Jun. 29 2018.
What is the Church?
The body cannot do without any one part of its standard make-up. For example, we can’t speak about the values of our words without having a tongue or the unity of the Body without equal hands and feet. The body is the very image of God’s Kingdom having a head, receiving character, Truth and Revelation through the eyes and ears, and applying these with the mouth, hands and feet; just as God the head sent His very image by the Word in the form of Jesus the man, who carried out all His directions with His hands and feet in perfected obedience. Jesus never faltered in what God wanted to be done and because of that, He received to the fullest, God’s Glory in magnificent manifestations. Every aspect of the Body receives recognition as stated, “looking for the fruit to be credited to your account” - Phil. 4:17. As part of the Body; whatever one gives with a Righteous intention; a reward is deemed due for your personal enjoyment and benefit. We must give Righteously but also receive Righteously. This is how Jesus did what He did.
After Jesus preached, He moved onto the next town without care of those who believed, followed or laughed at Him. But He certainly spent more time with His apostles teaching and showing them the way of God’s Kingdom. This is because He knew His purpose and stayed focus on it to leave imitators of His life which is God’s will. It always disturbs me that despite being a Christian; many often copy the world’s way of doing things like running an organization rather than gleaming Jesus’ example of leadership, servanthood, and teachings; often starving their people of the fullness of Christ because of becoming entangled in ministries that actually deprive them of the benefits of belonging to the Body of a church. A common example is; a single person is appointed to head a ministry who eventually becomes worn, tired and disillusioned because on not partaking in the Sunday service. Is it not obvious that as a Body we are to share the burden of all the ministry of Christ? But some say; many do not volunteer their time and effort. That’s not a participant problem but a leadership one.
Recently, I was asked to sit on a church committee that required several persons to help with a one-day ministry. After a few discussions; I asked the total number of persons needed and said this should be presented directly to the congregation; at which others on the committee did not want to address it directly but only hoped they would have enough people. If those appointed to lead; lead with mediocrity; then so will the followers be. What if Jesus or the Apostles were mediocre in their Faith and ministry? And is God interested in a lukewarm church? A church is not for comfort as many have made it but for commitment to the Great Commission which can't be effective if the Body is not shooting for God's standard which is Jesus.
The church can either be unrighteous or Righteous and this will depend on how the leaders operate, demonstrate and influence. This is not about the free gift of Salvation but it’s purpose which is to continue Jesus’ work including the fulfillment of the law, the division of the world from those saved by Grace and the dominion of God’s Glory in manifestations. As it is said, “Coming back for a Glorious church, Righteous, Holy and without blemish or flaws” - Ep. 5:27. There is nothing average in that statement and speaks to the high standard and expectation that God has for those of the Body of Christ. A church that is as perfect as God is from the top of the head to the soles of the feet. A Glorious church worthy of the Blood of Lamb and the Lion of Judah.
Flush it out - Salvation is a call for Christ work thru me.
Some say, but that was the Old Testament and God’s doesn’t do that again. Jesus’ first twelve years embolden Him to demonstrate His wisdom with the elders of the synagogue. Then He falls off the map as it were until called into ministry and eventually dies as the King of the Jews. We can name several people whose life is from one call and purpose to another including Paul. All previously fell from Grace, unlike Jesus who did not and just like those who after Pentecost are not recorded as falling from Grace. What is the difference? The Spirit of God is guiding and helping Jesus fulfill His call and purpose just as the apostles after Pentecost. Now it is not easy and simple especially in today’s fast pace, microwave and selfish society. But nevertheless, it has been demonstrated and is possible only when we truly submit to God and make Jesus, the author, and finisher of our Faith - Heb. 12:2. It is Jesus who is welcoming and admiring the Revelation churches and in many cases criticizing their works. Why? Because He alone can testify that, “With God (the Spirit) all is possible” - Matt. 19:26.
If we the Body utilize the Spirit to its fullest putting aside status, ego, and fear; how much more of God’s Glory will be revealed and manifest for Salvation’s cause. Every part of the body is linked with every other part because of the blood that flows and connects from the head to the toe. The Body of Christ can be the same by the Blood of Jesus which is really the Spirit of God. There is the head; the body and the feet; and all are enjoined to go where the Spirit leads it. Then why do some pastors delegate the Body to the point they are no longer involved with it. Jesus did not do this! As much as Jesus did the work of the Father; He took God with Him everywhere He went often retreating from the crowd for a one on one counsel time with Him. But He did not abandon those under His charge. It amazes me in having discussions especially with leaders of different church men’s groups there is no guidance or influence from their respective pastors much less a charter of purpose, expectations, and growth. There is no leadership. As Christians whether behind or before the pulpit we have only one Righteous example provided to us for the practical application of the Gospel and Salvation which is Jesus. Jesus started His church with purpose, conviction, and Faith. His church was the twelve apostles whom He led in all things especially in aptitude, attitude, and action. Something that very few pastors reveal or demonstrate often using position to manage their church and focusing on how to get more people into the church rather than developing those already in it.
