This morning I was encouraged to realize that the Lord’s recovery is based upon the truth that Christ has only one Body, and the Lord’s recovery is for the building up of the Body of Christ and not for any particular local church or individual.
The Lord’s urgent need today on earth is to gain the reality of the Body of Christ expressed in the local churches. In the Lord’s eyes the local churches are wonderful – they are the golden lampstands holding Christ as the light to shine forth in this dark age; however, the local churches are not the goal of God’s economy but the procedure to attain the goal.
What the Lord wants today is not only many local churches who are genuine and on the ground of locality – He wants to gain the Body of Christ in its fulness. Unless the Lord gains a substantial expression of the Body, unless the reality of the Body of Christ is built up in many local churches, the Lord Jesus will not return.
What will the Lord return for: is it merely for many Christian ministries with their works? Will the Lord come back for a mega-church? The Lord wants to gain the reality of the Body of Christ in the local churches, and then He will return.
Therefore, in all our work and living, the governing law should be the Body of Christ. We need to see a vision of the Body, keep the principles of the Body, and care for the Body, doing everything not merely for the Lord but for Him and with Him in and for the Body.
The local churches as the local expressions of the universal Body of Christ should be for the Body and in the Body. The ministry as the functioning of the Body in service should be for the Body and in the Body.
The work as the reaching out of the Body in growth should be for the Body and in the context of the Body. Who sees and cares for the Body of Christ today? Who keeps the principles of the Body, and who lives governed by the law of the Body?
We need to come back to the word of God, to the ministry of the new covenant, and be filled with God’s heart’s desire for gaining the reality of the Body, and we need to be in reality the Body of Christ being built up in the local churches today.
The Lord’s Recovery is for the Building up of the Universal Organic Body of Christ
Today the Lord is working among His seeking ones all around the world to recover two central items in His heart’s desire, the enjoyment and experience of the riches of Christ, and the practice of the church life in oneness.
Christianity as a whole has “lost the plot” – they missed God’s goal, and most believers today are held in a religious or denominational “fold”, being kept away from the enjoyment and experience of Christ, and from the practice of the church life in oneness.
But in His recovery the Lord is bringing us back to the divine revelation in the Bible, and the word of God is opened to us through the ministry of the apostles. The recovery is based upon the truth that Christ has only one Body, and all the local churches are the local expressions of the universal Body of Christ.
If a local church is not in the universal fellowship with all the other churches in the Body, it can become a local sect.
There is only one Body of Christ, which is the church of God (Eph. 1:22; 1 Cor. 10:32), and this one Body is manifested or expressed in many localities (Rev. 1:11) as many local churches – one church in each locality.
This is the principle presented to us in the Bible, which is kept by the apostles and by the Lord Jesus. In the Lord’s recovery we are here for the Body; we are not here for any particular local church or an individual, but we practice the church life with the view of the Body.
The recovery is for the Body – not for any individual or a “head local church”; the Lord’s recovery is for the building up of the universal organic Body of Christ. Therefore, in our practice of the church life we should have a view of the Body, and we need to be Body-conscious in one accord and Body-centered in oneness.
We need to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace, being centered on the Body of Christ. We need to have the one accord with the saints in the Body and for the Body, being conscious of the Body and doing everything for the building up of the Body.
We love the local churches, and we treasure the church life; we love meeting with the saints to enjoy the Lord, eat Him, partake of Him, preach the gospel, be edified together, and practice the God-ordained way to build up the church.
However, in our consideration and living the Body of Christ should be first and the local churches should be second. We should be for the building up of the Body and not merely for the building up of the local church.
The local churches are the procedure for God to gain the building up of the Body of Christ, which Body is universal and organic. We stress the local churches because we realize that it is here that the Lord can speak to us, nourish us, work in us, and build us up with the saints in the Body of Christ, but the local churches are for and in the Body of Christ.
If we are just in the local churches but we don’t go to live in the reality of the Body of Christ, we are far off from God’s goal. The goal of God’s economy is the church, which is the Body of Christ; this is the goal of the Lord’s recovery (Eph. 1:22-23).
