This week we’re in the last of the six portions of enjoyment on, The Increase of Christ for the Building up of the Church, and the title of this week is simply, The Increase of Christ for God’s Building.
In order for Christ to have the increase of Himself in God’s economy, He must create and gain many human beings as vessels designed to receive, contain, and express God in Christ as the Spirit. By God’s creation we are vessels to contain God, and through Christ’s redemption we are recovered vessels back to God’s original intention; we are created and redeemed to contain God and express Him.
In order for Christ to be increased, he had to pass through a process in God’s economy; this process involved Christ’s incarnation for the mingling of divinity with humanity, His God-man living that fulfilled Gen. 1:26, His all-inclusive death to solve all the problems in the universe and release the divine life, and His life-imparting resurrection through which the God-man Jesus became a life-giving Spirit.
Now as such a life-giving Spirit He is the living breath and living water, and He is well able, eager, and available to impart Himself as life, life-supply, and everything into those who have believed into Him and have received Him into them.
This is the beginning of the increase of Christ, and it all starts with the announcing of the gospel of the kingdom so that people may have a change of mind, turn to God, believe into Christ, and be baptized into Him.
Only God knows how many millions of regenerated believers are on earth, all of them having Christ as the Spirit within them; the question is, however, how many of these believers have allowed Christ to increase and spread into all their inward parts to be expressed through their transformed soul?
The increase of Christ continues today with all the saints who seek Christ (who seek Him because they are drawn by Him) and who are consecrated to Him (who are consecrated to Him because they know they belong to the Lord and are motivated by His love); these ones open to Him in a particular way so that He may gain them thoroughly for God’s goal.
The Central Vision of the Bible: the Increase of the Triune God is for God’s Building
God’s goal is the building, typified by the tabernacle and the temple in the Old Testament; God’s building is the corporate expression of the Triune God. God’s building involves His believers being filled and saturated with Him, and then blended together into a oneness that is the extension of the oneness of the Triune God.
These blended saints in such a oneness can no longer be individualistic or independent; they can no longer express themselves, they can’t live without Christ and the Body, and they depend on Christ and the supply of life in the Body of Christ.
The building of God is the church, the house of God, the Father’s house, where the Father’s desire si fulfilled and His will is done without resistance, where God’s purpose is carried out, and where the Father finds rest.
God’s building is the organic Body of Christ, the goal of God’s economy and the goal of the Lord’s recovery in these days; the Body is the organism through which Christ carries out God’s administration.
God’s building will be the bride of Christ, the counterpart of the redeeming God; when He comes, Christ comes as the Bridegroom, and those who have allowed Him to increase in them for God’s building will realize that they are overcomers and will join Him in His wedding feast.
Have we seen the central vision of the Bible? If we didn’t see this vision, our labor for the Lord is in vain. The difference between the Lord’s recovery and Christianity is the central vision; we are not “bound for heaven” but we are becoming the New Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God (Rev. 22).
If we don’t see the central vision, we will become a repetition of traditional Christianity, and the Lord will be delayed in carrying out His recovery and in accomplishing His purpose. Some saints must see the central vision in a solid way!
The central vision involves God being the contents of the believers, Christ as the mystery of God, and the church as the mystery of Christ. The central vision in the Bible is Christ is the embodiment and expression of the Triune God becoming the life-giving Spirit to dispense Himself into us as life to make us living members of the organic Body of Christ.
We desperately need to apply this to the matter of the increase, otherwise there may be deviation, distraction, and degradation coming in if we separate our desire to gain the increase from the central vision in the Bible.
If we are governed by the central vision in the Bible, we will proclaim the gospel as never before because we are clear that the goal of our gospel preaching is to produce materials for the building up of the church, God’s building.
Merely having numbers means nothing if we don’t have the central vision; merely having and gaining a lot of people for the Lord amounts to nothing if we are not under the central vision in the Bible.
