Witness Lee

B. Childress
May 16 2011

Ephesians 5:1-32

In the previous chapter, we saw from Ephesians 4 that the church is one unique Body which is built up by the one New
Testament ministry.  To participate in this building up ministry we need to live a life that is full of God's reality and God's
grace.  Reality is God realized by us in the Son, and grace is God in the Son as our enjoyment.  We need to live a life of
reality and grace through which we can build up the Body of Christ.  To live such a life we must realize that through
baptism we have put away our old man, which is being corrupted according to the lusts of the personified deceit, Satan
himself (Ephesians 4:22), and that we have also put on the new man which according to God was created in
righteousness and holiness of the personified truth, the Triune God Himself (verse 24).  We need to be daily and
continually renewed in the spirit of the mind, the wonderful mingled spirit which fills, occupies, and directs our mind
(verse 23).  Daily and hourly we should be under this renewing, that we might be transformed to be the proper materials
for the building up of the Body of Christ.

Ephesians 4 also shows us that such a life requires that we no longer walk in vanity (verse 17) and that we give no
place to the evil one, the Devil (verse 27).  We also should never grieve the Holy Spirit, who fills us and is continuously
sealing us, making us full of the very nature of God and causing us to bear the very likeness of the One whom we love
and to whom we belong (verse 30).  Such a life is always willing to forgive others, to forget others' trespasses or
offenses toward us, just as our Father God in Christ has forgiven and forgotten our offenses (verse 32).  Such a life
qualifies us and enables us to participate in the building up of the organism of the Body of Christ.

The book of Ephesians tells us that the called ones of God as a congregation are the church (1:1, 22),  the assembly,
and that this church is God's kingdom (2:12-13, 19), God's family (2:19, and God's temple (2:21), His dwelling place
2:22).  Moreover, the church is the Body of Christ (1:23; 4:4) and the new man (2:15).  Eventually, the Body of Christ
and the new man become the bride of Christ (5:23-32).  The assembly and the kingdom apparently are not something
organic.  But the family, the Body, the new man, and the wife, the Bride, are all organic.  For the church to be the Body
of Christ there is the need of life.  In the Body the most crucial matter is life.  When life is gone, the Body is finished.  For
the church to be the new man there is the need of a person.  A man must have a person, and the person of the new
man is Christ Himself.  Furthermore, for the church to be the bride of Christ, there is the need of love.  For a wife, a
bride, the most important thing is love.  Christ is our love because He is our husband.  He is our life, our person, and
our love.

Each chapter of the book of Ephesians unveils the mystery of the Body of Christ as the organism of the Triune God
from a particular point of view.  Chapter one shows us that the Body of Christ is the issue of the dispensing of the divine
Trinity.  Chapter two shows us that this Body is a masterpiece as the new man.  In chapter three Paul unveils that we
are supplied with the riches of Christ to be the fullness of the Triune God.  In chapter four is the one Body built up by
the one ministry.  In Ephesians 5 Paul goes on to tell us something further concerning the Body of Christ from another
angle or point of view.  If we read Ephesians 5 in a superficial way, we will not be able to see its point of view.  We must
dive into the depths of the truth unveiled in this chapter to see something further.  This chapter reveals the children of
light for the preparation of the bride of Christ.  The children of light and the bride of Christ are the two crucial matters in
Ephesians 5.  
To be the children of light who walk in love and light is to be prepared to participate in the
bride of Christ