Thank You Lord for bringing us into the local churches, the local expression of the Body of Christ. Grant us a governing vision of the universal Body of Christ so that we may live not only in the churches but for the Body and in the Body. Lord, cause us to be Body-conscious in one accord and Body-centered in oneness. May we consider the Body first and the local churches second, doing everything for the building up of the Body and staying in the universal fellowship of the Body of Christ!
All the Local Churches are the Unique Body of Christ in the Universe
After the Lord Jesus descended upon His disciples as the Holy Spirit, they started to meet from house to house and in the temple; then, they met as the church. In the beginning there was only one church, the church in Jerusalem; later, with the help of the persecution that rose up, the church spread to other localities such as Samaria, Antioch, etc.
Wherever the church spread, it was the church in that city, or the churches in that area (the church in Ephesus, or the churches in Asia).
When Paul preached the gospel on his trips, he established local churches and set up elders in every church; then, he wrote letters to the churches – to individual churches such as the church in Corinth, the church in Ephesus, the church in Philippi, the church in Rome, etc, or to a group of churches in an area, such as the churches in Galatia.
Finally, the Lord Jesus in Rev. 1-3 as the High Priest walks among the local churches, which are represented by the golden lampstands, and He speaks to each church individually.
The principle in the New Testament is clear: one church in one city, and together all the churches are the universal Body of Christ. Due to the degradation of the church and the mixture brought into the church by the Roman Catholic Church, Protestantism, and the evangelical churches, today there’s a complete confusion and even a chaos in regards to the church and the Body of Christ.
There are millions of genuine loving seekers of the Lord, but most of them are in denominations, sects, and religion; they love the Lord and desire to pursue Him, but they are misled and they don’t see the pure revelation in the Bible concerning Christ and the church.
All the local churches are the one unique Body of Christ in the universe (Eph. 4:4). Every local church is a part of this universal Body, a local expression of this unique Body. This one universal church, the one Body, comprises all the local churches. There may be thousands of local churches, but together they constitute one universal church. The universal church is the unique Body of Christ, and all the local churches are simply the local expressions of this one Body. There is only one Body, but there are many expressions. Universally, all the churches are one Body, and locally, every local church is a local expression of that universal Body. Therefore, a local church is not the Body but only a part of the Body, an expression of the Body. (W. Lee, the Conclusion of the New Testament, p. 2156)
There is one church in each locality, according to the principle in the Bible, and all the churches are the local expressions of Christ’s Body, the part of Christ in that city.
There’s a local church in Taipei, London, New York, Los Angeles, Reading (UK), Leeds (UK), Manchester (UK), Boston (USA), Seattle, Atlanta (Georgia), Anaheim, San Francisco, Bucharest (Romania), Bratislava (Slovakia), Warsaw (Poland), Budapest (Hungary), Berlin Germany), Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Paris (France), Lyon, and hundreds of other cities.
All the local churches are together the unique organic Body of Christ in the universe (Eph. 4:4): every local church is a local expression of the Body, and universally the churches are one Body (Rom. 12:4-5; 16:1, 16).
The universal Christ has a part of Himself in every local church; every local church is a part of Christ, and all these parts constitute the Body of Christ (Eph. 1:23; 2:21-22).
Thank You, Lord, there is one Body in this universe, and we express it here on earth in all the localities as the many local churches, the local expressions of the universal Body of Christ. Hallelujah for the Body of Christ universally, and praise the Lord for all the local churches as the parts of Christ in the many localities! Lord, may a vision of Your Body universally govern our daily life and work in the local churches, so that we may live the church life for the building up of the Body of Christ!
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, The Practical Points concerning Blending, ch. 3 (by Witness Lee), 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:
# Do you see them in the cities, / Meeting on the local ground? / They’re the local, golden lampstands, / Where the Lord His home has found. / ’Tis the local church, the church God has chosen, / Where all the saints dwell as one! (Hymns #1257)
# One Body universal, / One in each place expressed; / Locality of dwelling / Her only ground possessed; / Administration local, / Each answ’ring to the Lord; / Communion universal, / Upheld in one accord. (Hymns #824)
# There is one Body in this universe, / And we express it here on earth; / We stand as one in each locality / For all to see, for all to see. (Hymns #1107)
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