Week 1 – Day 4

1 Cor. 12:28 And God has placed some in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then works of power, then gifts of healing, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.

Eph. 4:3-6 Being diligent to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace: one Body and one Spirit, even as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all…

First, God placed the apostles, who are universal in function [1 Cor. 12:28]. Second, He placed the prophets, who are not just universal in function, because prophets were a part of the church in Antioch (Acts 13:1). Third, He placed teachers, who were also present locally in Antioch (v. 1). Helps refers to the serving ones, the deacons, who help the saints in a local church, and administrations refers to the management of the elders in a local church [1 Cor. 12:28]…. Paul puts apostles (who are universal), prophets and teachers (who are both universal and local), and deacons and elders (who are local) all together.

In the eyes of God, the universal church and all the local churches are just “the church.” The processed and now-dispensing Triune God is one, and He is the very essence of the church. Therefore, this church, in both its universal and local aspects, is one church. When we come back to the intrinsic essence of the church, we will not talk wrongly about the differences of the churches. All the churches are the unique, one organism of the processed and dispensing Triune God. (CWWL, 1989, vol. 4, “The Organic Building Up of the Church as the Body of Christ to Be the Organism of the Processed and Dispensing Triune God,” pp. 275-276)

Today’s Reading

[The] oneness in seven aspects: teaching, practice, thinking, speaking, essence, appearance, and expression… [is] not a doctrinal oneness but a oneness in our practice. There are another seven items concerning our oneness in doctrine: one God, one Lord, one Spirit, one church, one recovery, one testimony, and one work. The first three “ones” are the Triune God. Nearly all of us would agree with the seven aspects of oneness on the doctrinal side….We have to admit to there being one God, one Lord, one Spirit, one church, one testimony, and one recovery. Also, it is impossible for us to have more than one work.

We do have problems concerning the sevenfoldness of the practical oneness….The Bible tells us that we need to be one in teaching, practice, speaking, and even thinking. Some may feel that this is too much and that this is the controlling of people’s thinking….None of us should follow the recovery blindly, foolishly, or ignorantly. We need a sober consideration of the truth in the Bible….The recovery does not practice many speakings… [but] allows only one kind of speaking. I have a question as to whether or not we in the recovery are really one in speaking.

The last three items that we need to be one in practically are related to the golden lampstands in Revelation 1:11-12…. The pure gold is the unique substance of the lampstands. Within one substance there can be only one essence. All the lampstands should furthermore be one in appearance…. The lampstands all have one substance, which is gold, and they all have one form, one shape. The seven lampstands are identical in appearance. If you do not number them, it is impossible to tell them apart. They all look exactly the same.

The churches are different from one another in negative things, but the lampstands in Revelation 1, among whom Christ as the Head was walking, are altogether identical. They all look the same. They are uniquely one in their essence, in their appearance, in their form, and in their expression. (CWWL, 1986, vol. 1, “Elders’ Training, Book 7: One Accord for the Lord’s Move,” pp. 97-100)

Further Reading: CWWL, 1986, vol. 1, “Elders’ Training, Book 7: One Accord for the Lord’s Move,” chs. 3-4