According to Ephesians 4, we need grace and truth for the life that qualifies us to participate in the building up of the
Body of Christ.  Chapter five of Ephesians is higher and deeper than chapter four.  It goes on to show us that we need
to walk in love and light (verses 2, 8).  Love is the source of grace, and light is the source of truth.  When love is
expressed, it becomes grace.  When light shines out, it becomes truth.  Christ came from God to express God, to
manifest God.  When God is expressed and revealed in the Lord Jesus, His love becomes grace and His light becomes
truth.  When we receive the Lord  Jesus as our Savior and our life, we are brought into fellowship with the Father to
enjoy Him as love and light (Ephesians 5).  The Son is the expression of love, which to us is grace, and this grace
brings us to the source of grace, which is the Father as love.  In the Gospel of John there is grace (John 1:14), but in
the first Epistle of John there is love (I John 4:8, 16).  Christ also came to bring us the truth, the reality.  When we have
the truth, the truth brings us to the source of truth, the Father as light.  Jesus Christ brings us to the Father, who is love
as the source of grace and who is light as the source of truth.  In Ephesians 5 we are children of light walking in love
and light.

In writing the book of Ephesians, Paul was much higher than any philosopher, such as Confucius or Socrates.  What
human being could compose this book?  Where did Paul pick up these points?  Many of the terms he used, such as the
Body of Christ, cannot be found in the Old Testament.  Paul was one who was gained by the Triune God to be mingled
with Him.  In I Corinthians 7:40 he said, "I think that I also have the Spirit of God."  He was living in the principle of
incarnation as a  God-man when he wrote the wonderful things in his Epistles.  All these things were unveiled to him and
were written by him, and they are in our hands.  If there were not such a book as the Bible on the earth, what darkness
we would be in!  But since we have this book, what light we are in!  We are really the children of light.


Ephesians 5:1 says, "Become therefore imitators of God, as beloved children."  To live a life of love and light we have
One whom we may imitate.  We have a Father  who is love and who is light.  As children of the Father, we have His life
and nature.  The children are spontaneously the imitators of the Father.  Every child as an imitator of God is a "xerox
copy" of the Father.  We are not strangers to God trying to imitate Him.  We are children of God, possessing God's life
and enjoying God's nature.  By our Father's divine life we can be imitators of Him.

We also have Christ as our pattern.  Ephesians 5:2 says, "And walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave
Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor."  An offering is a gift for fellowship with
God, whereas a sacrifice is for redemption from sin.  Christ loved us (verses 2, 25) and Christ shines upon us (verse
14).  He is our pattern for us to live a life in love and in light.  By ourselves we could not love others as Christ loved us.  
We can love as He loved because He is our life.  We have Him as our life and as our person.  We have a person in us
who loved us, and now by this person, in this person, and with this person we can love as He loved.  This is organic,
something of life.

The life of the children of light qualifies us to participate in the preparation of the bride of Christ.  Revelation 19:7 says,
"Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife has made
herself ready."  When the wedding of the Lamb comes, we, the children of light, will be a bride to satisfy the One who
loves us.  To be ready requires preparation.  The way to prepare ourselves to be the bride of Christ is to be the
children of light always walking and working in love and light as our Savior did.  We can imitate our Father God and take
Christ as our pattern to walk and work in love and light.

As light in the Lord, we should walk as children of light (Ephesians 5:8).  God is light, and when we are in Him, we are
light.  As those in the light we become children of light.  Verse 15 tells us to walk not as unwise but as wise.  Foolishness
is a kind of darkness.  When we walk wisely, we are walking in light.  The children of light should walk, not as unwise but
as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil (verse 16).  To redeem the time is to live in the church by Christ,
to live Christ in the church life.  If we do not live the church life, we will waste our time.  Before we came to the church
life, we wasted many years.  To live outside the church life is to waste our time by living in vanity.  You may consider that
you do not have the time to pray for half an hour, but if a telephone call comes, you may talk for forty minutes in the
vanity of your mind.  Why would you not spend this time to pray for a certain brother who has been backsliding for years
and never comes to the meetings?  To pray for such a brother is to redeem your time.  To talk on the telephone in the
vanity of the mind is to waste your time.  Time flies; it never waits for you.  You have to redeem it by behaving wisely. To
avoid unnecessary talk on the telephone is to redeem the time.  Shopping may also be a waste of time.  To live Christ
for the church life is the unique way to redeem the time.

