standing on the unique ground of the church for the Lord to gain His overcomers

standing on the unique ground of the church for the Lord to gain His overcomers. In the picture: View of London, England, where all the believers are part of the church in LondonIn the Bible there is a very simple and at the same time very powerful principle related to the church: one city, one church – within one city there is only one local church. In the early days, the believers practiced it all the time – the practice of the church life after the Pentecost was that there is only one church in one city (see Acts 8:1; 13:1; Rev. 1:11).

The church as the Body of Christ is expressed in many localities on the earth taking the ground of the locality as the ground of the church consistently.

We need to be clear about the ground of the church, and we need to apply it by the Spirit and in life for the keeping of the oneness of the Body.

there is Only One Church in One City

The principle in the Bible is that there is only one local church in one city – see the church in Jerusalem, which was the first church established in a locality within the jurisdiction of the city of Jerusalem (Acts 8:1, 5:11 and note 1). Also, in Revelation 1:11 we see that the Lord wrote to the seven churches which are in Asia – and then He lists seven cities.

The local church as the local expression of the universal church, the Body of Christ, is only one locally, and it includes all the genuine believers of Christ in that city. No matter what the condition of the believers is – see the church in Corinth! – the local church is, The Church of God which is in that particular locality (1 Cor. 1:2).

The local church has the divine essence and the divine nature, being the lampstand for the Triune God to shine out in the locality the church is in. We need to be clear about the ground of the church.

Yes, all the believers in Christ universally and all over the world are part of the Body of Christ, the church, but locally, for its existence, expression, and practice, the church needs a ground, a boundary, and according to the New Testament this ground is the locality.

The ground of the church is not the street, the area, or any other location, and it is not our preference, our doctrine, our vision, or our spirituality – it is simply the ground of the locality where we meet in oneness with all the other believers in Christ!

Three Crucial Elements of the Ground of the Church

As we see in the New Testament, in the church history, in our experience, and in the ministry of brother Lee, there are three crucial elements to the ground of the church:

  1. The unique oneness of the universal Body of Christ, which is the oneness of the Spirit (Eph. 4:3). The ground of the church is primarily the unique oneness of the Body. It is not something outward and physical first.
  2. The unique ground of the locality in which a local church is established and exists (Acts 13:1, 8:1). All the believers within the boundaries of a certain locality are, according to the New Testament, the church in that locality.
  3. The reality of the Spirit, the living reality of the divine Trinity (1 John 5:6, John 15:13). The ground is made real to us and it is applied to us not legally but in the Spirit, in the living reality of the Triune God.

It is by this Spirit that the Body of Christ becomes real and living. It is by this Spirit that the ground of locality is applied in life and not in legality. It is by this Spirit the genuine ground of the church is linked with the Triune God. We may see the ground of the church, but we do not impose it in a legal way but in the Spirit and in life.

I Belong to the Same Church You Belong To!

Many times Christians and non-Christians alike ask you, Since you are a believer, what church do you meet with? If we see what the Bible says concerning this, we will just humble ourselves and say, I belong to the same church you belong to!

There is one Body of Christ in this entire universe, and since I am in this particular locality, I am part of and I meet with the church in this locality! For instance, I live in London, England, therefore I belong to the church in London, the same as all the thousands of the believers in London.

Then people may ask further, Do you say that YOU are the ONLY church? The answer to this simply is, We say that we are ONLY the church. Nothing else, no other name, no other de-nomination, just THE CHURCH.

We need to come back to the unique ground of oneness, the proper ground of the church, the ground of the unity. There is NO REASON to be divided – why not simply we all the believers in London, England, come together and meet as what we are – the church in London?

We all belong to the same church, the unique church, to which all believers throughout the ages – like the Apostle Paul, Peter, James, Andrew, John, Martin Luther, C. H. Mackintosh, Tozer, C.S. Lewis, Andrew Murray, Hudson Taylor, George Muller, Madam Guyon, M. E. Barber, Watchman Nee, Witness Lee, Billy Graham, and countless others – belong to!

