The church is the most important institution in the universe. This is the why God implemented it in the first place. He has none else.
The church’s most important job is to bring forth the glory of the Lord into all the earth, and throughout all eternity.
Ephesians 3:21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
Glory is defined as the end product of the invisible God becoming visible. The Lord accomplishes this through His Word, His attributes, and righteous deeds.
Isaiah 40:5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
The glory of God is of supreme importance. Through it, men are ushered into eternal salvation, physical healings take place, people are set free from demonic oppression, spiritual gifts are displayed, and revival of cities and nations that change civilization are carried out.
Mark 6:56 and as many as touched him were made whole.
Civilization’s most essential need, and most desperate need, is to be capable of beholding an invisible God, who desires to make Himself plainly evident, through Jesus Christ in His glory.
The key to all of humanity’s needs, past, present, and future, lie locked in the Person of Christ.
To the proportion that the invisible Christ becomes visible to mankind by His glory, is to the exact proportion that all mankind’s needs will be met and answered forever.
John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
The church of Jesus Christ is GOD’S ONLY INSTRUMENT, which can make Him visible. Aside from His glory as seen in creation, God has made for Himself no other avenue that will allow Him to become visible in a real, personal and intimate way to people.
Ephesians 3:21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
Moses was commissioned by God to build Him the tabernacle in the Sinai Desert. It was of eternal importance that he would follow God’s architectural blue prints for its construction with exactness and accuracy. God’s spiritual architectural blueprint is referred to as the “pattern in the mount”.
Hebrews 8:5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.
Why did God demand such precision? The purpose of the OT tabernacle was to manifest the invisible God in His glory so that His people, the Israelites, would know Him.
Through His glory, God also revealed His laws to Moses to then be transmitted to the Jewish nation.
It would also be fair to say then, that the New Testament church has a “pattern in the mount” of its own. This model must be followed with the precise accuracy so that the world may see the glory of the Lord through the church.
Any local NT assembly must understand, and execute “the pattern in the mount” with meticulous care.
This model is demonstrated for us primarily in the Books of Ephesians and Colossians.
A congregation’s success or failure to do so will result in the same success or failure to manifest the Person of the Lord Jesus to a dying world.
Unfortunately most churches are ignorant of the New Testament model that must govern their operation. Church becomes merely a place that we congregate to hear a Sunday sermon. It is Sunday school for adults and kids. It is a place for Christian fellowship, and Bible studies, programs, and committees.
It is hardly ever recognized as the one society instituted by God to manifest Him universally and eternally. The things that I have mentioned above are not bad in themselves. The problem occurs when we make these activities a means to an end. The purpose of all church activities must be to reveal the Person of Jesus Christ through them.
John Brevere, a popular Christian speaker, says that we, the church, have minored in the majors and majored in the minors.
The Church Is The Fullness of God”
Eph 1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
The word for “fullness” in verse twenty-three, of Ephesians chapter one, is a most interesting word.
Envision that you have a bottle filled with Coca Cola. What is the Coca Cola? Is it the bottle, or is it the liquid inside of it? I would propose to you that it is that brown, sweet, delightful liquid that we gulp down and enjoy.
So what is this fluid called Coca Cola made of? Well, it is made up of every ingredient that is perfectly mixed in its required quantities and precise order, to lawfully recognize and labeled it as this reality that we call Coca Cola.
This is the fullness of Coca Cola! In other words, the fullness of Coca Cola is the very essence and nature of this liquid, which makes it to be Coca Cola and nothing else.
The fullness of God then, describes the very essence, the reality, and the evidence of who God is. It also describes to us every attribute and characteristic that is required, to make God, God.
The church is the fullness of God! The Lord has called upon the church to manifest Him in His very essence and reality. He has also summoned the church to manifest every attribute and characteristic that makes up the essence and reality of who He is. This is called the glory of God, or allowing the invisible God to become accurately identifiable.
Let us simplify this by taking the example of one believer. A young lady in a local assembly is a totally surrendered, yielded, and obedient vessel to the Lord Jesus. She allows the Lord to deal with her, touch her, and to transform her in every aspect of her life. This occurs through the process of the death and resurrection of the Lord within her. Whatever the Lord touches in her life by His cross, He then fills with His fullness. In theory, if this believer would yield every aspect of her life to the Lord, she would be filled with the fullness of God. In the phrase, “the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” the Lord describes Himself as “the God who desires to fill every person, and every part of that person, with Himself.”
However God wants to go further still. He is not only satisfied with filling every part of one believer with Himself. In any local assembly, God desires to fill every part of every believer within Himself. As this takes place, the fullness of the Lord becomes manifested through that local assembly.
Wherever the glory of the Lord is displayed, multitudes will always throng to hear Him and to be ministered to by Him. This is the definition of revival, and it can only occur through the manifested presence of the Lord. Revival is one of the primary functions and responsibilities of every local assembly. I have always been sadly puzzled with many of our church strategies, and church growth programs, developed in attempts to draw people to them. We only need to allow the Lord Jesus to be amply manifested in His glory. The multitudes will surely follow. Jesus did not have to bring revival. He is “the revival.” The more that He becomes manifested; an automatic revival will always ensue.
The NT Testament church model demands that every believer must be touched, transformed, and filled by the Lord Jesus in every aspect of his or her life for the model to work at its peak.
Matthew 4:25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.
Luke 5:15 But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.
The Church is The Holy of Holies
In the Old Testament we find that God’s fullness dwelled within the Ark of the Covenant located in the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle of God. This Ark of the Covenant is also called the Ark of the Testimony.
Exo 26:33 And thou shalt hang up the vail under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the vail the ark of the testimony: and the vail shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy.