God wants Christ to increase in man for God’s building – and not for the success of any particular member of the Body of Christ. May we open and tell the Lord,
Lord Jesus, cause us to see the central vision in the Bible, and may this vision govern our living, speaking, and doing! May we realize that God in Christ as the Spirit is dispensing Himself into us as life to make us living members of the Body of Christ. Oh Lord, may we seek to gain an increase for Christ in humanity by having the central vision in the Bible! May we do everything in the Body and for the Body, being one with Christ the Head and constantly receiving the life supply in the Body of Christ!
God Desires a Building that is the Mingling of Himself with Humanity (Matt. 16:18)
The entire universe was made and arranged by God for the purpose that the human race may exist so that Christ may come to be incarnated, to become a man, to impart Himself to the human race, to make a part of the human race a bride for Himself as His increase. Now we can see the central position that the church has in this universe. The universe is for the human race, the human race is for the church, and the church is the increase of Christ. (Witness Lee, Basic Principles for the Practice of the Church Life, p. 14)
Wow, what a statement: the universe is for the human race, the human race is for the church, and the church is the increase of Christ (see Zech. 12:1; Gen. 1:26-28; Eph. 3:9-11; John 3:29-30)! The Bible clearly shows us that God created the whole universe for the earth, the earth is for man, and man is for Christ – even for the increase of Christ, the church.
In Matt. 16:18 the Lord spoke the greatest prophecy in the Bible, I will build My church. Yes, this is a promise, but it is also a prophecy which is not yet fully fulfilled but it is being fulfilled right now, twenty centuries later.
Both in the Old and in the New Testament we see a divine thought and concept, which is that God seeks a building – not a physical building but a spiritual building which is the mingling of Himself with humanity.
God seeks a living composition of living persons redeemed by and mingled with Himself, and Christ today is working to build up His church, which is the Body of Christ.
God cannot be satisfied with a physical building; what He desires is a divine and human building, a building of God with man by God being mingled with man. God’s goal is His building, which is the church today, the bride in the coming age, and the New Jerusalem for eternity; our goal should also be the building of God.
When we preach the gospel we don’t want to merely save souls but minister God through the Spirit to them so that God can be mingled with them for God’s building. When we shepherd the saints we shouldn’t merely help them go on with the Lord but we should exercise to help them be mingled with God more.
The ministry that is from God is the ministry that ministers Christ into people to help them be mingled with God more for God’s building. When we come under the ministry of the apostles, the apostles’ teaching, we gain Christ, Christ grows in us, and we are mingled with Christ all the time for the building of God.
In our experience of Christ, what God wants is not merely that we would be more humble, gentle, and open but that He would mingle Himself with us for the divine building.
Christ Himself is the mingling of divinity and humanity, so He Himself was the reality of the tabernacle and the temple (as seen in the Gospel of John). Now God in Christ as the Spirit is increasing Himself in the believers in the way of mingling so that God main gain a home, a house where He can rest; this dwelling place of God is the mingling of God and man.
After His work of creation, God’s work is now of building; He is working in us and on us to mingle Himself with us for God’s building. May we see this central vision and thought of the Bible and may we cooperate with the Lord to be mingled with Him more today for God’s building.
Lord Jesus, may we see the central thought of the Bible that God is seeking a divine building as the mingling of Himself with humanity. Amen, Lord, mingle Yourself more with us today for God’s building! May such a vision govern our daily living and service in the church. Oh Lord, constitute us into Your dwelling place by building Yourself into us and building us into You. Gain Your divine building, the mingling of God with man. Keep us under the ministry of life so that Christ may grow in us, we would be mingled with God, and God would have a building!
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 Collected Works of Witness Lee, 1963, vol. 3, “The Building of God,” pp. 176-177, 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:
# Lord, Your purpose and Your heart’s desire / Is to build Your church, Your temple. / For this purpose You created man / As a vessel to contain You. / You were processed as the Spirit / Now You’re working in our being. / To Your image You’re conforming us. / Lord, Your work is glorious. (Song on God working Himself into man)
# “I will build My church upon this rock,” said the Lord Jesus, / And we see the building of His purpose and His plan; / Setting members in the Body as Himself it pleases, / Building us together in Christ our land. (Hymns #1236)
# 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)
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