We just need to come together on the unique ground of unity that the Lord may have a proper expression of the Body of Christ in the locality where we live!

Returning to the Local Church for Zion!

In the Old Testament there is a very good example of the situation of today’s Christianity – the people of Israel was taken in captivity far away from the good land and the city of Jerusalem. But what God desires is that His people would worship Him in the temple, which is on Mount Zion in Jerusalem.

For this, the people of God need to return to Jerusalem and rebuild both the city of Jerusalem and the temple on Mount Zion. Jerusalem can be considered as the ground of locality, which needs to be recovered before the Lord can gain Zion, the overcomers, the reality of the Body of Christ.

We need to return to Jerusalem, to the oneness on the local ground of the church, so that the Lord may gain His overcomers, Zion, the reality of the Body of Christ!

The returning of the people of Israel to Jerusalem was not for the sake of rebuilding the city of Jerusalem only, but for the rebuilding of the temple on Mount Zion that the people may properly worship God and appreciate God.

The believers today need to see the local ground of the church, the ground of locality, and return to it so that God may gain Zion, the overcomers in the churches, the ones called by God in all the seven epistles to the local churches in Rev. 2-3, the ones who bring the Lord back and end this age!

The local churches are the procedure for God to gain the reality of the Body! We love the local churches because they are the means and the procedure for the reality of the Body of Christ to be produced!

Lord Jesus, open our eyes to see the unique ground of the church, the genuine ground of oneness! Lord, remove any veils of religion and concepts from our eyes. We want to put ourselves, our opinions, and our preferences aside, and take Your way – only one church in one city! Lord, thank You for placing us here, in the local church. Make us Your overcomers, those who are in the reality of the Body of Christ!

References and Further Reading

aGodMan
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aGodMan

Hi there, I am Stefan Misaras, and I live and work in London (UK), meeting with the church in London. I love the Lord Jesus, His Word, the ministry of the age, and the saints. Enjoy the Lord!
PS. My personal website is StefanMisaras.com.
aGodMan
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About aGodMan

Hi there, I am Stefan Misaras, and I live and work in London (UK), meeting with the church in London. I love the Lord Jesus, His Word, the ministry of the age, and the saints. Enjoy the Lord!
PS. My personal website is StefanMisaras.com.

  • Amen, Lord.Open our eyes to see the reality of the chruch. We love you, Lord.

    • Amen. Open our eyes, Lord, that we may see. Open the eyes of all Your genuine believers in Christ to see the reality of the church. Gain so many more overcomers, Lord! Gain the reality of the church!

  • Kris

    The one city, one church, is not accurate it is only used practically, for instance in New York State there are towns , villages, and different classes of them some incorporated and unincorporated, thus there is no biblical definition of "city", imagine if I broke up east la or west la, or manhattan or queens into separate cities, or even if a meeting hall was on one border of a county and another, would we then elect three additional elders , I don't think so, its time to move on.

    • Kris, the matter of the one church in one city is not a legalistic one – it has to be applied according to the sense of life in your spirit and also according to and in fellowship with the other members of the Body. London has over 10 million people and it is a huge city; but there is only ONE church in London, and we are all part of it! In fellowship with the other believers we need to meet in a meeting hall / district that is close to us.

      The same is with the villages, suburbs, and other territorial divisions – we only need to keep the principle that in one locality there is only one church, and we meet with the saints not only on the ground of the city but even more, on the ground of the oneness!

      Whatever we do, we need to keep the oneness! Wherever we meet, we keep the oneness not just with the other believers but with ALL the believers in the Body of Christ!

      … I hope this helps…

  • Kris

    I agree with being one in many aspects, but you still did not define "locality", you keep saying locality but don't define it, as for meeting in a meeting hall that is close, you still call it the name of the city, even if there are many suburban cities, for instance in london it may be a city but in the dallas and georgia surbubs there are many cities.

    However, not all states such as NY follow that municipality, they have towns and villages

    each locality has its own elders too, so while the oneness is a principal, it leaves the question unfortunately unanswered.