I. The Local Churches
Witness Lee opens his discussion by explaining why there is the need of the local church:
In the local aspect the church is expressed in many localities as many local churches. The one universal church expressed in many places on earth becomes the many local churches. The expression of the church in a locality is the local church in that particular locality.
The universal church as the Body of Christ is expressed through the local churches. The local churches, as the expressions of the one Body of Christ, are locally one. Without the local churches there would be no practicality and actuality of the universal church. The universal church is realized in the local churches. Knowing the church universally must be consummated in knowing the church locally. It is a great advance for us to know and practice the local churches.
Only in the local church can the church be practical. Only in the local church and by the local church can we have the practice of the church. If we do not have the local church, we do not have anything practical as far as the church is concerned. Eventually, the Bible ends with seven local churches (Rev. 1:10-13).
As believers, we are living today in the local churches. Actually, we cannot live directly in the universal church. It is impossible for us to live in the universal church without living in a local church. The Lord is building up the universal church, and each one of us is living practically in a local church.
The universal church as the Body of Christ needs to have its expression. If we talk about the church without having the expression of the church, our talk is entirely theoretical; it is not practical. For the church to be real and practical, there is the need of the local churches. If you do not have the local churches, you do not have the church. It you do not have the local church, you cannot have the universal church, for the universal church is composed of all the local churches. (2149-2150)
In these paragraphs, Witness Lee explains that while the church is universal, the way in which this universal church is expressed on the earth is through local churches in cities throughout the earth. Without the local churches, the universal church is merely theoretical. The local church makes the universal church real and practical to the believers.
The Local Churches |
In Matthew 18:17
In Acts and the epistles |
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