Message Eight: The Local Ground of the Church
  • 2015-11-01,
  • 上傳者: 洪國恩,
  •  0
Scripture Reading: Matt. 16:18; 18:17; Acts 8:1; 13:1; 1 Cor. 1:2; Rev. 1:11
I. The ground of the church is the key to knowing the church in today's chaotic situation; in order to know the church, we must recognize the ground of the church—Matt. 16:18; 18:17.
II. We need to know the difference between the ground of the church and the foundation of the church—1 Cor. 1:2; 3:10:

A. The foundation is the lowest part of a building; the ground is the base, the site, where the building is placed.
B. Since the church is the dwelling place of God, the building of God, it needs not only a foundation but also a ground, a site; this site is the locality in which the church is established—1:2; Rev. 1:11.
III. The ground is much more important to a local church than its condition—1 Cor. 1:2, 11-13:
A. Condition is relative and may change, but the ground is absolute and cannot be altered.
B. The assessment of a church should never be based on its spiritual condition but on its ground.
C. Whether a church is proper, or genuine, does not depend on the condition of the church but on the ground of the church.

IV. The local ground of the church is basically the unique oneness of the Body of Christ practiced in the local churches—Eph. 4:4; 1 Cor. 1:2; 12:27:
A. Both the universal Body of Christ and the local churches are uniquely one.
B. The Body is universal, and this universal Body has only one expression in a city; thus, there should be only one church in a city—Rev. 1:11; Acts 8:1; 13:1.
C. There is one unique Body of Christ in the universe, and there is one unique local church in each locality; this unique oneness is the basic element of the church life:
1. The organic Body is undivided and indivisible; this unique Body is expressed in many local churches in the divine oneness as it is with the Triune God and in the divine nature, element, essence, expression, function, and testimony—Rev. 1:11; John 17:11, 21, 23.
2. There are many local churches, yet they all have one divine nature, one divine element, one divine essence, one divine expression, one divine function, and one divine testimony because they are one Body—Rev. 1:11-12, 20.
V. According to the divine revelation in the New Testament, the church ground is constituted of three crucial elements:
A. The first element of the constitution of the church ground is the unique oneness of the universal Body of Christ, which is called "the oneness of the Spirit" (Eph. 4:3)—the oneness for which the Lord prayed in John 17:
1. Since the oneness of the Body of Christ is the oneness of the Spirit, the oneness practiced in a local church must be in the move of the Spirit and under the government of the Spirit.
2. The church ground on which a local church is built must be constituted with and prevail in the oneness executed by the Spirit.
B. The second element of the church ground is the unique ground of the locality in which a local church is established and exists—Rev. 1:11; Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5:
1. In the New Testament the proper ground of oneness ordained by God is the unique ground of one church for one locality—Rev. 1:11.
2. The New Testament presents a clear picture that all the local churches—as the expression of the universal church, the universal Body of Christ—are located in their respective cities—Acts 8:1; 13:1; Rom. 16:1; 1 Cor. 1:2; Rev. 1:4, 11:
a. The churches are established in different cities by taking a city as the boundary and ground of each local church.
b. The sphere and limit of a local church must be exactly the same as that of the city in which it is located—v. 11; Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5.
3. The church is constituted of the universal God, but it exists on earth in many localities; in nature the church is universal in God, but in practice the church is local in a definite place, such as "the church of God which is in Corinth"—1 Cor. 1:2.
C. The third element of the church ground is the reality of the Spirit of oneness, that is, the reality of the Spirit, who is the living reality of the Divine Trinity—1 John 5:6; John 16:13:
1. It is by this Spirit that the oneness of the Body of Christ becomes real and living.
2. It is by this Spirit that the ground of locality is applied in life and not in legality.
3. It is by this Spirit that the genuine ground of the church is linked with the Triune God—Eph. 4:3-6.
VI. We need to see that the ground of the church, the genuine ground of oneness, is intrinsically related to life—Psa. 133:1, 3; 36:8-9:
A. The eternal life of God is commanded by God as a blessing to those who dwell together in oneness in the church life—John 3:16; Eph. 4:18; Psa. 133:1, 3.
B. Life is the essence of oneness; without life, there can be no oneness—John 10:10b, 16b.
C. The oneness in God's economy, the great oneness revealed in entirety in the Scriptures, can be preserved only by life.
D. The only way that oneness can be maintained is by life, in life, and with life—Rom. 8:2, 6, 10-11; 12:4-5; 15:6.
VII. In the Lord's recovery, we take the lead to stand on the unique ground of the church, the genuine ground of oneness—Matt. 16:18; 18:17:
A. First Corinthians 1:2 speaks of the church at Corinth—this shows the locality of Corinth for the existence, expression, and practice of the church; such a locality becomes the local ground of the local churches on which they are built respectively; thus, the church in Corinth was built on the ground of the city of Corinth.
B. The practice of the church life in the early days was the practice of having one church for one city, one city with only one church; in no city was there more than one church—Acts 8:1; 13:1; Rev. 1:11:
1. This is the local church with the city, not the street or area, as the unit.
2. The jurisdiction of a local church should cover the whole city in which the church is located; it should not be greater or lesser than the boundary of the city.
3. All the believers within that boundary should constitute the one unique local church within that city.
C. We need to realize that the church today must be in oneness and must be built on the ground of oneness—Eph. 4:3; 1 Cor. 1:2:
1. The genuine oneness is the ground of the church.
2. May the Lord grant us more light concerning this precious oneness.
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2015-11-01 12:57:00
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