The Universality of the Church
You cannot go outside of A and Z in the realm of literature, you box the compass of language with A and Z; likewise Christ Jesus is First and Last of God's new creation, and all that is in between: you cannot get outside that. We must never think of anything as outside of Christ; He is Salvation; He is Sanctification; He is Redemption, Justification, Peace; Wisdom, Love, Heaven. "Know ye not as to your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you," this Christ - in you! Do you see the possibilities and the tremendous reach of this?
God will transform His universe, not from without, but from within. How? By putting Jesus Christ within the believer by His Holy Spirit; and thence there will be a two-fold activity - being conformed to Him by His Spirit, and He being formed in the believe; thus He is going to make His new creation.
"Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27). "God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life" (1 John 5:11, 12).
"If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His? (Romans 8:9).
"The Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of His glory, according to the working whereby He is able even to subject all things unto Himself" (Phil. 3:20, 21).
"Put on the new man, that is being renewed unto knowledge after the image of Him That created him: where there cannot be Greek and Jew ... but Christ is all, and in all" (Col. 3:10, 11).
"The church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all" (Ephesians 1:22, 23).
Growing Up Into Him
The Christian life is not by effort, and not by struggle; not merely by trying to put into practice certain maxims, or by trying to attain to a certain measure; but from beginning to end, and all together, it is a matter of knowing the Lord Jesus within. Of course this implies response to Him, and a continual yieldedness to His working by His Spirit within, and so cooperating with Him in His purpose of conformity to His image.
We have all grown since we were born. How did we grow? Not by sitting down and considering that we ought to increase our stature; not by determining to grow so much today, and a little more tomorrow; not by painful efforts to increase our dimensions, and so on; but we "just growed," we had to respond to the laws of growth. So in the spiritual realm, we have to recognize the laws of growth, and where these are not responded to, or are violated, there can be no growth, but arrest, weakness and loss.
(continued with # 5)