The third great pillar in the Lord’s recovery is the church as the kingdom of God. When we consider the church, we must understand it in light of its being the kingdom of God, for without the reality of the kingdom, the church cannot be built up. With the kingdom, three particular points are crucial: rights, responsibilities, and ruling. As citizens of the kingdom of God, we have rights. Hallelujah, we have the right to take of the tree of life and enter into the holy city simply by washing our robes (Rev. 22:14)! We also have responsibilities in the church as the kingdom of God such as being faithful with what the Lord has given us (Luke 19:11-27) and preaching the gospel of the kingdom to the whole inhabited earth (Matt. 24:14). But perhaps most important item is the rule of God in the kingdom. If we desire to build up the church as the kingdom of God, we must be under the direct rule of God. The first thought in the kingdom is that we are under the direct rule of God in life; then we are able to submit to the other members of the Body. Fortunately, God’s kingdom is a kingdom of life, not merely of outward rule and authority, and in this kingdom of the Son of His love, submission to Him as the Head and King is pleasant, enjoyable, and peaceful as He rules in love and with life (Col. 1:13). If we understand the truth of the church as the kingdom of God—a realm of life wherein God exercises His authority to accomplish His intention—and we receive the kingdom life to live the life of the kingdom, then we can be blent in oneness with the other saints to be built up as the church.
For this great pillar in the Lord’s recovery, the Lord has given us the subjective keys of the kingdom to lock up the gates of Hades, which may enter the church life through our self in order to frustrate the building (Matt. 16:16-28). These three subjective keys that we need to exercise are denying the self, taking up the cross, and losing the soul-life (vv. 24-25). There are many aspects of the self that frustrate the building of the church, but most basic problem with the self is that it prevents us from being one with others. Without the oneness, there can be no building. Therefore, we must deny the self by exercising our spirit to know Christ and the power of His resurrection (Phil. 3:10); we must take up the cross by accepting God’s will—the saints with whom He has placed us and our environment; and we must lose the soul-life by enjoying the Lord and being satisfied with Him. If we exercise these keys, we can be one with the saints in the church and live in the reality of the kingdom of God for the building up of the Body.
The third great pillar is dependent on the first two pillars—truth and life. We need to get into the truth of the church as the kingdom of God and understand our rights, responsibilities, and the rule of God in the church. And we need to receive and live the life of the kingdom that enables us to be one with other saints under God’s ruling. Then the church as the pillar and base of the truth and the realm in which God rules by His divine life will be built up for the accomplishment of God’s eternal purpose. May we enjoy the Lord to the extent that He can have His kingdom in the church life in the Lord’s recovery today.