III. As Revealed by the Apostles in Acts and the Epistles
E.All the Local Churches Being the One Unique Body of Christ in the Universe
In closing this chapter, Witness Lee reiterates that there is one universal church, the unique Body of Christ, and that every local church throughout the earth is an integral part of this one Body:
All the local churches are the one unique Body of Christ in the universe (Eph. 4:4). Every local church is a part of this universal Body, a local expression of this unique Body. This one universal church, the one Body, comprises all the local churches. There may be thousands of local churches, but together they constitute one universal church. The universal church is the unique Body of Christ, and all the local churches are simply the local expressions of this one Body.
We need to be impressed with the fact that the local churches are the local expressions of the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 2:22). There is only one Body, but there are many expressions. Universally, all the churches are one Body, and locally, every local church is a local expression of that universal Body. Therefore, a local church is not the Body but only a part of the Body, an expression of the Body.
In the New Testament we see many local churches, and together these local churches are considered one universal church, for they constitute the one Body of Christ. In Matthew 16:18 the Lord said, I will build My church. Here the church is in the singular number, indicating that it must be the universal church. But in Acts and the Epistles there are many references to the churches"the churches in Syria, the churches in Asia, the churches in Macedonia, the churches in Galatia. The Bible first refers to one church and then to many churches because the one church, the universal church, is the totality of all the churches, and all the churches are local constituents of the one universal church, the unique Body of Christ. (2156)
It is by holding to these New Testament truths concerning the local church that believers across the globe can realize and practice in actuality the oneness that they already possess in Christ. May the Lord strengthen us all to drop every old, traditional concept regarding His church and come back to the pure word of God. May we take to heart each of these principles which our brother Witness Lee so faithfully ministered and just as faithfully hold to them for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ and for the practical building up of His wonderful Body.