If we really see a vision of the nature of the church and realize that the church is divine, Christly, resurrectionly, and heavenly, then the natural, fleshly, and ambitious elements will be ruled out and terminated, and we will be empowered to face any kind of death.
It is easy to look at the church and see its condition, with all the problems in the church life; but when we exercise our spirit and touch the Lord, we will see the church as He sees – we will see the nature of the church.
In God’s eyes the church is of God, of Christ, with the believers, in a certain locality, and the nature of the church is divine (it has the element of God), it is Christly (it is in Christ and of Christ), resurrectionly (in resurrection), and heavenly.
We need to lift up our eyes from our situation and from the condition of the church to see the nature of the church, the intrinsic element and essence, and we will be very much encouraged.
The church is not merely made of people who believe in God; the church is an intrinsic constitution which the Bible calls, the Body of Christ, and this organism has the element of God, it is in Christ, in resurrection, and in the heavens.
What does it mean that the nature of the church is divine? It means that the church possesses the divine nature of God, and we the believers possess God’s nature to be His expression (2 Pet. 1:4).
What does it mean that the nature of the church is Christly? “Christly” refers to the fact that every local church is a church of Christ, being in the element of CHrist; Christ Himself is the nature of the church, and the church is actually Christ Himself. T
he church is nothing else but Christ increased, expanded, and enlarged in humanity, just as Adam was increased to become Eve, his counterpart. The church is a pure product out of Christ, and Christ is the unique element and constituent of the church (see Eph. 5:15-16).
What does it mean that the church is “resurrectionly”? Resurrectionly refers to the fact that the church is an entity absolutely in resurrection – the church is the new creation in Christ, created in His resurrection and by the resurrection life of Christ.
Similarly, the fact that the church is heavenly refers to the church being raised with Christ and seated with Him in the heavenlies. May we see such a vision, and may such a vision of the church govern our daily living and service in the church life!
Seeing that the Church is Christly Eliminates any Element other than Christ
Many believers know that the church is the Body of Christ, a constitution of all the believers in Christ. But according to the Bible, the church is much more – there’s a higher view of the church in the word of God.
The church is Christly, that is, the church is a product purely and wholly out of Christ. The essence of the church and its element is Christ. Seeing that the church is Christly will cause any natural, fleshly, or ambitious element to be exposed and ruled out.
Our Christian life and church life need to be governed by the vision of the nature of the church.
Eve as the wife of Adam is a type of the church as the wife of Christ; just as Eve was taken out of Adam’s side by God when he was asleep, and Eve’s element and constitution is the element of Adam, so the church is to Christ.
The church was produced in Christ’s resurrection, and the unique element of the church is Christ Himself. In other words, you and I need to be crossed out and put away, for only Christ should be the One living and being manifested in the church.
When we see the vision of the church being Christly, anything other than Christ will be exposed, terminated, and ruled out.
Why are there so many problems in the church, and why some saints may leave the church life? It is because they don’t see a vision of the church as the reality of Eve, the church being Christly, constituted with the element of Christ.
We need to come back to the revelation in the pure word of God and leave the traditional teachings in Christianity; we need to see a clear vision of the nature of the church being Christly, and such a vision needs to govern our living.
How can we speak anything negative about the church if we realize that the church is the Body of Christ, that is, the church is Christ Himself? How can we still live in our natural man and express ourselves in the church life when we realize that Christ is the only One qualified to be in the church and to live in the church life?
Seeing a vision of the church being the enlargement of Christ, an entity composed only of the element of Christ, causes us to deny the self, take up our cross, and live the church life in Christ.
Everything other than Christ is ruled out by the vision of the nature of the church being Christly. The church is in Christ; the church is of Christ; the church is Christ. There’s no room for our opinions, ideas, zeal, ambition, flesh, self, and anything of the natural man in the church, for the church is Christ Himself.
Lord Jesus, grant us to see the vision of the church in its essence, its function, and its practicality. May we realize that the church is Christly, that is, the church is of Christ, the church is in Christ, and the church is Christ. May the vision of the church being Christly govern our living and eliminate anything natural, fleshly, worldly, or ambitious in our being. Oh Lord, may the vision of the church being Christ Himself rule out anything other than Christ in us, so that Christ may live in us and be expressed through us in the church life!
