Seven Aspects of the Churchby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Throughout history, Satan has damaged the church by religion, knowledge, and organization. Satan’s goal is to divide the Body of Christ through knowledge and doctrine and to destroy the functions of the members of the Body through organization, especially organization that issues in the clergy-laity system. This system has replaced the functions of the members of the Body. If Satan cannot keep people from the Lord, then he will seek to damage and corrupt the Body of Christ. God’s intention is not simply to save millions of people and then transport them into heaven. God’s intention in His eternal purpose is to have the Body to express Christ (Eph. 3:10-11). He desires to have a number of genuine believers built up together in the life of Christ.
Due to the subtlety of Satan, many think that such a building can take place only in the future. According to this concept, all we can do today is preach the gospel, bring people to the Lord, help them to know the Bible, to love the Lord, and to seek spirituality. Some Christian teachers say that, according to the type in the Old Testament, we are living in the age of David, in the time of fighting the battle and of making preparations for the building of the temple. Later, in the age of Solomon, the temple will be built up. However, this teaching annuls the book of Ephesians. In 2:22 Paul says, “In Whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit.” This verse does not say that we shall be built up some day in the future; it says plainly that we are being built even today. Hence, the building of the church is for today.
In 4:11 and 12 we see that the Lord has given apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers for the perfecting of the saints unto the building up of the Body of Christ. This also indicates that the building of the church is taking place today.
Ephesians 4:16 offers further proof of this. Here we see the growth that is unto the building up of the Body. The operation in the measure of each part causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love. Paul’s word clearly indicates that the growth which is unto building is taking place today.
Certain Christian teachers evade the issue of the present building up of the Body because they know that they are in a situation in which it is impossible to have the church life. They are in division. They can merely shake hands over the denominational fences and say to one another that they are one in Christ. This, however, is a false oneness, a oneness in pretense. Therefore, they excuse their situation by saying that it is impossible for the church to be built up today. They follow the teaching that the building of the church will be only in the future. This is the subtlety of Satan.
No matter how many souls we may bring to the Lord, how many saints we may edify, and how much we help others to study the Bible and to be spiritual, God’s purpose is not fulfilled. I believe that the main reason for the delay of the Lord’s coming back is that His church has not yet been built up. In Matthew 16:18 the Lord Jesus promised and prophesied, “I will build My church.” This word must be fulfilled before the Lord comes back. Otherwise, concerning the building of the church, He would be put to shame. Satan would be able to boast of defeating the Lord. Then Satan would be able to say to the Lord Jesus, “For nearly two thousand years You have been trying to build the church, but You have not been successful. Your work on the cross, in resurrection, in ascension, and as the life-giving Spirit has not been sufficient to defeat me. You have not reached Your goal.” The Lord Jesus will not allow Satan to boast in this way. He will put him to shame through the building up of the church, even in the midst of this dark age. Then the Lord will be able to boast to Satan, “Satan, even in such a dark and evil age, I have built My church.”
The Lord is doing a marvelous work of recovery. He will show His enemy that He is well able to build His church. No matter what the situation may be on earth, we have the assurance that the Lord is carrying on the work of His recovery.
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