This week in our morning revival time with the Lord we come to the topic of, The Recovery of the Church, and in particular, Seeing God’s Eternal Purpose concerning the Church and Enlightening all concerning the Economy of the Mystery Hidden in God.
In order for us to participate in the recovery of the church, we need to see God’s eternal purpose concerning the church. When we speak the word “church” to others, there are thousands of definitions and opinions concerning what the church is based on concepts, past experiences, and religious influences.
We need to have an intrinsic understanding of what the church is. In the epistles of Paul we have a clear and definitive unveiling of what the church is, in particular in Ephesians, where we have the revelation of God’s will and God’s eternal purpose to have the church.
The church is the corporate expression of Christ, who is the embodiment and expression of the Triune God. The church is nothing religious; the church is not merely an assembly of believers (though it is that, outwardly).
The church is simply the corporate expression of Christ, and Christ the Son is the embodiment and expression of the Triune God. In order for God to gain a corporate expression, He needs to gain our soul; our spirit is for contacting god, receiving God, containing God, and digesting God, but our soul is the organ for expressing the Lord.
In order for God to have a corporate expression, He must transform the souls of millions of persons, so that – in fulfillment of His prayer in John 17, the glory of the Father gave to the Son would be given to us – there would be a corporate expression, a corporate shining forth of God in Christ.
The expression of God is corporate, but it is not an organization or systematizing; God’s expression is corporate organically, for the church is an organic entity. God’s intention in seeking a corporate expression is to have millions upon millions of regenerated believers who are absolutely one in the Triune God, therefore they are truly corporate.
These express the Triune God through their renewed mind, their sanctified being, and their transformed soul. This is what was in the Lord’s heart from eternity past, this is what the apostles taught, and this is what the Lord is after today.
But unfortunately so much has been lost throughout the ages; the truth has been lost or distorted, the crucial experiences of life, transformation, sanctification, and renewing – all have been lost. Also, the genuine experience of being saved from individualism and independence into a Body-consciousness has been lost.
The fact that we are all brothers with no hierarchy in the church, with no name taken other than the name of the Lord – this has been lost. Similarly, the fact that there’s only one church in one city and the fact that there’s a way ordained by God to build up such a church has been lost.
Almost everything was lost. But our God is a God of purpose, having a determined intention, and the entire universe exists for His corporate expression. No matter what the enemy has done throughout the ages to damage God’s purpose, and no matter how much degradation has been, our God is a God of recovery.
And in the midst of all these things He wants us to be governed and directed not by the present condition of the church but by God’s original intention concerning the church, God’s eternal purpose concerning the church.
To Participate in the Recovery of the Church we need to See God’s Eternal Purpose Concerning the Church
We need to pray for a spiritual seeing of the church; we shouldn’t be satisfied with what we have seen and what we know until now, but be pure in heart and poor in spirit to see the church in God’s eternal purpose.
May the Lord, in response to His heavenly intercession, operate in us as the life-giving Spirit to humble us, purify us, and even make us like Bartimeus that we may say, Lord, I just want to receive my sight! Lord, cause us to see God’s eternal purpose concerning the church!
Then, based upon the degree of our seeing, we will be able to carry out the “enlightening all that they may see the economy of the mystery hidden in God” (Eph. 3:9-11). Christ is the mystery of God; God is a mystery, and Christ is the revelation and expression of this mystery, so Christ is the mystery of God.
Christ Himself is a mystery, and the church as His corporate expression is the mystery of Christ. We need to see God’s eternal purpose concerning the mystery of the church as the corporate expression of Christ, and then we will enter into the divine commission to enlighten all human beings to see this mystery.
In order to participate in the recovery of the church, we need to see God’s eternal purpose concerning the church (see Eph. 1:9, 11; 3:9-11; Rom. 8:28). We are here to participate in the Lord’s recovery of the church, not just to observe this.
We have a sense that there’s something measured out to us as a portion, our measure of participation. We all are members of the Body, and no one can replace us; we all have a measure of Christ and of the faith, and we are here to dynamically and vitally participate in the Lord’s recovery of the church by first seeing God’s eternal purpose concerning the church.
According to the Bible, in eternity past God had a household arrangement, an economy, and in that arrangement a mystery was hidden; this mystery is the church. God’s economy is an eternal plan and also a purpose.
God is purposeful – He has a purpose; a purpose is a strong intent to do something or gain something. What is God’s eternal purpose? What does God want to gain in His purpose. In eternity past God had an intent to gain the church; with a definite and strong determination, God intends to have the church.