Verse 17 says, "Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is."  The reason we might be
foolish to waste our time by unnecessary shopping is that we do not know the will of the Lord.  The will of the Lord is that
we should visit the sinners.  Why would we not use Saturday morning, afternoon, or evening to go to visit sinners?  One
brother among us told us about the practice of his grandfather, who was a baker in Germany working twelve hours a
day starting from four in the morning.  At four in the afternoon his grandfather would return home, wash and dress  up,
and go to visit people concerning Christ nearly every day.  Wasn't that wise?  Wasn't that the will of God?  If we
separated half of every Saturday to the Lord, forgetting about shopping, and went out to visit sinners, we could bring at
least two or three to the Lord each year.  Before going out, we should pray desperately, "Lord, I believe that in this city
there are some dear ones chosen by You before the foundation of the world.  Yet they still have not been called by You
because there has been no one to sound Your call to them.  Lord, send me to speak the gospel to them.  Lord, be with
me."  If some of the saints did this, there would be an increase in the church.

In the past years, the poverty in fruitbearing has been among us in many places.  After studying this matter for more
than three years, I discovered that the best way to gain people is to go to them, to visit them by knocking on their
doors.  This practice has stirred up opposition in some places.  This must be the attack of the enemy.  Do you not
believe that the Lord's will is for us to go out?  The Lord Jesus charged us to go preach the gospel (Matthew 10:6-7;
28:19; Mark 16:15).  He set up the pattern.  He did not stay in the heavens, calling people to Himself.  He came down to
man and even became a man.  He lowered Himself in position and status to go to Samaria to meet a sinful woman (John
4:1-42) and to go to Jericho to meet the sinner Zaccheus (Luke 19:1-10).  He was always visiting people.  Peter,
Andrew, James, and John were also caught by the Lord's coming to visit them.

Two great heretical groups, the Mormons and the Jehovah's Witnesses, also practice door-knocking. We must realize,
though, that Satan always tries to copy what God is doing.  It is regrettable that God's children do not go out to visit
people.  Instead, they may stay at home on Saturday to watch television and talk on the phone, or they may go
shopping.  After ten years, many Christians may not have brought one person to the Lord.  Is this the Lord's will?  We
are the branches of the vine.  The Lord's will is for all the branches to bear fruit.  In John 15:16 the Lord said clearly,
"You did not chose Me, but I chose you, and I appointed you that you should go forth and bear fruit, and that your fruit
should remain."  He warned us that as the branches, we will be cut off if we do not bear fruit (John 15:2, 5-6).  This is
not to perish but to lose the very enjoyment of the rich vine.  If we mean business with the Lord, our enjoyment of the
Lord will bring forth fruit.  However, where is the fruit today?  We need to come back to the Word to read what the Lord's
will is concerning this matter.  If you read what the Lord's will is, you will be one who goes out to visit people.

Ephesians 5:18 says, "And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation, but be filled in spirit."  Every worldly thing
that satisfies us is like wine.  To go shopping to buy unnecessary things is wine.  We should not be drunk with wine but
be filled in our spirit with the dispensing Triune God.  He is dispensing and we are drinking.  When we are filled in our
spirit with the dispensing Triune God, we speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, and we are full
of thanks and praises (verses 19-20).  Many have found out that when they went out to knock on people's doors and
baptized someone, they were filled in this way.

Verse 21 says, "Being subject to one another in the fear of Christ."  Christ as our Savior is the Head.  Since He is the
Head, we must learn to be subject to one another.  Do not be the head over others.  If we all take Christ as our Head
and subject ourselves to Him, we will also subject ourselves to one another.  The young ones should subject themselves
to the older ones, and the older ones to the young ones.  The older ones may feel superior and feel that the younger
ones should listen to them.  This is to not be subject to one another.  This is to lord it over others, to be the head.  All
the older ones have to learn to subject themselves to the dear young ones.  Children of light walking in love and light
would surely be subject to one another.  The older ones should consider that they would still like to learn something
from the young ones, and that the younger ones may know more than they do.

