Today God does only one work: the work of building Himself into man and man into God so that God and man may be mingled together and become the building of God, the dwelling place of God, the house of God. Everything that He did and does is for His main work of building.
When we speak of the increase of Christ – both the increase in numbers and the growth of Christ in us – we need to realize that the increase of Christ is for the building of God.
God created the universe; He created the earth with all things in it, and He created man in His image according to His likeness so that may would express Him and represent Him. This is a great work. God’s work of creation is for God’s work of building; the universe is for the human race to exist and live, the human race is for the church, and the church is the increase of Christ.
We are born as human beings and we do everything in order that God would gain a building; when we cooperate with God for His building by letting Him mingle Himself with us more, our actions and words have meaning and weight in God’s eyes.
We need to do everything by being governed by the central vision in the Bible, which is the building of God, otherwise we risk being in deviation and degradation from God’s economy. Amen!
The Lord Jesus uttered the greatest prophecy in the Bible when He said, I will build My church (Matt. 16:18). He today as the heavenly Christ is carrying out the work of building His church, and He does so by mingling Himself with us for God’s building.
The work of building is ongoing: the fulfillment of Matt. 16:18 is not yet fully realized, so even today this greatest prophecy remains unfulfilled.
May we be those who see the central vision in the Bible and are one with the Lord to cooperate with Him for the work of building, so that He may gain a built-up church which will bring in the kingdom of God to consummate the New Jerusalem!
God’s Main Work is the Work of Building; God’s Building is the Corporate Expression of God
We all are amazed and astounded at God’s great work of creation: He called things not being as being, and out of nothing He created all things. However, creation was just the preparation for God’s real work, the work of building.
God’s selection, His predestination, His calling, His redemption, and His salvation are all for the building. Our regeneration is for God’s building. Our being renewed and transformed to be conformed to the image of Christ is all for the building of God.
Our work for the Lord, whether it is preaching the gospel, edifying the saints, prophesying in the meetings, shepherding others, or establishing churches, all has to be part of God’s building work. God’s main work today is the work of building, for His goal is to build a universal dwelling place for Himself.
What is our priority? We need to come to the Lord and ask, Lord, what are my priorities in living the Christian life and serving You? God’s main work is the work of building; He directs us and commands us to preach the gospel for the building; He wants us to establish churches for God’s building, and He wants to shepherd the saints to perfect and equip them for the building of God.
God’s building is the corporate expression of the Triune God (see 1 Tim. 3:15-16; John 17:22; Eph. 3:19b, 21). His intention is to have a group of people who are built up as a spiritual building to express God and represent God by dealing with His enemy and recovering the earth (Gen. 1:26-28; 1 Pet. 2:5, 9).
It is in God’s building that He gets a corporate expression and representation, the fulfillment of Gen. 1:26. God’s desire to be expressed and represented by man on earth can be fulfilled only when we are built together (Eph. 2:21-22).
Being built up together is God’s highest requirement of us; to be built up is the highest virtue in the Christian life. The saddest way for any brother or sister to finish their course is to finish it without becoming buildable, still remaining isolated, individual, independent, yet “spiritual”.
The principle of God’s building is that God builds Himself in Christ into man and builds man into Himself; God’s mingling Himself with man is God building Himself into man, and man’s mingling with God is man being built into God (Eph. 3:17).
How does God get His building? It is by mingling Himself with us. We need to cooperate with God’s building work by allowing Him to mingle Himself with us more and more each day. While we take a shower, drive to work, travel, clean, and do this or that, we need to tell the Lord,
Lord Jesus, may today be a mingling day: mingle Yourself with me for Your building. By Your mercy and grace we give all for Your building. Keep us in the mingling process day by day. Lord, Your goal is to gain a building, therefore mingle Yourself more with us today for Your building. Gain what You are after: a built-up church as the mingling of God with man for God’s corporate expression and representation in man. Amen, Lord, build us up together in life for Your building, Your dwelling place!
For the Sake of His coming back, the Lord needs the Church to be Built up Today
People in Christianity are addicted to books and teachings about the Lord’s coming back, and many are drugged with the concept that “it doesn’t matter how you live: as long as you’re saved, you will be in the wedding feast of the Lamb – it’s all by grace!”
