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Life-Study of Ephesiansby Witness Lee

ISBN: 0-7363-0962-4
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry

Currently in: Chapter 80 of 97 Section 1 of 3

LIFE-STUDY OF EPHESIANS

MESSAGE EIGHTY

PUTTING ON THE NEW MAN
BY GROWING UP INTO CHRIST

Scripture Reading: Eph. 4:12-16, 22-24

We have pointed out that the church is not only the Body, but also the new man. As the Body, the church needs Christ as life. But as the new man, the church needs Christ as the person. For example, trees have life, but they do not have a person and therefore have no personality. As human beings, however, we have both life and personality, for we are persons.

CHRIST BECOMING THE PERSON IN OUR HEARTS

Because the church is not only the Body with Christ as life but also the new man with Christ as the person, Paul in 3:17 emphasizes the importance of Christ making His home in our hearts. Although our spirit is a vessel to contain God, the spirit is not the center of personality. The center of personality is the heart. The various functions of our personality—our mind, emotion, and will—are directly related to our heart, not to our spirit. Because all the functions of personality are concentrated in the heart, it is the place where Christ desires to make His home. Christ as the life-giving Spirit is now in our spirit. However, He wants to spread into our hearts and make His home there.

Through regeneration we have Christ as the Spirit in our spirit. But through transformation Christ will spread from our spirit into our heart. Every regenerated person has Christ in his spirit, but not many have allowed Christ to spread into their hearts. This is the reason Paul prayed that we would be strengthened into our inner man so that Christ may make His home in our hearts (3:16). It seems as if Paul wanted to tell the Ephesians, “Because you have been saved and regenerated, you have Christ in your spirit. But I’m concerned that you have not allowed Christ to spread into your hearts. Therefore, I pray for you that you may be strengthened in your spirit by the Spirit so that Christ may make His home in your hearts.”

We need to take Christ not only as the life in our spirit, but also as the person in our heart. When Christ is in our spirit, He is our life. However, when He spreads into our heart, He also becomes our person. We all have Christ in our spirit, but I wonder how much Christ has spread into our heart.

Sisters, do you take Christ as your person when you go shopping? Do you allow Him to make home in your heart as you are deciding what to buy? For the most part, you are the one who makes these decisions, not Christ. You have Christ in your spirit as life. The problem is that you confine Him to your spirit. Deep within I am afraid that you say, “Lord Jesus, You are my life in my spirit. But when it comes to shopping, I want You to stay in my spirit. Let me shop according to what is in my heart. I want to buy the things I like. Lord, my spirit is Your sphere. But my heart is reserved for me.” When you pray, you may contact the Lord in your spirit, only to leave Him and go shopping according to your own desire and choice. Of course, the sisters may not put this into words, but this may be their attitude. I doubt that many sisters consult the Lord about their shopping. This indicates that in the practical matter of shopping they do not take Christ as their person in their hearts.

Simply having Christ as life does not produce the church life. In order to have the proper church life, we must take Christ as our person. Remember that the church is the new man as well as the Body. As the new man, the church needs Christ as the person. The main problem is not with the life, but with the person. There is no need to adjust the life, but there is the need for a change of person. Our mind, emotion, and will all need to be adjusted. With the church life, the problem is not only with our taking Christ as life; it is also with our taking Christ as our person. Very few saints take Christ as their person in an adequate way. To have Christ as our person is deeper, higher, and fuller than to have Him as our life. In Ephesians 3 Paul did not pray that the saints would have Christ as life. He prayed that they would take Him as their person by allowing Him to make His home in their hearts. This is our need today.

Whatever we do, we should do by taking Christ as our person. The question is not what we do, but who is doing it. Are we the ones, or is it Christ? Concerning shopping, it is not a matter of what we intend to buy; it is a matter of who is buying that particular item. Are we the ones buying it, or is it Christ? If we do not take Christ as our person, it may even be wrong in the eyes of the Lord to purchase a Bible. Hence, the question is not what we do or what we buy; it is who is doing that thing or buying that item.


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