If the Body would only grasp that, “All things work for them that love God” - Rm. 8:28; and come to that rest we have been charged with - Heb. 4:11. How much more will God’s Glory be revealed. Yes, every once in awhile satan tries to place doubt in us about God’s sovereignty and promises; and there will be those in the Body that without realizing aid the limitations of the flesh. Yet, Christ never did this! He only empowered the Body for the Father's work. Now; Paul used the body as the perfect metaphor for the church when he could have used a stronger and more obvious example like the Roman empire. Why didn’t he do this? Because Paul recognized by the Holy Spirit God’s intent for His Earthly Kingdom! Yes; there is to be an Earthly Kingdom as stated by John, “the New Jerusalem coming down from Heaven” - Rev. 2:21.
The Roman empire at that time was the most recognized power for that known world; having dominance in far-reaching places, controlling commerce and influencing politics even though the emperor was not physically present in these places. They were able to achieve this by a strict regimen, unrelenting discipline and an intolerant hand where little or no free will was allowed. Where the rule of law and purpose was constantly practiced and stayed in focus. This is a metaphor for the Great Commission. Now, in the Body; God’s free will given to us is both our strength and weakness. It is why the Body of the church is often in conflict with each other because we each think God’s preference is with the individual rather than the Great Commission and the Body. We seek our will as long as it reverberates God’s. We do not die to the flesh but rather stay in an ill state of it; living and suffering at the same time. Jesus had no will but the Father’s and that is where God’s full Glory resides and is able to be revealed. Often; we treat the ailments of the world rather than face it head on and condemn it; resulting in things festering until it becomes unbearable and begins to decay the very things we hold dear. We compromise or ignore issues for the sake of peace and act opposite to what we have been given as stated, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of Power and Love and a sound mind” - 2 Tim. 1:7. When did it become righteous to sneak Jesus’ Salvation into the world by passivity rather than confronting the disease of unrighteousness?
Now; there are many that say they know God is with their efforts to reach the lost because the Spirit is in operation. What did Jesus say, “If they are for us, leave them alone” - Lk. 9:50. God is working with us at our Faith level. When God gave Moses specific directions on how to receive water from the rock; Moses disobeyed and yet water flowed when he struck the rock. And with the parting of the red sea; the miracle worked as Moses did everything precisely as God instructed him to. Why is this so? That despite our inaccuracies in obeying God; the miracle of Salvation is produced for the saved and unsaved alike. The one consistent factor is God’s hand; not our Faith. This is not where the Body of Christ ought to accept and stay at. Because it presents a half Glory of God. We, as Christians are no longer our own but Christ’s. The Body of Christ is for His headship and not ours. Just as our body can’t do anything without our mind; so does the Body can’t without the mind of Christ; or rather His Spirit.
God is able, ready and Faithful to what His desire is and will be to ours as long as it is under His two main purposes which as stated is, “peace and prosperity” - Jer. 29:11; or Shalom. Now, some say; then it matters not how the Body approaches the Salvation of the world. Wrong! With Godly obedience; God receives the Glory. But with impartial obedience, there are consequences as with God’s decree for Moses for not doing as God told him in providing water for the Exodus Jews. Others may say, but that is the Old Testament God and Jesus redeemed us completely by His Blood. Is God subjected to flesh? Absolutely not! And does it not say, God is unchanging from age to age - Heb. 13:8. So He is the same from the God in Genesis right through to Revelation. The Body is the only variable. We should not be surprised that's why many, currently in the churches around the world are disillusioned, faithless and are falling away. To use a current term that is constantly associated with another faith. Is that Christians generally are not sufficiently radical for Jesus and His Great Commission.
The Body is the church and the church is the Body. It has one purpose and that is to empower for the Great Commission. How effective is it; is usually reflected by the level of maturity and participation from the church’s congregation. Generally, it is a small group of the Faithful that administers the church’s needs and ministries. Paul uses the body as a practical approach to all aspects of being a Christian. For without the body; there is no spirit and without the Spirit; there is no Body. Now, the human body consists of several parts and as Paul says not one part of the body can claim to be better or above the other parts. This is where we ought to be different and separated from the world as in Rome; to God by the Spirit. In God’s eye; all are equal and are required to fulfill their purpose or call. Now, before the religious mind refers to Paul’s fivefold ministry direction and the gifts of the Spirit, misinterpreting his intent and that one’s call or purpose is until Jesus returns. We must understand God’s outlook for His charge which was and still is manifestation through the man, Jesus. Jesus never had a specific role but did as the Father led Him to. Did He have an individual mind like you and I. Of course; but He relieved that burden in favor of God’s will, direction and Glory. He basically said it, “Your (God’s) will be done, not mine” - Lk. 22:42. He said this under His greatest duress and distress of His ministry.
