Holding to Truth

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

The Church on the Ground of Oneness

This week I enjoyed that there are four crucial elements in the Bible. These crucial elements—Christ, the Spirit, life, and the church—are the kernel, the extract of the divine revelation in the Scriptures. Christ became the Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45), the Spirit is life (Rom. 8:2), and life produces the church (Eph. 2:21; 4:15-16).

In this one-week overview of these four crucial elements, I have dedicated one post to each, providing the emphasis of each of these four elements. In this post, we will focus on the church, with the emphasis on the church being on the ground of oneness to be the testimony of the Body of Christ.


h2>God’s called out assembly—1 Cor. 1:2

The church revealed in the New Testament is first the assembly of God’s called-out ones. The word for “church” in Greek is ekklesia, made up of ek meaning “out of,” and kaleo meaning “call.” So the church, according to its most basic definition is a gathering of God’s called-out ones. God has called us out of every tribe, tongue, people and nation and gathered us to be the church (Rev. 5:9).

In 1 Corinthians 1:2, Paul addresses the recipients of his epistle saying, “To the church of God which is in Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, the called saints…” In verse 9 he continues by saying, “God is faithful, through whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” From these two verses we can see that the church is a composition of God’s called-out ones.

I really appreciate the fact that we have been called-out by God. We did nothing to deserve His calling. But praise Him, one day the God of glory, appeared to us and called us. We simply could not resist Him. God’s calling has set us apart unto Himself for the church.

God’s universal family—Eph. 2:19

Not only did God call us, setting us apart to Himself, but He also regenerated us (1 Pet. 1:3), that we might be born of God to be the children of God possessing the life of God (John 1:12-13).

By such a divine birth (John 3:3), we have been born again into the kingdom of God, the kingdom of the heavens. Such a birth caused us to become the members of the church as God’s family, the household of God (Eph. 2:19). I am so glad that one day God called me, infusing me with the faith to believe into His Son, Jesus Christ. What’s even more wonderful is that He didn’t stop there; He then regenerated me with His eternal, divine life to make me apart of His heavenly family, the church. What a blessing!

An entity of life, an organism—Eph. 1:23

The church, however, is not just God’s called-out congregation, or His family. It is something even more mysterious. It is a spiritual organism, the Body of Christ. Such an organism possesses God’s life and person. In Ephesians 4:3-6, Paul exhorts the believers to keep the oneness, based on seven “ones”–one Body, one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism and one God.

The Church as the Body can be kept in oneness because its essence is of such a Triune God of oneness. The Triune God is one and He is the very life and person of this organism. It is by our experiencing and enjoying Him as the essence of this organism that we are kept in oneness.

Expressed as local churches—Rev. 1:11

Yet, such a divine organism needs a practical expression on the earth today. The one universal Body of Christ is expressed as the many local churches on the ground of oneness (Rev. 1:11). This ground is the oneness of the Body of Christ (Eph. 4:3-6).

To call oneself a local church in a certain place is not something exclusive. It is not to say that we are the church in a certain city and others are not. Simply, it is to be a genuine expression of the one Body in that city. For that to be a reality, the believers in any place must care not only for the oneness among themselves, locally, but must also care for the oneness of the Body universally, remaining in the universal fellowship with all the local churches all over the earth.

Standing on the ground of oneness—Eph. 4:3-6

As believers in Christ, we have all been baptized in one Spirit into Christ’s one Body (1 Cor. 12:13). As such, we possess the seven precious elements of oneness. We are equipped to keep the oneness by enjoying the Triune God of oneness, who is now been consummated as the Spirit (Eph. 4:3; 1 Cor. 12:13).

We need to continually drink this one Spirit, to be saturated with Him as the essence of oneness. Then we should go on to carry out the awesome responsibility and commission to stand on the ground of oneness as a unique testimony of the Body of Christ and to live the practical church life.

Developing any Biblical truth according to these four crucial elements

From my labor on these past four posts—“Christ our Life,” “The Spirit our Bountiful Supply,” “What is eternal life?” and now “The Church on the Ground of Oneness,” I am impressed with the importance of developing any biblical truth in the way of Christ, the Spirit, life and the church.

