During most of my Christian life the "church" (the local church and the mystic church) were melded into one entity which I labeled, "the Body of Christ."
Then as I was working on Handbook 2 God began to rightly divide His Word concerning the church, the Body of Christ, and I gained a little insight. (Handbook 2, Article 12)
And now on my personal journey the following Scripture has become real to me.
"...the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal: the Lord knows who are His..."
2 Timothy 2:10
Now I see the reality of the Church. The Body of Christ is:
And as I read the words of Watchman Nee I recognized that God had instructed him many years ago.
"We need to revise our thinking about the Church. It is not an organization to be planned, nor is it just a company of people to be completed. It is not a concept to be grasped, nor an ideal to be attained... The church comes out of Christ; without Him, the church has no position, no life, no living, no existence... Like so much else that is ours in Christ, the Church is a reality to be seen with the help of the Holy Spirit through the Word.
The Church is the heavenly Body of Christ. To discover this is to have one's life revolutionized... Heaven is not a place that the Church will reach at some future date. The Church is there, and never was anywhere else. Heaven is both the origin and the abode of the Church, and not her destination. And since the Church has never known any other sphere but heaven, the question of striving to reach heaven can never arise for her.
And when we see the reality of the Church... then we shall recognize the Church in operation when we encounter it anywhere, be it even in a small group of believers..."
Watchman Nee continues, bringing it to a personal level:
"If you have been brought into the eternal reality of the Church, the day may well come when you yourself are called to speak and act for the whole Church... A movement on the part of any one member of the Body who is truly subject to the Spirit of Christ is a movement of the whole. The life of such a one in that hour transcends all externalities, for men recognize that God is moving through that member. The implications of all this are very great. We have no business to view things materialistically or intellectually -- that is, through the eyes of 'denominations or reformations' but only from the standpoint of God. God sees 'seven golden lampstands.' (And Jesus standing in the midst of the lampstands. Revelation 1) He knows only 'the Church,' and when we permit the Spirit of Truth to lead us into the spiritual truth of the Church, we shall see only the Church that God sees."
And I jotted down these words: The church will not be raised up or rebuilt on earth. The church age is over. But the gathering continues!
"...and you will be gathered one by one."
The Church in eternity!
"You have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem... And to the general assembly and the church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven..."
Hebrews 12:22, 23
"And when we see the reality of the Church... then we shall recognize the Church in operation when we encounter it anywhere..."
"Be strong and courageous and act; do not fear or be dismayed for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished."
1 Chronicles 28:20