the chauffeur dropped her off near the hall and drove away. One day he decided to follow her because he wanted to find out why she was going to this part of town every Saturday morning. When she got out of the car on Saturday morning, he parked the car and followed her from a distance. He was shocked to see her cleaning the hall. He wondered why she would do this. She was the wife of a rich man who had servants cleaning his home, but every Saturday she went to the hall to do the cleaning work. Her service was something organic. She did not clean the hall because she had been hired or assigned. She cleaned the hall organically.

Some people told us that if we were going to attempt to build the church organically, nothing would be accomplished. They asked how the hall would be cleaned without hiring anyone or without making some arrangements. Our answer is this—God is able. God is able to accomplish superabundantly according to the power which operates in us (v. 20). We must believe God’s word in the Bible. He is able to accomplish whatever He has spoken concerning us. The more that we minister Christ to people, the more they will come to serve. This service is organic.

The entire Body of Christ is an organic matter. In the book of Revelation, the leading ones in the churches are not referred to as elders but as the stars, the messengers of the churches (1:20). The messengers are the spiritual ones in the churches bearing the responsibility of the testimony of Jesus. They should be of the heavenly nature and in a heavenly position like stars. The eldership is not a positional matter in an organization. An elder is a person of maturity. We have to respect the elders in their life maturity. Thank the Lord that there are some dear saints among us who have more stature in the growth of Christ. We respect them because of their growth in life. We do not regard them as ones in a certain position. The Lord Jesus told us that we are all brothers (Matt. 23:8). No one has a position to control the other saints. The difference among the saints is not in organization but in their organic situation. If a brother is more experienced, more matured, and has more measure in the growth of Christ, he is more useful in the church.

A little babe of five months would not be assigned to do anything in his home. But when he grows up to be five years old, his parents might assign him a small task. Without his organic growth, his parents would not arrange for him to do this. Their arrangement would be according to their son’s organic situation. If I did not have the adequate growth in Christ, the brothers might arrange for me to speak and I might have the burden to speak, but what could I speak? I would not be able to speak because of my limited growth in Christ. To bear more responsibility in the church, we have to eat more and grow more so that we possess a greater measure of the growth in life. The church is not like a worldly club, organization, or society. Everything related to the church is a matter of the organic growth in life.

(The Body of Christ, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)