Without the content of these four crucial elements, any message is just an empty shell. So, as those who love the Lord, His word, His purpose and His church, we must be careful to develop any truth under the governing vision of Christ, the Spirit, life and the church. This will surely please the Lord, cut straight His word, fulfill His purpose and build His church.

This post was inspired from my digestion of The Holy Word for Morning Revival, The Crucial Elements of the Bible, Week 1 – Days 5 and 6, pp. 14-18

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!

7 Replies

  1. A good summary on the genuine ground of the church. Two things that stuck with me:

    “…the believers in any place must care not only for the oneness among themselves, locally, but must also care for the oneness of the Body universally, remaining in the universal fellowship with all the local churches all over the earth.”

    There’s two components to that expression of oneness: local and universal. We need both to be on the genuine ground. Awesome.

    “…continually drink this one Spirit”

    Stuff happens. Even between family members, even between God’s family members. But to keep standing on the ground of oneness, I need to keep drinking the one Spirit and encourage others to do the same. Thanks for the reminder!

    1. Clark,

      In this message I was also impressed with two points about the church on the ground of oneness. First, as you said, is that the ground of the church is not just one church in one city, but the oneness of the Body of Christ. It may be somewhat easier to see according to the New Testament verses (e.g., Acts 8:1; 13:1; 14:23; Tit. 1:5; Rev. 1:11) that there should just be one church in a city, under one administration. However, to see that our being the proper testimony of the church, that is, of the one Body, depends on our being properly related to entire Body of Christ is something higher. May the Lord enlighten us to this reality that we would live in the blending life of the entire Body of Christ.

      Second, as you also mentioned, I was touched with the intrinsic matter, that keeping the oneness is not a matter of human agreement, just being flexible, and accommodating. Rather, our oneness is actually just the Triune God of oneness Himself (John 17:21; Eph. 4:3-6). When we are enjoying the Spirit, who is the consummation of the Triune God of oneness we are spontaneously keeping the oneness (v. 3).

      Much grace to you,

      Tom

  2. Amen, brother Tom, and Amen Russel. Today at the Table Meeting I realized how much we need to see the truth concerning the church – this truth of the church on the ground of oneness will uplift our enjoyment and experience of Christ in the church! If we are OK with just a natural understanding and appreciation of the church, we miss a lot!

    Thank you brother for your sharing / review.

    1. Stefan,

      Thank you for your encouragement to blog in a a way of fellowship. As we share what we have enjoyed–“speaking (or blogging) truth” (Eph. 4:25), we are participating in the building up of the Body of Christ. Don’t you sense that through such a fellowship, the one Body all over the earth is becoming more our reality? I’m so glad to have had the chance to visit you there in Baarlo and feel that my heart for the Lord’s move is being enlarged. May we not be narrow to just see what the Lord is doing in our place but what He desires to do over the earth! “Lord, gain such an expression of the church on the ground of oneness that You can come back for!”

  3. Beatriz

    Some time ago I was considering the fact that all the believers, including those in Christianity, that live in my city are part of the church.
    (In position, they are the church; but not yet in reality.)
    They have to come and meet in oneness so that together the Lord will transform us and build us as the local expression of His Body.
    Can you share some light on this?

    1. Dear Beatriz,

      Thank you for your encouraging comments.

      Regarding your question, let me say the following. As we put forth the truth in our posts, we must have s broad heart desiring that all the Lord’s children would be fed with the rich supply that Lord has given us. The Lord has given us these truths not only for ourselves, but so that we may share them with both the Christians and unbelievers.

      However, we have to say that the Lord does have His goal. That goal is the building up of the Body of Christ on the ground of oneness, a goal that consummates in the bride of Christ (Rev. 19:7), the New Jerusalem which will be the wife of the Lamb for eternity (Rev. 21:9).

      We should make no effort to proselytize people, that is, to convince them to meet with us. However, by presenting the pure revelation from the Lord’s word, we leave the matter of where they meet to the leading of the Holy Spirit. This is to honor the Lord as the Head of every man. The Lord’s desire for the expression of the one Body on the ground of oneness is absolutely clear. However, the application to others must be according to the Lord’s shepherding each one inwardly, without any condemning or condescending attitude.

      Much grace in Him,

      Tom

      1. Beatriz

        Thank you. Amen.

        But why the Lord Spirit will lead believers to meet in division?

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