According to the divine revelation in the New Testament, the Body of Christ is the governing law of life and work of the children of God; our work and our living should be governed, measured, and constrained by the vision of the Body of Christ.
At the end of this age, what God desires to obtain and accomplish is the building up of the organic Body of Christ, for it is the Body that expresses Him and destroys Satan. All the work that the Triune God does in us, His people, is for Him to produce and build up the Body of Christ.
God doesn’t want any more spiritual giants or great spiritual Christians; He wants to gain the reality of the Body of Christ practiced and lived out in the local churches.
Only the Lord knows where we are, what’s going on in us, and what stage in life are we in, and He desires to take us on with Him so that we may live no longer as individual believers but as built-up members of the Body of Christ.
The ministry of the new covenant is for the producing and building up of the Body of Christ; the more we read the Bible and the ministry of the age which opens up the Bible to cause us to love the Lord more, the more we have a feeling for the Body of Christ.
The intrinsic significance of the church is the Body of Christ, for without the Body as the essence and significance, the church makes no sense and has no meaning. The church is not a social gathering of believers, neither is the church a building with an organizational system for those who believe in God.
The intrinsic significance of the church is the Body; the Body gives the church meaning and significance, and when we live in the reality of the Body, we enjoy a rich and wonderful church life.
However, all the problems in the church today are due to the ignorance concerning the Body. Why is there gossip, arguments, or offenses? It’s because we don’t see the Body, we don’t care for the Body, and we don’t keep the principles of the Body.
We need to be recovered by the Lord to know the Body in a proper way; what the Lord desires is to recover the Body of Christ and the lost oneness of the Body.
The Lord has an Urgent Need: He Desires that the Reality of the Body is Expressed in the Local Churches!
As the age is drawing to an end, there’s an urgent need that the Lord has on earth: He desires that the reality of the Body of Christ will be expressed in all the local churches (see Rom. 12:4-5; 16:16; 1 Cor. 1:2; 12:27).
The reality of the Body of Christ is a corporate God-man living, a living conformed to the death of Christ by the power of His resurrection so that we may express the divine attributes through our human virtues corporately.
The reality of the Body of Christ is the Lord Jesus living again corporately in all His saints in a built-up way in the local churches. We need to no longer live by our natural man but live by Christ and in the mingled spirit so that we may grow in life and be built up together in the Body of Christ.
Every day we need to put off the natural man and live in the mingled spirit. In the Body there’s no natural person – only Christ is here, and we are all one in Christ. The Lord wants not only local churches – one locality, one church – but the Body as His fulness being expressed in the local churches.
The Lord is not after our individual spiritual cultivation or edification; He wants to gain the Body of Christ. He doesn’t want only churches on the ground of locality – He wants the Body in is fulness (Eph. 1:23; 3:19).
Unless there is a substantial expression of the Body of Christ, the Lord Jesus will not return (Eph. 1:23; 4:16; 5:27, 30; Rev. 19:7).
Our desire is for the Lord to return, but how can He return if there’s no substantial expression of the Body of Christ in the local churches today? Who gives Him their time and cooperation to allow Him to move in this direction today, at the pace that He sets and in the way that He wants?
We want the Lord to return, but we also have the clear spiritual understanding that He will return only when the bride is prepared, and the bride is prepared only when there’s a substantial expression of the Body in the churches.
The Lord said, I come quickly, but there have been more than 2000 years since He said that; where is the reality of the Body of Christ expressed in the local churches today? The Lord truly has an urgent need that the reality of the Body would be expressed in the local churches.
We need to see the Lord’s need, be joined to Him in spirit, and allow His need to become our need so that His direction in His move would govern our living and walk today.
May our daily living, walk, and work be governed by the vision of the Body of Christ, and may we no longer live in ourselves and by ourselves but in the Body, for the Body, and through the Body.
Lord, show us Your urgent need to gain the reality of the Body of Christ expressed in the local churches. Amen, Lord, gain a corporate God-man living today. Gain a living conformed to Christ’s death by the power of Christ’s resurrection so that the divine attributes may be expressed through our human virtues corporately. Lord, our prayer and yearning is that You would return. We give ourselves to You for the building up of Your Body so that the bride may be prepared and You may come back quickly!
