Message Two: The Church as the Organic Body of Christ— the Fullness of the One Who Fills All in All
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Scripture Reading: Eph. 1:4-14, 19-23
Eph 1:4          Even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish before Him in love,
Eph 1:5          Predestinating us unto sonship through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
Eph 1:6          To the praise of the glory of His grace, with which He graced us in the Beloved;
Eph 1:7          In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of offenses, according to the riches of His grace,
Eph 1:8          Which He caused to abound to us in all wisdom and prudence,
Eph 1:9          Making known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself,
Eph 1:10        Unto the economy of the fullness of the times, to head up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth, in Him;
Eph 1:11        In whom also we were designated as an inheritance, having been predestinated according to the purpose of the One who works all things according to the counsel of His will,
Eph 1:12        That we would be to the praise of His glory who have first hoped in Christ,
Eph 1:13        In whom you also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, in Him also believing, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise,
Eph 1:14        Who is the pledge of our inheritance unto the redemption of the acquired possession, to the praise of His glory.
Eph 1:19        And what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the operation of the might of His strength,
Eph 1:20        Which He caused to operate in Christ in raising Him from the dead and seating Him at His right hand in the heavenlies,
Eph 1:21        Far above all rule and authority and power and lordship and every name that is named not only in this age but also in that which is to come;
Eph 1:22        And He subjected all things under His feet and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church,
Eph 1:23        Which is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all.
 
 
I.     The church as the Body of Christ is absolutely organic, absolutely of life, with nothing organizational:
A.     The elders in the churches are appointed according to the manifestation of the measure of their growth in the divine life; the appointment of the elders is organic, having nothing to do with organization—Acts 14:23; cf. Titus 1:5.
Acts 14:23     And when they had appointed elders for them in every church and had prayed with fastings, they committed them to the Lord into whom they had believed.
Titus 1:5         For this cause I left you in Crete, that you might set in order the things which I have begun that remain and appoint elders in every city, as I directed you:
B.     To even mention the word organization concerning the church and the church life is wrong; the apostle Paul tells us that the church is God’s farm, God’s cultivated land—1 Cor. 3:9.
1 Cor 3:9        For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's cultivated land, God's building.
C.     The church as God’s building is not a lifeless building but a building full of life—v. 9; Eph. 2:21-22.
1 Cor 3:9        For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's cultivated land, God's building.
Eph 2:21        In whom all the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord;
Eph 2:22        In whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit.
 
II.   The church as the organic Body of Christ is Christ’s fullness, His expression, as the One who fills all in all—1:22-23:
Eph 1:22        And He subjected all things under His feet and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church,
Eph 1:23        Which is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all.
A.     The fullness of Christ issues from the enjoyment of the riches of Christ (3:8); through the enjoyment of Christ’s riches we become His fullness to express Him.
Eph 3:8          To me, less than the least of all saints, was this grace given to announce to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel
B.     Christ, who is the infinite God without any limitation, is so great that He fills all things in all things; such a great Christ needs the church to be His fullness for His complete expression.
 