In any society there is the age barrier.  Teenagers may prefer not to be with those who are over twenty.  Even among
the teenagers, the seventeen and eighteen year olds may prefer not to be with the thirteen and fourteen year olds.  
There is the elementary school level, the junior high school level, and the high school level.  If we are separated by age
levels in the church, we are defeated.  We all need to be like little children (Luke 18:17).  
The younger ones do not need to be afraid of the older ones.  As an older one, I like to live, meet, and serve with the
younger ones.


As children of light walking in love and light, we will be prepared to be the bride of Christ.  Christ is the Head of the
church in authority and the Savior of the Body in love (Ephesians 5:23).  Christ's being the Head is a matter of authority,
while His being the Savior is a matter of love.  The church is subject to Christ as wives are to their husbands in
everything (verse 24).

Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her (verse 25).  Because He loved the church, Christ gave Himself up
for her for the purpose of sanctifying her, not only positionally but also dispositionally, from without and from within.  He
sanctifies us by entering into us to be the sanctifying life and the holy nature that saturates us, cleansing us every day,
even every moment, by the washing of the water in the Word (verse 26).  In the Word, the Bible, there is the water.  We
know this by our experience.  When we get into the water, it washes us.  Every morning we need to wash in the Bible.

Christ sanctifies the church that He might present the church to Himself not only holy but also glorious for expressing
God (verse 27).  
Glory is God expressed.   A holy church is to express God, to show God to others.  Christ will
present the church to Himself glorious, not having spot or wrinkle or any such things.  Wrinkles are a sign of oldness.  
To have no wrinkles is a sign of youth.  Spots represent wounds.  Only the life from within can wash away the wrinkles,
spots, and any such things.  Verse 27 says that the church should be holy and without blemish, as a gem which bears a
beautiful expression and has no foreign particles, or blemishes.

Christ nourishes and cherishes the church as His Body of which we are members (verses 29-30).  To nourish is to feed,
and to cherish is to nurture with tender love and foster with tender care.  When a baby is in the bosom of its mother, it is
cherished.  The baby enjoys the nurturing with tender love and the fostering with tender care.  Christ is nourishing and
cherishing us in the same way.

Christ and the church are one spirit (I Corinthians 6:17) as husband and wife are one flesh (Ephesians 5:31).  That
Christ and the church are one is a great mystery (verse 32).  The church came out of Christ, as Eve came out of Adam
(Genesis 2:21-22).  Eve was the very issue, the enlargement, of Adam.  The church has the same one life and nature
as Christ and has become one with Him, as Eve became one flesh with Adam as his counterpart (Genesis 2:24), having
the same life and nature as Adam had.  According to life and nature, Adam and Eve were one.  It is the same with Christ
and us.

As we have seen, the church as the Body of Christ needs Christ as its life, and the new man needs Christ as his
person.  Moreover, the bride of Christ needs Christ as her love in the oneness of the two.  Two can only become one in
love.  If there were no love between the two, they could never be one.


Chapter six of Ephesians shows us that we need not only to wrestle for the church, but also to love Christ in
incorruptibility (Ephesians 6:11-18, 24).  In the last chapter of Ephesians is the spiritual warfare.  The church not only
has to fight but also has to wrestle.  If I did not wrestle, I would not be free to minister to you.  We have to wrestle for the
church.  As the church we have to wrestle, to fight the good fight (II Timothy 4:7).  We must also love Christ in
incorruptibility.  The Triune God, God's dispensing, and the issue of this dispensing - the church, the Body of Christ, the
new man, and the bride - are in incorruptibility.  All other things in the universe will be corrupted.  We must fight for the
church and love Christ in this incorruptibility.


THE BODY OF CHRIST, by Witness Lee, Copyright 1988, Living Stream Ministry.