God desires to gain a building, a habitation, a mutual dwelling place of God and man; Christ came to be the mingling of God with man, and in His resurrection He enlarged God’s building to include all those who believe into Him; He’s changing death into life in our being for the building up of the church.
Now all the believers in Christ are the enlargement of God’s building, the increase of Christ, the Body of Christ to be God’s expression and representation on earth. Christ is increasing His Body by the many members of His Body going out to preach the gospel of the kingdom and bring many into God’s kingdom.
However, as per John 2:19-22, the way Christ enlarges His Body – the building of God – is by the process of resurrection. This takes place in our experience when the Lord places us in particular situations where His resurrection life operates as we pass through the experience of the death of Christ.
Resurrection is not just a future reality and a Person, Christ Himself, but also a process, the process through which Christ is enlarging Himself from being the temple of God to eventually the New Jerusalem, the eternal dwelling place of God with man.
Christ Himself took the way of denying Himself, putting Himself aside, and even going to the cross to go through death and enter into resurrection; now we as His disciples need to follow Him in the process of resurrection so that Christ would increase in us and life would be imparted to the members of His Body.
Just as the process of life germinating and reproducing starting from the time the seed falls into the ground and dies, so when we are in death situations and our soul is denied its enjoyment, Christ as resurrection life operates in us to impart life to us and through us to the Body of Christ.
We need to be encouraged even though we may pass through experiences of the death of Christ, because His resurrection life operates in us so that the Body of Christ may be built up. Our soul may be filled with sorrow as we pass through the experience of Christ’s death, but deep within our spirit the resurrection life operates, and as death operates in us, life operates in others, and eventually our whole being will be brought fully into resurrection for the building up of the church.
The way Christ enlarges the temple of God is by this process of resurrection through which He increases in us and we decrease, and life is ministered to the other members of the Body of Christ.
The Christian Life is a life of Changing Death into Life for the Building up of the Body of Christ
Christ Himself is resurrection; He is not only resurrection life but resurrection itself (John 11:25), and as such a One He lives in us and changes all our death into life for the building up of the house of God. The purpose of the divine life is not just to enliven the redeemed sinners but to change their death into life for the building up of the house of God.
In case after case in the Gospel of John we see how the Lord change man’s death into life for the building up of the house of God. Satan as the enemy and thief comes to steal and kill and destroy, but the Lord comes as the good Shepherd so that His sheep may have life and may have it abundantly (John 10:10).
Satan tried to destroy the temple of God – Christ Himself as the embodiment of God, but Christ came forth in resurrection with an enlarged temple, an enlarged building of God, composed of Christ Himself and all His believers who were regenerated by Him (1 Pet. 1:3).
Hallelujah, in God’s eyes the Body of Christ has already been built, and even the New Jerusalem already is prepared and ready to come into being! Now we simply need to cooperate with the Lord today so that in our experience any death would be changed into life for the building up of the church as the Body of Christ.
We may summarize our Christian life by saying that the Christian life is the changing of death into life, water into wine, for the building up of the Body of Christ. What is our living? Our living is the changing of death into life. What are we doing here? We are carrying out the work of building up the church, the Body of Christ. This is our living, and this is our goal. Our living is the changing of death into life. Our goal is the building up of the church. We have a living of the eternal life, the eternal zoe, for the purpose of building up the mystical Body of Christ. (Witness Lee, The Fulfillment of the Tabernacle and the Offerings in the Writings of John, pp. 347-348)
We may not have death in our spirit, but there is much death in our environment, in our soul, in our flesh, and in our mind….we need to come to the Lord again and be renewed and enlivened by Him so that any death in our being and in our environment would be changed into life for the building up of the church.
How do we cooperate with the Lord to build up His church? It is by coming to Him again and again and by allowing Him to come into our situation and in our being to change any death into life for the building up of the church as the Body of Christ.
As death gets changed into life, the divine life in us can increase and flow for the building up of the church.
Lord Jesus, may our living as Christians be a matter of the changing of death into life for the building up of the Body of Christ! Thank You Lord for regenerating our spirit with Your life; we now allow You to spread into our mind, emotion, and will to remove any darkness and change any death into life for the building up of the church. Lord, You see our situation, our condition, our heart, and our environment; You see how much death there is in us and around us. Change our death into life, Lord, for the building up of the Body!
The Lord Jesus Christ is Building up the Church as His Body and the Father’s House
As we are in the process of resurrection and as any death in our being is changed into life, Christ is building Himself into us and us into Himself for the building up of the Father’s house, the mutual dwelling place of God and man.
The Father’s house in John 14 is a matter of the Triune God – through incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection – working Himself into His believers in order to be fully mingled with them so that they may build them up as an organism for His dwelling and expression.
What is the Father’s house? It is the mutual dwelling place of God and man, the organism of the Triune God for His dwelling place and expression, which is also our dwelling place. How is the Father’s house built up? It is by the Triune God mingling Himself with the believers to produce a mutual dwelling place for both God and His chosen and redeemed people.
Christ as the Son of God is not building a “heavenly mansion” or a “cosmic palace” for those who believe into Him; rather, by the Spirit and through His death and resurrection, Christ is building up the church as the Body of Christ and the Father’s house.
This house is composed not merely of people but of the mingling of the Triune God with His chosen and redeemed people. The Father’s house begins with gospel preaching, it continues in vital groups and in district meetings, it advances through our giving the Lord the opportunity to grow in us, and it culminates with those who are one with the Lord to be like the grain of wheat, falling into the ground to die so that Christ would be ministered as life, their whole being would be brought into resurrection, and the Body of Christ would be built up.
The Lord Jesus Christ today is building up the church – the organism of the Triune God – as the Body of Christ and the Father’s house, which is the mingling of God with man for God’s corporate expression; this is the increase of Christ for the building up of the church (see John 14:7-24; 3:29-30).
May we allow Christ to increase in us and operate in us to gain His Body, His corporate expression, His building.
May we be one with the Lord in His desire to build up the church so that we may give Him all the ground He needs in us for Him to grow, spread, and increase in us, so that any death would be changed into life and Christ would build up the church as the Body of Christ and the Father’s house.
Lord Jesus, we want to follow You as the grain of wheat who fell into the ground to die and produce the many grains in resurrection for the building up of the church. Lord, give us the experiences we need that would bring our whole being into resurrection and through this process Your Body – Your temple – would increase, and You will be able to return for Your built-up church, Your spotless bride! Oh Lord, may our life contribute to the hastening of Your return. May our being and work contribute to the building up of the church!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by brother Ron Kangas for this week, and portions from The Fulfillment of the Tabernacle and the Offerings in the Writings of John, ch. 38 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, The Increase of Christ for the Building up of the Church (2016 Memorial day Weekend Conference), week 6 / msg. 6, The Increase of Christ for God’s Building.
- Hymns on this topic:
# The Christian life is a life, / A life of living Christ / For the constitution and building up / Of the Body of Christ; / The Christian life is a life of living Christ. (Song on the Christian life)
# I would cease completely / From my efforts vain, / Let Thy life transform me, / Full release to gain; / Build me up with others / Till in us Thou see / Thy complete expression / Glorifying Thee. (Hymns #841)
# New Jerusalem is our dream; For her building, steadfast we’re pursuing; / Love outpoured, sweet ointment o’erflowing, Fight boldly for the interests of our God. / Vital, spread the God-ordained way Till as one the new revival we gain; / Oh my Lord, my love, quickly come, As You promised, in our generation! (Song on cooperating with God)