Oneness, Nature, Life, & Essence of the Local ChurchOneness, Nature, Life, & Essence of the Local Church

Additional Quotes about the Local Church by Witness Lee and Watchman Nee

The Church of God includes a vast number of believers, living at different times, and scattered in different places throughout the earth. How has it come about that all have been united into one universal Church? With such differences in age, social position, education, background, outlook, and temperament, how could all these people become one church? What is the secret of the oneness of the saints? By what means has Christianity caused these people, with their thousand differences, to become truly one? It is not that, having a grand convention and agreeing to be one, Christians become united. Christian unity is no human product; its origin is purely divine. This mighty mysterious oneness is planted in the hearts of all believers the moment they receive the Lord. It is “the oneness of the Spirit” (Eph. 4:3).
The Spirit who dwells in the heart of every believer is one Spirit; therefore, He makes all those in whom He dwells to be one, even as He Himself is one. Christians may differ from one another in innumerable ways, but all Christians of all ages, with their countless differences, have this one fundamental likeness—the Spirit of God dwells in every one of them. This is the secret of the oneness of believers, and this is the secret of their separation from the world. The reason for Christian unity and for Christian separation is one.
It is this inherent unity that makes all believers one, and it is this inherent unity that accounts for the impossibility of division between believers, except for geographical reasons. Those who do not have this are outsiders; those who have it are our brethren. If you have the Spirit of Christ and I have the Spirit of Christ, then we both belong to the same Church. There is no need to be united; we are united by the one Spirit who dwells in us both. Paul besought all believers to endeavor “to keep the oneness of the Spirit” (Eph. 4:3); he did not exhort us to have the oneness, but merely to keep it. We have it already, for obviously we cannot keep what we do not have. God has never told us to become one with other believers; we already are one. Therefore, we do not need to create oneness; we only need to maintain it.

(Watchman Nee, Collected Works, Set 2, Vol. 30, 76-77)

The many sons of the Triune God are His increase. Thus, the oneness of the Triune God has also been increased to include His sons, the members of His Body.
At one time this oneness was only among the three divine persons of the Godhead, but now it has gotten into millions of believers. These millions of believers, the many sons of God, are the corporate Body of Christ. Millions and millions of believers are incorporated in this corporate Body. Now we can see how great this oneness is.
In the local churches, we have believers from every continent and of all races, of all colors. Instead of quarreling, we are singing together and praising together. How wonderful this oneness is among us! But the oneness we enjoy is just a miniature of the great universal oneness of the entire universal Body of Christ. This oneness was merely among the three of the Godhead in eternity past. Now it has been expanded, enlarged, and increased to include the millions and millions of sons of God who are the members of the great universal Body of Christ. We are now testifying of this oneness.

(Witness Lee, Intrinsic View, 84-85)

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