God's Purpose for the Church

God's Purpose for the Churchby Witness Lee

ISBN: 0-87083-004-X
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry

Currently in: Chapter 1 of 1 Section 1 of 4

GOD’S PURPOSE
FOR THE CHURCH

Scripture Reading: Eph. 1:3-10, 22-23; 3:9-11; Rom. 8:17-23; Rev. 21-22

Nearly all of the things revealed about God’s eternal plan for the church are found in the two books of Ephesians and Colossians. The book to the Ephesians is the revelation of the Body, and the book to the Colossians is the revelation of the Head. When put together, these two books reveal a universal man, composed of Christ the Head, and the church the Body!

In Ephesians 1:10 and 3:9, the words dispensation and fellowship should be translated “economy.” They are both the same word in the Greek. The church is something of God’s economy, and this word economy is very important. It means “dispensation,” “arrangement,” “stewardship,” and “administration.” God has something to dispense, so He needs an arrangement and an administration in order to carry out this dispensing. The very substance that God is going to dispense is Himself. God is going to dispense Himself into man, so He arranged and administered the church. The church is the central matter in God’s economy. Putting it into human terms, the church is God’s business.

We all know that business is the key to any economy. Such a large corporation as General Electric has an economy in order to do business. In other words, business reveals the economy of this large corporation. In a similar way, God Himself is a corporation with an economy, and in this economy God’s divine business is the church.

Many Christians do not have such an awareness of the church. Their thought is that the church is a group of fallen people who are saved and who come together to worship God. This is right, but it is a concept far below God’s economy. The heavenly and eternal view of the church is much higher than this. It is the very central matter of God’s economy. In God’s dispensation, in God’s administration, in God’s arrangement, in God’s governmental stewardship, He has eternally planned the church.

In Ephesians 3:11, there is the phrase, according to the eternal purpose, which shows that the church is not an accident but that it was planned by God in eternity past. The church is eternal because it is of God’s eternal plan and of God’s economy.

To have an economy or a business, there must be three things: the capital, the power, and the wisdom. Without the finance or the capital, nothing can be done. This is why there are the shareholders, who raise the funds in a corporation. Then there is the need of the power or the strength to run the corporation. The largest corporation may have the largest capital; however, without the power, it can do nothing. Furthermore, even with the power and the capital it will become bankrupt without the wisdom or the proper way to run the corporation. So a successful corporation needs the capital, the power, and the wisdom. In the two books of Ephesians and Colossians, these three things for God’s economy are presented.

The capital, the finance, is God Himself. Ephesians 3:19 tells us that the church will be filled with the fullness of God. God Himself is the finance and the capital to run the business. Then Colossians says that the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ bodily (2:9), and this will be in the church. The church will be filled with the fullness of God because it is the Body of Christ in whom the very fullness of the Godhead dwells.

The power is also mentioned in these two books. In chapter one of Ephesians there is the power that raised Christ from the dead, lifted Him up to the heavens, and put Him on the throne (vv. 19-20). This is the divine power. Then in Colossians 1:29, the apostle Paul tells us that the power for him to minister is the inner energizing power. There is something within energizing him all the time, and he ministers by this power.

What then is the wisdom? Of course, Christ is God’s wisdom. In chapter one of 1 Corinthians we are told that Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God (v. 24). Then in Colossians chapter two, we see that in Christ, God has hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (v. 3).

God’s economy is to be carried out by these three things: by God Himself as the finance, by God’s divine energy as the power, and by God’s divine wisdom as the way. And the church is the very center of this economy.


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