We need to realize that the Lord WILL not come back and CANNOT come back until a group of people have been cooperating with Him to actually build up His church. For the sake of His coming back, the Lord needs the church to be built up; only the built up church according to the Lord’s desire can be the stepping stone into the age of the kingdom (see Matt. 16:18, 27-28).
When the Lord finishes building up the church, the age of the church will end, the kingdom age will be brought in, Satan will be bound and cast into the abyss, human government will be abolished, and the kingdom will be manifested.
All this is possible because the church is actually built up. How can we cooperate with the Lord for the building up of His church? As seen in this portion in Matt. 16 regarding the building up of the church, we can cooperate in the following ways:
- We need to have our veils removed so that we may have a revelation of Christ, the One anointed by God to carry out His administration. We need to see Christ and realize that we are attached to this anointed One, and the anointing flows down from Him to us.
- We need to enjoy the Son of the living God; he who has the Son has the life, and God gave us His Son so that we may have life (1 John 5:12-13).
- “This rock” – refers to Christ Himself, the revelation concerning Christ, and the declaration that this One is the Christ, the Son of the living God. This rock, Christ, has been smitten for us; this is a crucified rock, and out of it flows living water.
- We need to realize that the gates of Hades are constantly attacking the church yet they will not prevail! The enemy opposes the building up of the church more than anything else; he attacks with the weapon of death, but he will not prevail, because the church is being built up in Christ’s resurrection life.
- The built up church brings in the kingdom of God on earth, the increase of Christ in His administration; as we are mingled with God and God is building Himself into us, we are built up as the church, the kingdom of God, and we are constituted with Christ, the King, for the defeat of His enemy.
- We need to be conformed to the Lord’s death by the power of His resurrection.
- We need to decrease to such a point that Satan looses ground in us and cannot be expressed through us. Our mind needs to be renewed to such an extent that it is set on the things of God and not on the things of men, so that Satan would not express himself through us to attack the church.
- God’s way to deal with all things and solve all problems is the cross; we need to apply the cross and be saved from living a no-cross-church-life. If there’s no cross, there’s no building.
- The self needs to be denied and the soul life needs to be renounced; this leads to a transfiguration in the church life, where the saints are willing to lose their soul life so that Christ would come forth in the church with much glory.
- We need to come to the Lord, a living stone, so that we also may be made into living stones for God’s building. Our Lord is the Stone-Savior, and His view of saving people is to make them stones for God’s building.
Oh, how much we need to decrease so that Christ would increase in us! We cannot have our self and the building. We cannot avoid the cross and yet have Christ increase in us. We cannot love our soul life and yet expect to be transfigured when the Lord returns. We need to no longer delay the Lord in His building work but open to Him and tell Him,
Lord, You have been waiting two thousand years. We would like to tell You as the one new man with one person and one mouth: Your waiting stops here! We corporately tell You in one accord that we are here for the fulfillment of the greatest prophecy in the Bible, I will build My church! Lord, we don’t want You to go to another people or wait for another generation. We take You as our person and we allow the desire of Your heart to become the desire of our heart. Lord, Your goal is ours; as one corporate person, we are here doing everything in the gospel, establishing churches, edifying the saints, being in trainings, and shepherding people for Your goal.
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,” chs 1, 3, 4, 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:
# For the Church should be our service, / ’Tis the perfect will of God; / ’Tis the only way of working / Which the Lord’s apostles trod. / For the Church should be our service, / Not our aims to satisfy; / This, the perfect will of God is, / And with it we must comply. (Hymns #914)
# Build me, Lord, with other saints, / Independence ne’er allow, / But according to Thy plan / Fitly frame and join me now. / In experience not my boast, / Nor in gifts would be my pride; / For Thy building I give all, / That Thou may be glorified. (Hymns #839)
# While Christ builds His church, / Gates of Hades will / Rise up to attack us / But will never prevail. / ’Tis not what we face / But ’tis how much grace / We receive in the midst / Of our circumstances. / Why not turn to prayer / For those in need like us / While we can sympathize, that / Through this we all gain Christ. (Song on building up the church)
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