Seeing that the Church is Resurrectionly Strengthens us to Overcome any Death!
The church was produced in Christ’s resurrection, and the church is an entity completely in the resurrection life of Christ.
Jesus said that He’s the First and the Last, who became dead and lived again (Rev. 2:8), and the overcomers shall by no means be hurt of the second death (v. 11). Hallelujah, the divine life we have received at the time of our regeneration is a resurrection life, the life that overcomes death!
Jesus Christ Himself died and then lived again – death could not hold Him, but rather, God raised Him up, having loosed the pangs of death, since it was not possible for Him to be held by it (Acts 2:24).
All human beings will eventually die, and after death they are finished; but Jesus Christ entered into death and walked out of death with the key of death and Hades (Rev. 1:18). He overcame death. Death has no strength to hold Him.
Christ is resurrection life and the church as the enlargement of Christ is fully in resurrection, constituted with resurrection life. The nature of the church is resurrection.
The Lord Jesus said that He will build His church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it (Matt. 16:18); this means that, as the church is being built up, the gates of Hades attack and try to bring in death into the church – but they do not prevail!
Death in its many forms attacks church again and again. There’s death operating in our being, in our mind, emotion, and will, our flesh, our natural man, and our self; this death seeks to deaden our being so that we may be useless in the building up of the Body of Christ.
But praise the Lord, we have the resurrection life in our spirit, and whenever we exercise our spirit, any death is swallowed up, and the resurrection life spreads into our mind, emotion, and will!
Whenever we set our mind on the spirit, we enjoy life and peace (Rom. 8:6).
There is much death in our environment, and many situations cause us to suffer, bring troubles and problems our way, and make us feel uncomfortable; when we turn to our spirit and touch the intrinsic nature of the church, we enjoy resurrection life, for the church is resurrectionly.
All throughout the ages Satan has attacked the church with death – both from within and from without, both through the natural man and the flesh, and with much persecution; the more death attacks, the more the church multiplies, for death cannot hold the resurrection life!
Just as the Lord Jesus could not be held by death, no matter how much death attacks the saints or the church, the church will always live on in resurrection! The basic principle of the church is that she is able to pass through death and live in resurrection, for the church is resurrectionly.
Even in this age of comfort and ease today, when a little trouble causes people to feel upset, death attacks the church in many ways; but the more death attacks, the more resurrection life has an opportunity to operate in the church.
Resurrection doesn’t fear death, and suffering only proves that we can endure death because of the resurrection life. Persecutions, troubles, and problems only cause the resurrection life to be manifested in the saints and through the church.
We need to see that the church is resurrectionly, and such a vision will strengthen us to overcome any death – not in ourselves, but in and through the One who loved us, the Overcomer, the Resurrection Life, Jesus Christ Himself!
Lord, grant us to see that the church is resurrectionly, that is, the church is an entity completely in the resurrection life of Christ! Hallelujah, the resurrection life is in us, operating in our being all the time to eliminate and overcome any death in our body, soul, and spirit, so that we may live a life for God’s purpose. Praise the Lord, the church is in resurrection, and the One who overcame death is in us to overcome any death in our being and in our environment! Hallelujah, death cannot hold the resurrection life, but resurrection life in the church operates to defeat, eliminate, and terminate any death!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by Andrew Yu for this week, and portions from, Elders’ Training, Book 2: The Vision of the Lord’s Recovery, ch. 3 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Knowing Life and the Church, msg. 4 (week 4), The Nature of the Church.
- Hymns on this topic:
# There are seven golden lampstands in the nature all divine— / Nothing natural does the Body life allow. / When we’re one and share God’s nature, / how the lampstand then does shine— / Hallelujah, it is brightly shining now! (Hymns #1226)
# Minding just the spirit, we the cross will know, / And His resurrection pow’r thru us will flow; / Minding just the spirit, Christ will live thru me, / And His life within will reach maturity. (Hymns #593)
# Death cannot hold the resurrection life, / Though all its force against it may combine; / Death only gives it opportunity / To show the boundless pow’r of life divine. (Hymns #639)
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