II. One Church, One City
Regarding the local churches, another three provinces of the ancient Roman Empire were mentioned in the New Testament: Asia, Galatia, and Macedonia. Because Asia, Galatia, and Macedonia were all provinces, the Bible mentions the churches of Asia (I Cor. 16:19), the churches of Galatia (Gal. 1:2; 1 Cor. 16:1) and the churches of Macedonia (II Cor. 8:1). Why were there many churches in one province? Simply because there were many cities in that one province.
In one province you may have many churches, but in one city you should not have many churches. One city should only have one church, one local church. So Revelation 1:11 tells us that in the province of Asia there were at least seven local churches in seven cities. There was a church in the city of Ephesus, in the city of Smyrna, in the city of Pergamos, in the city of Thyatira, in the city of Sardis, in the city of Philadelphia, and in the city of Laodicea. In each one of these seven cities, there was one local church. In many cities there are many local churches, but in one city there must be only one local church. The local churches are the expressions of the one universal church. When we say the practical expression of the church, we mean the local churches. (26)
Whenever the term churches appears in the New Testament, it invariably refers to a number of local churches in a geographical area larger than a city. As the Bible consistently declares and as Witness Lee clearly explains, there is only one church in one city, and this one church is the practical expression of the church in that locality.
Copyright © 2001. Living Stream Ministry. All Rights Reserved.