Additional Quotes about the Local Church by Witness Lee and Watchman Nee
It is easy for believers to see the universal church, but it is difficult for them to see the local churches. The revelation of the local churches is the Lords ultimate unveiling concerning the church. It has been given here in the last book of the divine Word. To fully know the church, believers must follow the Lord from the Gospels, through the Epistles, to the book of Revelation until they are enabled to see the local churches as unveiled here. In Revelation the first vision is concerning the churches. The churches with Christ as their center are the focus in the divine administration for the accomplishment of Gods eternal purpose.
(Witness Lee, Genuine Ground, 132)
After the church is revealed in the New Testament, the local churches are revealed. In Genesis God is revealed; in the Gospels Christ is revealed; in Acts the church is revealed; and in Revelation the local churches are revealed. Thus, the Bible goes from God to Christ, from Christ to the church, and from the church to the local churches. The local churches are the last point of Gods divine revelation. Revelation 1:11 says, What you see write in a scroll and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamos and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea. Here there are seven local churches in seven localities. I say again that this is the last point of the divine revelation in all the Scriptures.
(Witness Lee, Christ as Life, 7-8)
The second aspect of the church is the local aspect. In each locality there should be an expression of the Body of Christ (Acts 8:1; 1 Cor. 1:2; Rev. 1:11). This expression of the Body in a locality is the local church. The universal aspect of the church is revealed in the book of Ephesians, while the local aspect of the church is unfolded practically in the book of Revelation. In chapters 2 and 3 there are seven churches in seven cities, one church in each city. We all must see the one Body, and we must also see the local churches. We must see the universal aspect of the Body, and we must also see the local aspect of the church, the local churches. In every locality the church must be one as the local church.
The Bible reveals four great figures: God, Christ, the church, and the churches. The Jewish people today do not believe in Christ, but they do believe in God. Fundamental Christians not only believe in God, but they also believe in Christ. However, many Christians have no concept of the universal church. Some Christians with improved knowledge have a vision of the church as the universal Body. They have a heavenly vision, but they cannot touch it practically. I do not want merely a heavenly vision that is not practical. Praise the Lord, in the Lords recovery we have seen not only God, Christ, and the universal Body, but also the local churches.
(Witness Lee, Young People, 25-26)
THE PROGRESS OF THE DIVINE REVELATION
Gods revelation began with God Himself and continued with Christ and the Spirit until it reached its goal in the local churches. Without the local churches, we do not have the goal of the divine revelation.
The issue of the progress of the manifestation of God is the church. God is embodied in Christ, Christ is realized and experienced as the Spirit who imparts life to us, and the Spirit issues in the churches. When we experience and realize Christ as the life-giving Spirit, the issue is the church life. The church is the Body, the fullness, of Christ. The progress of this revelation is God, Christ, the Spirit, the church, and the local churches. This is the revelation of God in His holy Word.
We need to be deeply impressed with the progress of the divine revelation in the Bible. We have pointed out that in the Old Testament we have God as the Creator and as the One who loves Israel. Then in Matthew and John we read of the genealogy of Jesus Christ and of the Word becoming flesh and tabernacling among us. Furthermore, in these books we read of the church built by Christ and of the many brothers of the Son of God who are the church. In the Acts the church is established in various cities. Most of the Epistles were written to particular local churches. Finally, in the book of Revelation we see that grace and peace are imparted to the local churches from the processed Triune God.
(Witness Lee, Genuine Ground, 129-131)
When Gods people throughout the earth really see the local character of the churches, then they will appreciate their oneness in Christ as never before.
(Watchman Nee, Collected Works, Set 2, Vol. 30, 61)
In the first point, we talked about the universal church. In the second point, we are talking about the local church. An elder must have this twofold knowledge concerning Gods plan for the church. He must know the universal Church, and he must also know the local church. In other words, he must know the Church in its universal aspect, and he must know the church in its local aspect. Never consider the universal Church to be one kind of church, and the local church to be another kind of church. There is only one Church. Collectively speaking, it is the universal church, and locally speaking, it is the local churches. Strictly speaking, the local churches are the universal Church. The universal Church is simply the sum total of the local churches, and the local churches are simply the local manifestations of the universal Church. Without the local churches, there cannot be the universal Church.
(Witness Lee, Elders Management, 11-12)
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