The Body of Christ is the Governing Law of Life and Work of the Children of God
Just as Ezekiel saw and measured the house of God, and then told God’s people that their living has to be measured by the house of God, so we today in the church life need to have the Body of Christ as the governing law in our life and work.
All our decisions, activities, works, and speaking needs to be governed by the Body as the governing law. The church, the ministry, and the work are all on the ground of the Body (see Eph. 1:23; 4:16; Col. 3:15).
The church, which is the Body of Christ, includes the churches (the local churches), the ministry, and the work. The churches are the Body of Christ being expressed locally in many localities, the ministry is the Body of Christ in function, and the work is the Body of Christ seeking increase.
On the one hand these are three distinct matters, but on the other they are interdependent and interrelated. The work, the ministry, and the church can’t move or exist by themselves; they are so intimately and vitally related that none can function without being adjusted by and related to the others.
Many divisions and sects in the Body were made because someone started to work for the Lord to meet a need – and then created his own little “church”, or someone started to teach the Bible and thus had his own “ministry” with his “churches”. Watchman Nee has a very clear sharing on this matter,
It is not that a few gifted men, recognizing their own ability, take it upon themselves to minister with the gifts they possess; nor that a few persons, conscious of call, form themselves into a working association; nor is it that a number of like-minded believers unite and call themselves a church. All must be on the ground of the Body. The church is the life of the Body in miniature; the ministry is the functioning of the Body in service; the work is the reaching out of the Body in growth. Neither church, ministry, nor work can exist as a thing by itself. Each has to derive its existence from, find its place in, and work for the good of the Body. All three are from the Body, in the Body, and for the Body. If this principle of relatedness to the Body and interrelatedness among its members is not recognized, there can be no church, no ministry, and no work. The importance of this principle cannot be over-emphasized, for without it everything is man-made, not God-created. The basic principle of the ministry is the Body. Watchman Nee
We can never over-emphasize the principle of the Body, which should govern our daily living and work, both personally and corporately. Without keeping the principle of the Body, what we do is man-made and not God-originated or God-created.
The basic principle of the ministry, the work, and the churches is the Body of christ. The Body is the governing law of the life and work of the children of God today.
Sometimes we may have a feeling that something we do in the church life is man-made and not God-created; if we keep the principle of the Body and have the Body as the governing rule and law, we will reject ourselves and any man-made things and take God as the source and initiator.
Christianity is filled with man-made things; there, many believers have ideas, they are capable, creative, and innovative, and some of them can organize and motivate people….Everything that is man-made will be burned by the fire.
Everything that we do has to be in the Body and for the Body, being originated by God. Only God has the right to bring something forth in the work, in the ministry, and in the churches. If the principle of relatedness to the Body and interrelatedness among its members is not recognized, there can be no church, no ministry, and no work.
Lord Jesus, may the Body of Christ be the governing law of our life and work today. May we learn to always take You as the Head and be properly related to the saints in the church life. Lord, keep us in our spirit, denying the self and putting off the natural man, so that we may be built up together in spirit with the saints as the Body of Christ. May we see the principle of the Body and do everything in the Body and for the Body. May our daily life and work be governed in detail by the Body as a governing law.
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by brother Ron K. for this week, and portions from, Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 30, “The Normal Christian Church Life,” pp. 183-188, as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, The Direction of the Lord’s Move (2016 Thanksgiving Conference), msg. 1 (week 1), The Intrinsic Building Up of the Organic Body of Christ (1) – Governed by a Vision of the Universal Body of Christ as the Goal of God’s Economy.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Cause us to grow in life divine each day / That we may be transformed and built by Thee / Into a body to express Thyself, / That Thou in us Thy Church and Kingdom see. (Hymns #829)
# I take Thee as my person, Lord; / I have been crucified with Thee. / My inner man has been restored; / I’m now indwelt by Thee. / When all Thy members self forsake, / Thy glorious Body, Lord, is known; / When of Thy Person we partake, / The one new man is shown. (Hymns #1220)
# In God’s house and in Thy Body / Builded up I long to be, / That within this corporate vessel / All shall then Thy glory see. (Hymns #840)