Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

4 Ways to Apply the Vision of the Church as the Organic Body of Christ

In my last post, Knowing the Church as the Organism of the Triune God, I pointed out that the genuine church is not a man-made organization, but a God-produced organism. This organism is a structure of the mingling of Triune God with all the believers in Christ (Eph. 4:4-6). When we really see the vision of this divine organism, we should also have a four-fold response as the application of this vision.

First, we need to participate in the metamorphic change of this divine organism by experiencing the mingling of God and man.

What do we mean by “metamorphic change?” Two illustrations come to mind. One, is the illustration of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. The second, is the change in rocks by means of prolonged heat and pressure that turns them from mere carbon to diamonds.

The spiritual metamorphic change that God needs for His organism is first a matter of the renewing of our mind by the spreading, the saturating of the spirit into our mind for the new man (Eph. 4:22-24). The more we turn to our spirit and set our mind on the spirit, the more the Spirit of life spreads from our spirit into our mind to make our mind life (Rom. 8:2, 6).

In addition, this metamorphic change is accomplished through the nourishing, sanctifying, and cleansing of Christ’s word of life (Eph. 5:26-27). We daily need to read, pray-read, sing and muse upon Christ’s words so that they nourish, sanctify and cleanse our entire inner being (Eph. 6:17-18; Col. 3:16).

Second, we need care for the growth of the church, as the Triune God’s organism, by doing an organic work, a work in the divine life.

The application of revelation of the church as the organism of the Triune God requires that any work that we do match this divine organism. The gifted members need to perfect others to do the same ministry that they do for the building up of the organic Body of Christ (Eph. 4:11-12).

Paul did such an organic work by feeding the believers with the riches of the divine life, feeding them either with nourishing milk or with solid food (1 Cor. 3:2). This kind of work helped the believers to grow in the divine life.

To carry out such a organic work we need to be the planters and waters (1 Cor. 3:6). We can only do our part to nourish others, to fellowship and pray with them so that they receive the supply of the divine life. In order to do this, we need to be those who daily drink the Spirit to be filled with the water of life (1 Cor. 12:13b; John 7:37-39) and daily eat Christ to be nourished with the words of the  faith (John 6:57b, 63; 1 Tim. 4:6).

Then in our care for people we simply point out the way for them to hold to truth in love and to grow up into Christ in all things. In this way the Body grows resulting in its organic building (Eph. 4:15-16).

Third, we need to practice the living of this divine organism, the corporate and organic living of the Body of Christ.

In such a corporate living, we take Christ as our life (Col 3:3-4) and live by caring for all the other members of Christ’s Body (1 Cor. 12:25-27). This kind of corporate living, expressed in Romans 12, results from the union and mingling of the Triune God with the tripartite man in Romans 8.

We can daily enjoy such a union, in which the law of the Spirit of life works in us by our prayer and having a spirit of dependence (1 Thes. 5:17). Through our cooperation, the law of the Spirit of life first enlivens our spirit (Rom. 8:10). Then, this law spreads into our mind to enliven our mind (Rom. 8:6). Finally, this law, even gives life to our mortal body through the indwelling Spirit (Rom.8:11). We need cooperate with the law of life by always walking according to the spirit, setting our mind on the spirit, and putting to death the practices of our Body by the Spirit (Rom. 8:4,  6, 13).

Fourth, we need to practice the service of this organism, the corporate organic service of the Body of Christ.

This kind of service is not the service of only a few, but it is the function of every member of the Body of Christ. In this service, every member functions according to their measure.

This kind of corporate, organic service is in the New Testament priesthood of the gospel (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rom. 15:16). As such a priesthood, we need to preach the gospel, to impart the divine life to others for their regeneration, or divine birth (1 Pet. 1:23John 3:6). This is to make the saved sinners, sacrifices to God.

After they are saved, we need to feed the Lord’s lambs, the newborn believers, with the milk of God’s word so that they may grow up in the divine life (John 21:15; 1 Pet. 2:2-3).

Then we need to perfect the growing believers so that they can do the work of the ministry unto the building up of Christ’s organic Body (Eph. 4:12).

Finally, we need to lead the saints to prophesy, to speak for the Lord, for the building up of the church as His organic Body (1 Cor. 14:3-4). Ultimately, we need to labor to present every saint full-grown in Christ (Col. 1:28-29).

“Lord Jesus, thank you for revealing to me that the church is Your organic Body. Lord, make this revelation a governing vision in me, a vision that regulates all my Christian living and service. Lord, may all my spiritual pursuit be a participation in this metamorphic change for Your organism. May my living be a part of the corporate living of Your Body. And may my service be a part of the corporate organic service for the increase, perfecting and building up of this divine organism.”

This post was inspired by Holy Word for Morning Revival – The Crucial Elements of the Bible, Week 6. If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy reading The Mysteries in God’s New Testament Economy, by Witness Lee (pages 67-71, 83). You can also read it online at ministrybooks.org. You can also read similar posts at agodman.com.

 

About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

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