III.  The church as the organic Body of Christ, the fullness of the One who fills all in all, is the issue of the dispensing of the Divine Trinity—1:4-14:
Eph 1:4          Even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish before Him in love,
Eph 1:5          Predestinating us unto sonship through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
Eph 1:6          To the praise of the glory of His grace, with which He graced us in the Beloved;
Eph 1:7          In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of offenses, according to the riches of His grace,
Eph 1:8          Which He caused to abound to us in all wisdom and prudence,
Eph 1:9          Making known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself,
Eph 1:10        Unto the economy of the fullness of the times, to head up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth, in Him;
Eph 1:11        In whom also we were designated as an inheritance, having been predestinated according to the purpose of the One who works all things according to the counsel of His will,
Eph 1:12        That we would be to the praise of His glory who have first hoped in Christ,
Eph 1:13        In whom you also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, in Him also believing, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise,
Eph 1:14        Who is the pledge of our inheritance unto the redemption of the acquired possession, to the praise of His glory.
A.     The church as the organic Body of Christ is the issue of God the Father’s dispensing, speaking forth God’s eternal purpose:
1.      We were chosen by God the Father to be holy—v. 4:
Eph 1:4          Even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish before Him in love,
a.      This is for us to partake of God the Father’s holy nature to be made the same as God in nature—2 Pet. 1:4; Rom. 15:16; cf. Rev. 21:2.
2 Pet 1:4        Through which He has granted to us precious and exceedingly great promises that through these you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption which is in the world by lust.
Rom 15:16     That I might be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, a laboring priest of the gospel of God, in order that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, having been sanctified in the Holy Spirit.
Rev 21:2        And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
b.      This is to be sanctified, separated from all things as God is and saturated with God—cf. Rom. 15:16; Rev. 21:2:
Rom 15:16     That I might be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, a laboring priest of the gospel of God, in order that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, having been sanctified in the Holy Spirit.
Rev 21:2        And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
 (1)   We need to love God and not love the world (1 John 2:15), being separated from the world by God’s word of truth (John 17:14-19; Eph. 5:26) and not being fashioned according to this age (Rom. 12:2).
1 John 2:15    Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him;
John 17:14     I have given them Your word, and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world even as I am not of the world.
John 17:15     I do not ask that You would take them out of the world, but that You would keep them out of the hands of the evil one.
John 17:16     They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
John 17:17     Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.
John 17:18     As you have sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.
John 17:19     And for their sake I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.
Eph 5:26        That He might sanctify her, cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word,
Rom 12:2       And do not be fashioned according to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect.
(2)     We need to present ourselves to God to be saturated by God with the element of His holy nature (6:19) unto eternal life (v. 22) to be renewed by the Spirit for our transformation into the image of Christ (Titus 3:5b; Rom. 12:2b; 2 Cor. 3:18).
Rom 6:19       I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to uncleanness and lawlessness unto lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness unto sanctification.
Rom 6:22       But now, having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end, eternal life.
Titus 3:5b       … but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit,
Rom 12:2b     … but be transformed by the renewing of the mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect.
2 Cor 3:18      But we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.
2.      We were predestinated by God the Father unto sonship—Eph. 1:5:
Eph 1:5          Predestinating us unto sonship through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
a.      This is to have God the Father’s life (John 3:16), being made God’s children, the same as God in life by being born of God after God’s kind through regeneration (1:12-13; 1 Pet. 1:3).
John 3:16       For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that everyone who believes into Him would not perish, but would have eternal life.
John 1:12       But as many as received Him, to them He gave the authority to become children of God, to those who believe into His name,
John 1:13       Who were begotten not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
1 Pet 1:3        Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has regenerated us unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
b.      This is for our being “sonized” with God the Father’s life in our entire tripartite being—1 John 5:11-12; Rom. 8:10, 6, 11; 1 John 3:2.
1 John 5:11    And this is the testimony, that God gave to us eternal life and this life is in His Son.
1 John 5:12    He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.
Rom 8:10       But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is life because of righteousness.
Rom 8:6         For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.
Rom 8:11       And if the Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.
1 John 3:2      Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not yet been manifested what we will be. We know that if He is manifested, we will be like Him because we will see Him even as He is.
3.      God the Father chose us to be holy by predestinating us unto sonship—Eph. 1:4-5:
Eph 1:4          Even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish before Him in love,
Eph 1:5          Predestinating us unto sonship through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
a.      This is the divine sanctification for the divine sonship as the center of the divine economy and the central thought of the revelation in the New Testament—Heb. 2:10-11; 1 Thes. 5:23; Rev. 21:2, 7.
Heb 2:10        For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and through whom are all things, in leading many sons into glory, to make the Author of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
Heb 2:11        For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of One, for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brothers,
1 Thes 5:23    And the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly, and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rev 21:2        And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Rev 21:7        He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be God to him, and he will be a son to Me.
b.      In order to be sanctified for sonship, we must care for the sanctifying Spirit’s speaking and working in our spirit—Rom. 8:4, 6; 15:16.
Rom 8:4         That the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the spirit.
Rom 8:6         For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.
Rom 15:16     That I might be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, a laboring priest of the gospel of God, in order that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, having been sanctified in the Holy Spirit.
B.     The church as the organic Body of Christ is the issue of God the Son’s dispensing, speaking forth the accomplishment of God’s eternal purpose—Eph. 1:7-12:
Eph 1:7          In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of offenses, according to the riches of His grace,
Eph 1:8          Which He caused to abound to us in all wisdom and prudence,
Eph 1:9          Making known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself,
Eph 1:10        Unto the economy of the fullness of the times, to head up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth, in Him;
Eph 1:11        In whom also we were designated as an inheritance, having been predestinated according to the purpose of the One who works all things according to the counsel of His will,
Eph 1:12        That we would be to the praise of His glory who have first hoped in Christ,
1.      We were redeemed by God in and unto Christ, who is the element of the Divine Trinity; Christ’s being the element means that He is for dispensing to accomplish God’s economy to head up all things in Christ—vv. 7, 10.
Eph 1:7          In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of offenses, according to the riches of His grace,
Eph 1:10        Unto the economy of the fullness of the times, to head up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth, in Him;
2.      This heading up takes place by Him, as the element of the entire Divine Trinity, dispensing Himself into us for the building up of His Body; when the Body is built up, Christ is the Head in actuality—vv. 10, 22-23.
Eph 1:10        Unto the economy of the fullness of the times, to head up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth, in Him;
Eph 1:22        And He subjected all things under His feet and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church,
Eph 1:23        Which is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all.
3.      The Son’s dispensing in His redemption transforms God’s chosen people with Christ as the element of life into a treasure for them to become God’s inheritance, His private and personal possession—v. 11.
Eph 1:11        In whom also we were designated as an inheritance, having been predestinated according to the purpose of the One who works all things according to the counsel of His will,
C.     The church as the organic Body of Christ is the issue of God the Spirit’s dispensing, speaking forth the application of God’s accomplished purpose—vv. 13-14:
Eph 1:13        In whom you also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, in Him also believing, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise,
Eph 1:14        Who is the pledge of our inheritance unto the redemption of the acquired possession, to the praise of His glory.
1.      The Spirit’s sealing saturates us continuously unto the redemption of our body—v. 13; 4:30:
Eph 1:13        In whom you also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, in Him also believing, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise,
Eph 4:30        And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed unto the day of redemption.
a.      This sealing transforms us into a treasure to God as His inheritance—1:18; cf. 2 Cor. 4:7; Eph. 3:8.
Eph 1:18        The eyes of your heart having been enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
2 Cor 4:7        But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God and not out of us.
Eph 3:8          To me, less than the least of all saints, was this grace given to announce to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel
b.      The more we are sealed, the more we bear the image of God—2 Cor. 3:18b; Col. 3:10; cf. 2 Cor. 3:3.
2 Cor 3:18b    … are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.
Col 3:10         And have put on the new man, which is being renewed unto full knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,
2 Cor 3:3        Since you are being manifested that you are a letter of Christ ministered by us, inscribed not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tablets of stone but in tablets of hearts of flesh.
2.      The Spirit’s pledging guarantees that God is our inheritance—Eph. 1:14:
Eph 1:14        Who is the pledge of our inheritance unto the redemption of the acquired possession, to the praise of His glory.
a.      The Spirit is the pledge, the foretaste, the sample, of what we will inherit of God in full—1 Pet. 2:3; Psa. 34:8.
1 Pet 2:3        If you have tasted that the Lord is good.
Psa 34:8        Taste and see that Jehovah is good; / Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.
b.      This pledging is unto the redemption of our body as God’s acquired possession—Rom. 8:23.
Rom 8:23       And not only so, but we ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan in ourselves, eagerly awaiting sonship, the redemption of our body.
 