And by the Spirit, as stated, “work together for those who love God and called to His purpose” - Rm. 8:28. This same Spirit, on demand; work through those even if they are unsaved because they are part of a purpose only God knows and initiates like king Artaxerxes in the Book of Nehemiah who supported Nehemiah in the rebuilding of Jerusalem. For Christians; the only qualification is the Blood of Jesus and not any human notion of influence. Now does practical experience count as far as the work of the Body is concerned? Of course! Every born again Saint is on a journey for another higher call as God purposes for that individual. Moses spent his first forty years in Egypt so that he would gain an understanding and enable his presence before Pharaoh. He spent another forty years in the wilderness so that God could prepare him for the Exodus and he lived another forty years as the most prominent leader of the chosen people. Every forty years, his call and purpose were built on the previous one. Some say, but that was Moses. David, the least son had the same transitions. First as a shepherd boy who not only tended the flock but defended and fought for their welfare by killing the bear and lion. Then called to kill once again for the chosen people; the flock of God, against Goliath and then to be the first ordained king of the Jews.
Too often the Body misses the mark of Jesus and the Father because we are more concerned with the flesh than the Power that has been given to us. Being in the Body and being part of the Body is two different things. Yet, many of the Body do not understand or have not been mentored into what the Body has been given to bring forth the Glory of God. Is Christ not whole and were we not given Christ? Then why do we parcel Him out because of the weakness of the flesh. And did not the Blood put all things of the flesh under our feet?
What is the weakness of the flesh? Everything that is promoted by the world! I have seen a Christian’s car license plate that says “O; Wake up”! Of course, this is meant for the world but if you have been involved with the Body, it also applies; even more so. For other than acknowledging Jesus there is very little difference in the actions and approach to the things that matter. Too often we put back issues in God’s hands when God has already given us the things and authority in ours to reveal His Glory. God gave us His Holy Spirit - 2 Tim. 1:7. And did not Jesus have the same?
So why does the Body often receive only partial miracles? This is because the Body does not act like the body is designed to. Consider that the body is constantly multitasking without any friction of its parts. The eyes see; the ears hear; the tongue speaks, and the limbs can act together or even independently of each other and without any hindrances; produce and receive fulfillment not only for the head but all the parts. For this physical body, it is carnal sensations by the feelings contained in them. But for the Body of Christ; a higher body; it is by the Spirit. A Spirit that gives where it finds hearts ready to receive with a Righteous attitude. The Body of Christ often forget the prime advocate given to us by God as stated, “when the Spirit comes; He will teach you and speak for you”. Whatever we need at the time; the Spirit is available for our concerns. Sometimes, the Body is often too lazy or hasty to wait on the Spirit’s directions for we more use our physical senses rather than the spirit we have. We often lean on the flesh too easily, rather than build the spirit which takes effort from the inner man and which is able to rise above the fear of feelings reaching for the higher Power available to us by God’s Spirit. Jesus shows us this transition in the Garden of Gesthame when almost immediately after asking for the cup to pass; He confesses, “Yet not My will but Yours” - Lk. 22:42. Jesus chose to act by Faith rather than allow fear to overcome Him. Just like the body; we expect by Faith that all parts are working but with the Body; we often limit this Faith by the very things that we have been told that will affect Faith including tradition, culture and lack of knowledge.
The Holy Spirit has no time limits nor any criteria for operating other than by the act of Faith by the Body. It is not moved by our works but rather by the very heart of its purpose which is to lead us into a deeper relationship with our Heavenly Father. This relationship ranges from comfort to discomfort in individuals or in the Body. For what purpose? The revealing of God’s Glory in and through us in whatever manifestation the Spirit is led to by God. With the Holy Spirit; the bodies that make up the Body of Christ will do as stated, “as Jesus did or greater things” - Jn. 14:12. When Moses, in providing water for the Exodus Jews failed to obey God’s precise direction it was because he did not heed the Spirit. Some say, but the Holy Spirit came after Jesus ascended as stated, “the Spirit will come” - Jn. 14:26. God cannot forsake His Word as stated, “having made His word higher than His person” - Ps. 138:2. If God has done something for His mandated purpose; He cannot withdraw it because He is a just God and doesn’t throw tantrums. The Holy Spirit as stated, “hovered above” - Gen.1:2. This Spirit has always been here from the beginning and has been used by Righteous men before Jesus like Elijah and even by Job which is one of the most misunderstood Book of the Bible; Job demonstrates and reveals just how much the Body of Christ has available to them in their hands and not God’s. Am I contradicting that we need God? Absolutely not! God has given us His will both in statement and manifestations but it is we who have to put ourselves in that place for it to be enforced, empowered and become productive. All the things of God has within it the DNA of Principle, Power and Purpose. The body generally has two hands but one is usually stronger, more active and more efficient. If it was not for certain activities that require both hands; the lesser used will become so weak and useless; it would wither, die and even fall off our body. It is designed for equal use. So the idea that one is left or right handed has no premise because some people are ambidextrous and if you lost one hand, the other will pick up to become the dominant or only hand. Essentially, a muscle; it has to be used into empowerment just like one's Faith. The Body of the church often only focuses on the obvious strengths displayed by others. Such as an extrovert is used for evangelism and an introvert for the ministry of helps. Yet, this is an obvious contradiction to God’s design and Word where with His Spirit as stated, “all can be done through Christ” - Phil. 4:13. Through Christ; is the same as the Holy Spirit; which is ultimately God’s hand working in us to manifest His Glory.
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