The determined will of God became the purpose of God (Eph. 1:5), and God’s eternal purpose is His determined intent to gain the church (vv. 9, 11). According to Rev. 4:11, God’s will is the source of every positive thing that exists, and His will is simply what He wants.
With God’s will there’s a divine determination; the divine determination in the being of God is to recover the church. As those who have come to know God in this aspect, we need to realize that, when God is determined to do something, nothing will stop Him.
May there be in us a divinely-human determination that matches and expresses and is in harmony with God’s determination!
Lord, cause us to see God’s eternal purpose concerning the church. Remove any veils of human opinions and religious concepts that we may see what is in the heart of God concerning the church. Lord, we want to participate in the recovery of the church today. Grant us to see God’s eternal purpose concerning the church, and grant us to participate in Your recovery of the church today. May there be in us a divinely-human determination that matches, expresses, and is in harmony with God’s determination to gain the church!
The Purpose of the Ages, the Eternal Plan which God Planned in Christ, is for God to gain the Church
In Eph. 3:11 we see the eternal purpose of God (lit, “the purpose of the ages”) which was made by God in eternity past for eternity future.
In Ephesians we see different terms related to God and His purpose such as, the eternal purpose of God, economy, mystery, purpose, and will. God has a good pleasure of His will (Eph. 1:5), the mystery of His will (v. 9), and the counsel of His will (v. 11).
God has a will, and for this He made an economy; the will of God is hidden in Himself as a mystery, but in His wisdom and prudence God has made this hidden mystery known to us through His revelation in Christ, that is, through Christ’s incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension.
God has an eternal, determined intent, to gain the church. God’s will is the source of God’s purpose and His determined intent. What does God want? He wants the church; God wants to gain the church. God’s eternal purpose is to gain the church.
In eternity past, before the foundation of the world, before the heavens, the earth, and all things that were created, God made a purpose for something in the future, in eternity to come; this is the purpose of eternity, the eternal purpose, which is for God to gain the church.
As He was planning this, He chose us to be hold and without blemish before Him; He chose us to be same as He is in His nature (Eph. 1:4). He predestinated us unto sonship, so that we may have the life and position of a son, to be the same as God in life.
In eternity past we were chosen and predestinated for the church as the corporate expression of Christ. We are not here by accident: God knows each and every one of us from eternity, and we are here in time at the place where He appointed us, so that we may be in the church.
God planned in Christ; He has a plan, He is thoughtful, and He operates all things according to the counsel of His will. In order for us to participate in the recovery of the church, we need to set aside our human concepts, intentions, and be saturated with God’s plan.
God saved us and called us according to His own purpose (2 Tim. 1:9), and this purpose needs to become our purpose (ch. 3).
May we be those who behold the Lord with an unveiled face to be infused with Him, His purpose, and His economy, so that God’s eternal purpose may become our purpose and His will may become our will.
Thank You God for choosing us and predestinating us unto sonship, the same as God in life. Thank You for choosing us to be holy, the same as God in nature. Lord, we open our whole being to You: grant us to be unveiled and see God’s eternal purpose concerning the church. Grant us to realize what is God’s will, His determined intention, and His purpose. Amen, Lord, may Your purpose become our purpose, Your will become our will, so that we may be fully one with You to gain the church, the corporate expression of God.
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by Ron Kangas for this week, and portions from, Conclusion of the New Testament, msg. 189 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, The Recovery of the Church (2017 fall ITERO), week 1, Seeing God’s Eternal Purpose concerning the Church and Enlightening All concerning the Economy of the Mystery Hidden in God.
- Hymns on this topic:
# God eternal has a purpose, / Formed in His eternal past, / Spreading to eternal future; / ’Twixt these ends all time is cast. / For with time there is the process, / Time for His accomplishment; / And in time we’re merely travelers— / For eternity we’re meant. (Hymns #1325)
# In eternal ages purposed / That His wisdom be made known, / Was the Church, His hidden myst’ry, / Where the Son could make His home; / That the saints may all in spirit / Apprehend His boundlessness, / Know His love which passes knowledge, / All God’s fulness to possess. (Hymns #823)
# God’s economy is His plan to dispense Himself / Into His chosen, predestinated, and redeemed people / As their life (as their life), their life supply, (their life supply) / And their everything / To produce (to produce), constitute (constitute), / And build up the organic Body of Christ, / Which consummates the New Jerusalem. (Song on God’s economy)
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