"The Church is the vessel chosen by God to manifest His Son, Jesus Christ, and to achieve His eternal purpose. It is the sphere in which God exercises His authority on earth in the midst of the polluted universe. He has a sphere of purity for His own abode. It is nothing of man and everything of God.
The body of Christ has three basic principles: first, unless it comes out of Christ, it is not the body of Christ; second, unless there is the work of the Holy Spirit, it is not the body of Christ; third, unless there is obedience of the body to the Head, it is not the Church. (Obedience, which was originally designed for the world, is now strictly required of the Church.)
If the church is to become a real Church, two steps are necessary: the increase of Christ and the consuming of ourselves. God must bring us to the place that we do not want anything that is not from the Lord. If the Lord is not moving, then we will not dare move.
Repentance does not make us part of the Church; neither does our confession of sins nor our faith. Only the life which Christ has imparted to us makes us part of the Church ...therefore there is a need for us to live, behave, and act according to this life of Christ ...if we act according to ourselves, we are outside the Church... if we are work according to ourselves, we are not doing the Lord's work. It is all about the source. If it isn't out of Christ, it isn't the Church. If it has another Lord than Jesus, it isn't the Church."
"What a foundation we stand on now; the apostles and the prophets; and the cornerstone of the building is Jesus Christ Himself! We who believe are carefully joined together with Christ as parts of a beautiful, constantly growing temple for God. And you also are joined with Him and with each other by the Spirit, and are part of this dwelling."
A Personal Note (continued):
"The mystery is great; but I am speaking of Christ and the Church."
Who can know it! What is most obvious is that, like so much about what we have in Christ, the Church as a reality can only be seen and understood with the help of the Holy Spirit.
But this I know: "Once we 'see' the reality of the Church ... we shall recognize the Church is operating when we encounter it anywhere, be it even in a group of two or three believers. If they themselves are truly subject to the Head in all things, and if they are making much, not of themselves or of the Church, but of Christ, then the Spirit of God will always bear witness to them."