IV.  The dispensing of the Divine Trinity to produce the church as the organic Body of Christ, the fullness of the One who fills all in all, is accomplished by the transmission of the great power of God “toward us who believe” and “to the church”—Eph. 1:19-23:
Eph 1:19        And what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the operation of the might of His strength,
Eph 1:20        Which He caused to operate in Christ in raising Him from the dead and seating Him at His right hand in the heavenlies,
Eph 1:21        Far above all rule and authority and power and lordship and every name that is named not only in this age but also in that which is to come;
Eph 1:22        And He subjected all things under His feet and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church,
Eph 1:23        Which is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all.
A.     Paul prayed that we would have a spirit of wisdom and revelation to see the fourfold surpassing greatness of God’s power—resurrecting power, ascending power, subjecting power, and heading-up power—v. 17:
Eph 1:17        That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of Him,
1.      Christ overcame four layers of opposition by transcending through Hades, the earth, the air, and even the third heaven—Matt. 16:18; Acts 2:23-24; Eph. 1:21; Heb. 4:14; 7:26.
Matt 16:18      And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
Acts 2:23       This man, delivered up by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you, through the hand of lawless men, nailed to a cross and killed;
Acts 2:24       Whom God has raised up, having loosed the pangs of death, since it was not possible for Him to be held by it.
Eph 1:21        Far above all rule and authority and power and lordship and every name that is named not only in this age but also in that which is to come;
Heb 4:14        Having therefore a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast the confession.
Heb 7:26        For such a High Priest was also fitting to us, holy, guileless, undefiled, separated from sinners and having become higher than the heavens,
2.      Christ transcended far above all the layers of trouble to transmit not only His authority but also His transcending power to the church so that the church may be formed—Eph. 1:19, 22-23.
Eph 1:19        And what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the operation of the might of His strength,
Eph 1:22        And He subjected all things under His feet and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church,
Eph 1:23        Which is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all.
B.     Toward us who believe (v. 19) and to the church (v. 22) indicate that the divine power, which includes all that the Triune God has passed through, has been installed into us once for all and is being transmitted into us continually, causing us to enjoy Christ richly and to have the proper church life as His organic Body, His fullness.
Eph 1:19        And what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the operation of the might of His strength,
Eph 1:22        And He subjected all things under His feet and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church,
 
 
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