Life-Study of Ephesiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we come to the last portion of chapter two, verses 20 through 22. Here we have the revelation of the building in two aspects, the universal aspect and the local aspect. Universally the church is uniquely one, and the church in a particular locality is locally one. In verse 21 we see the universal aspect of the church: “All the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” Then in verse 22 we have the local aspect: “You also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit.” Therefore, the holy temple refers to the universal aspect, and the dwelling place of God, to the local aspect.
As the Body of Christ, the church has been regenerated, and as the house of God, the church is being built. Apparently, growth and building are separate things. Actually, the building of the house is the growth of the Body. If the Body does not grow, the house cannot be built.
In considering the church as God’s building, we need to pay special attention to the foundation. Verse 20 says, “Being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone.” Many Christians have difficulty understanding what the foundation is in this verse. First Corinthians 3:11 says, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Christ is the only foundation. Nevertheless, Ephesians 2:20 speaks of the foundation of the apostles and prophets. This does not mean, however, that the apostles and prophets themselves are the foundation. In contrast to Revelation 21 where the foundations are the very persons of the apostles, the foundation here is not the apostles and prophets themselves. Since the mystery of Christ has been revealed to the apostles (Eph. 3:4-5), the revelation they received is considered the foundation upon which the church is built. This corresponds to the rock in Matthew 16:18, which is not only Christ Himself but also the revelation concerning Christ, upon which Christ will build His church. Therefore, the foundation of the apostles and prophets is the revelation they received regarding Christ and the church for the building of the church. The church is built upon this revelation. This is the meaning of the foundation in Ephesians 2:20.
Upon what are we in the Lord’s recovery building the church? To say that we are building upon Christ is too vague and indefinite. We need to build the church upon the revelation received by the apostles and prophets. The so-called churches established according to nationalities are not built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Some so-called churches even exclude members of particular racial or ethnic groups. Surely those congregations are not built upon the foundation spoken of in 2:20. The Roman Catholic Church and all the denominations claim that their foundation is Christ. However, none of these groups declares that their foundation is the foundation of the apostles and prophets. For example, the Presbyterian denomination is built upon the concept of presbytery. The apostles and prophets, however, never received a revelation that the presbytery should be the foundation of the church. The Methodist Church is built upon the principles of John Wesley, and the Catholic Church is built upon the concept of hierarchy. If the revelation given to the apostles and prophets were applied to the Catholic Church, the Catholic Church would collapse. The charismatic churches are built upon the foundation of certain charismatic gifts and experiences. In contrast to all these so-called churches, we in the Lord’s recovery must be able to strongly affirm that the churches in the recovery are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. This means that the churches in the Lord’s recovery are built according to the revelation received by the apostles and prophets. This revelation embraces believers of all races and nationalities; it includes those who speak in tongues and those who do not. If you have the vision of the proper foundation of the church, you will realize that only the churches in the Lord’s recovery, not the Catholic Church, the denominations, nor the independent groups, are built upon the proper foundation.
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