As believers in Christ, we need to be universal Christians having a universal view of the universal Body of Christ. We are not only believers in Christ who meet with the church in our locality – we are members of the universal Body of Christ, and we practice the church life by having a clear view of the universal Body of Christ.
We need to have our heart enlarged and our view uplifted to live the Christian life and church life with the view of the universal Body of Christ.
On the one hand we need to seek the Lord personally, enjoy Him, pursue to gain Him, and spend time with Him to be nourished, directed, and inwardly led by Him in spirit; on the other hand, we need to fellowship with the saints and live the church life in spirit.
Furthermore, as we live the Christian life and the church life, our heart and view need to be enlarged and uplifted so that we may be brought out of the prison of the self and care not merely for our own things or even the things of the saints in our locality, but have a view of the universal Body of Christ.
Christ is all-inclusive, all-extensive, and universal; such a One fills all in all, and He desires to obtain a Body that is His fullness, the fulness of the One who fills all in all. How can we be the fulness of Christ, the Body of Christ, if our heart is constricted, our view is narrow, and our practice is limited by our self and our feelings?
We need to see that Christ passed through a journey: He as God became man through incarnation, died and went to Hades after His crucifixion, was resurrected to the earth and the ascended to the third heavens, so that He may fill all things.
Now we as believers in Christ are the mystical Body of Christ, the fullness of this Christ who fills all in all. Christ was given by God to be Head over all things to the church, and as the church today we receive the divine transmission of Christ to be His Body, His fulness.
Christ is universally vast, universally extensive, and we as the church are the Body of Christ, the full expression and fulness of this universally vast and extensive Christ.
Our Universal God saved us to be Universal Christians in the Universal Body of Christ
Our God is universal; He is not only everywhere in the universe, but the entire universe can’t contain Him, and God in Christ fills all and in all. Our universal God has saved us to be universal Christians in the universal Body of Christ.
Yes, we are individually saved by the Lord, and we have a personal, intimate, affectionate, and spiritual relationship with Him, but we all are members of the universal Body of Christ.
God works in the environment and the whole world situation to arrange all things for the producing and building up of the universal Body of Christ. He raised up the Roman Empire and allowed them to conquer Israel so that the Lord would be born in Bethlehem, grow up in Nazareth, and be crucified according to the Roman way of crucifixion.
He used the Roman Empire to create roads and a good transport system all around the world so that the gospel would spread and the Body of Christ would expand. He used the Greek language to write the New Testament, and He used Paul to preach the gospel and write many wonderful, high, deep, and mysterious things in his epistles.
He used Paul, a Jewish man who was educated and travelled to preach the gospel not in Judea but in many areas around the Mediterranean Sea, and through him He blended the Body and spoke concerning the new man – where there cannot be Greek or Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all and in all (Col. 3:11). In the new man Christ is all and in all, so there’s no more problems or divisions.
Today again God has blended the world together, breaking down language barriers and nation borders, and with the advancement in technology and transportation it is easy to visit, move, and blend in the Body.
East is blended with the West, and believers can’t just be “national believers” – they are universal believers in Christ, members of the Body of Christ.
Today the Lord desires to gain His universal Body, and whether we want this or not, we have to be up-to-date with Him and be universal believers in His Body, being grouped together with Him with all kinds of believers that He has placed us with.
In His eternal economy and according to His plan, God wants not only to have a church in a city and many churches in a country but a mingled church life where saints of different backgrounds and ages are built together to have a view of the universal Body of Christ.
We need to have a broadened view – not only a local view of the Body or even a national or international view, but a universal view of the Body of Christ.
Lord Jesus, cause us to see the light and have our view broadened to realize that we are in God’s eternal economy, so that we may allow God to have the Body of Christ on the earth! Lord, save us from merely having a national or international view of the Body – grant us a universal view of the universal Body of Christ! We want to be one with You in Your desire to obtain the church in the entire universe. Amen, Lord, gain us to be universal Christians living in the universal Body of Christ!
Being Universal Christians with a Universal View of the Universal Body of Christ
One of the reasons the universe is so big and ever-expanding is for us to realize that Christ is so universal, big, and all-filling, and His Body as His fulness is also great.
We need to be universal Christians who have the universal view of the universal Body of Christ presented in Eph. 1:22-23 and 4:10. Although we may have a view of the Body, our view may be very small compared to a universal view of the Body of Christ.
We all have to admit that, even though we have seen something of the Body of Christ and care for the Body, we still have a small view of the Body, compared to the universal view of the Body of Christ.
We need to come to the Lord as we are, open to Him, and ask Him to deliver us from our small and narrow self, so that we may be in an ecstasy, that is, be beside ourselves and out of ourselves; when we are outside of ourselves we will see and touch the universal Body of Christ.
The universal Body of Christ is the fullness, the expression, of the universal, unlimited Christ (Eph. 3:19), and when we’re delivered from our narrow self, we touch and enter into the reality of this universal Body.
We need to see and be overwhelmed by the vision of the immensity of the universal Body of Christ (Rev. 21:10). To be overwhelmed is to be affected deeply in our mind and emotion, heart and inner being.
When we see the universal Body of Christ, realizing that the Body is not only all over the earth but filling time and space, and filling the entire universe, we will be overwhelmed just as John was in Rev. 1, 19, and 21.
If we are in ourselves, however, we will be stiff, rigid, and unmovable before the Lord, and we will not be touched by the vision in the Bible concerning the Body of Christ.
If the Lord has mercy on us and delivers us from our narrow self, we will see a vision of the immensity of the Body of Christ, and we will be universal Christians having a universal view of the universal Body of Christ.
Such a view will come little by little, but eventually nothing in us will be able to resist it, and everything will be conquered, overcome, in our concepts, feelings, and thoughts. Like the apostle John, we need to be carried away in spirit to a “high mountain” to have a universal view of the universal Body of Christ.
When we are in our spirit, we will have a view of the universal Body, which is infinitely greater than anything that has ever entered into our mind concerning the Body of Christ. We need to open to the Lord so that He may show us something immeasurably greater concerning the Body that has ever entered into our mind.
May a governing and controlling vision of the universal Body of Christ reach us and penetrate us, so that we may become the Body in reality and live out in practicality a universal Christian with a universal view of the universal Body of Christ.
This is God’s goal: to build up the universal Body of Christ, and it is such a universal Body that will consummate in the New Jerusalem (see Eph. 1:22-23; 4:12, 16; Rev. 21:2, 10).
Lord Jesus, we open to You to see something concerning the universal Body of Christ and thus be universal Christians in the Body. We come to You as we are: make us universal Christians with a universal view of the universal Body of Christ. Save us from our narrowness and smallness. Enlarge our heart, uplift our view, and get us out of our small and narrow self so that we may see and touch the universal Body of Christ. Lord, gain the fullness, the expression, of the universal, unlimited Christ, in the universal 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, Words of Training for the New Way, vol. 1, chs. 5-6 (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:
# From every tribe and nation / Do all the members come, / Regardless of their classes / United to be one. / No high there is, nor lowly, / No Jew, nor Gentile clan, / No free, nor slave, nor master, / But Christ, the “one new man.” (Hymns #824)
# Oh, the church of Christ is glorious, and we are part of it— / We’re so happy that the Lord has made us one! / There’s a Body in the universe and we belong to it— / Hallelujah, for the Lord has made us one! (Hymns #1226)
# Limit, Lord, my independence, / Let me to Thy Body turn; / Not just seeking light from heaven, / But the church’s sense to learn. / May we be the stones for building / Not the formless, useless clay, / Gain in us Thy heart’s desire / Corporately Thyself display. (Hymns #1225)
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