34 And thou shalt put the mercy seat upon the ark of the testimony in the most holy place.
The American College Dictionary defines for us testimony as “evidence in support of a fact or statement.” Therefore, within the Ark of the Covenant resides the complete and absolute evidence that supports all the facts of whom God really is. In other words the fullness of God dwells inside. Therefore the church’s great responsibility is to give to the world at large with preciseness, who God really is. It must so fully declare Him that the world has all the facts that it needs, to accept God or reject Him. In reality, the testimony of God is no different to the testimonies given by witnesses in a courtroom. The purpose of testimonies is to furnish a jury with enough factual evidence that will allow it to reach a truthful verdict.
Eph 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
Ephesians 2:21 tells us that the church is a “holy temple in the Lord.” If we would go and research our original Greek New Testament, we should discover that the word implemented here is the “Holy of Holies”. The church in fact is the holy of holies of the Lord. As the Holy of Holies, the church is the dwelling place of God. As the Holy of Holies, the church does become in fact the Ark of the Testimony. It is the one and only universal agent that must, and can, give full evidence with all supporting facts, that define the reality of whom God is. It must manifest Him in His fullness, so that the world has enough evidence to reach a verdict to accept or reject the gospel.
I Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness( testimony) unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Matthew 24:14 confirms exactly what we have spoken about. The only way that the gospel can be effectively preached is through the church’s testimony or witness of the Lord Jesus according to what we have spoken about. What is the kingdom of God?
Mat 10:7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
Verse seven and eight tells us that the kingdom consists of healing of the sick, raising the dead, casting out demons, and freely giving. The preaching of the gospel must include the testimony of God’s kingdom, or the plain evidence of these signs and wonders being performed by the Lord here on earth. The testimony of the kingdom of God becomes a reality as the church brings forth the glory of God. Many times I have been sadly bewildered when I hear the church getting so excited, and talking about the rapture, and the end of the world being so close at hand. The end indeed may be close. I am not the one to say!
However, the Lord tells us in Matt 24:14 that the gospel must be “preached for a witness”. Are we doing this? Are we furnishing strong and plain evidence to the non-Christians of whom God is, and making His kingdom visible? Can the end yet really come? I do not know.
Bringing in The Glory
I Cor 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
Verse four, of First Corinthians chapter twelve, tells us that God has given to the church a diversity of spiritual gifts. Verse five describes for us that God has likewise given a variety of ministries and offices to Christians. Verse six tells us that God administers His gifts and ministries in a multitude of ways, according to the person whom He works through, and the circumstances in which He releases these gifts and ministries in. Verse seven tells us that God’s spiritual gifts and or ministries have been given to every Christian; none is exempt! No one has the luxury of being a pew sitter, and no one has the right to prohibit the manifestation of the Spirit through another believer. Verse seven goes on to tell us that the function of spiritual gifts and ministries is simply to the manifest the Holy Spirit. What is so important about manifesting the Holy Spirit? Look with me now at John 15:26.
John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
The role of the Holy Spirit is to “testify of Jesus”. As we have already discussed the process of testifying to the Lord Jesus has to do with the bringing forth of evidence in support of the facts of whom God is. As believers, we have the grave responsibility of displaying the ministry of the Holy Spirit through our lives through the use of spiritual gifts and ministries. To the extent that we allow the Holy Spirit to work within our churches, will be to the extent that the Holy Spirit will be allowed to” testify of the Lord Jesus”, and bring forth the fullness of God.
Ephesians 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
Ephesians 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
Now let us look at verses above, both of them in the book of Ephesians. The word “fitly framed together” pertains to the building up of the church through the use of spiritual gifts, ministries, offices, and callings. The Apostle Paul in Ephesians four and sixteen has marvelously described the operation of the New Testament church in one single verse. What he in fact says is the following. A local assembly increases, and grows, as each parishioner within the local body supplies his or her part in accordance to the gifts and ministries, which the Lord has given to each of them. This is what Paul means in verse sixteen when he employs the term “every joint supplieth.” Many of our churches do not follow the model described in verse sixteen. Too many churches have too few ministers; there is too much control by leaders whom prohibit the exercise of spiritual gifts and ministries. Likewise there are too many complacent pew sitters who do not grow in their spiritual gifts and ministries, and so do not “carry their burden” of testifying to Jesus. The result is always the same. Only part of the Lord’s fullness is evident, only part of His glory is manifested, and much of the revival that should have taken place, sadly does not come about.
Paul adds furthermore another the phrase; “According to the effectual working in the measure of every part” . Here, he tells us, that “EVERY” parishioner has the responsibility to work within a congregation at his or her “PEAK LEVEL OF SPIRIT LED PERFORMANCE”. This requires uncompromising obedience to God, and dedication to the local body. All of this must be done in line with the giftings, callings, and ministries deposited within each member of the local body by the Lord.
I am of the belief that the church must be more of a school, college, and graduate school than anything else. Time today, does not allow us to discuss the issue of the five-fold ministry found in Ephesians chapter four. Suffice it to say that it is my belief that the senior pastor is the dean of this school. The apostles, prophets, associate pastors, teachers, and evangelists are the professors. The aim is to aid each parishioner become free from demonic oppression, sins, and the hurts from the past. The second phase will be to help each parishioner in discovering his or her spiritual gifts and ministries. The leadership must raise them up in accordance to these gifts as readiness is shown. Then through the leading of the Holy Spirit, they must be released within the church to operate in their giftings and ministries. This is one way to begin bringing forth the fullness of Christ into a local assembly
Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing
Having said all of this, I would like to close today’s study by discussing with you some of the great hurts that we are bringing upon our own churches.
Countless believers today serve the Lord in the chains of past hurts, bondages, and demonic oppression. Their service is of limited benefit to the Lord. I believe that part of the problem lies in that we are not bringing forth the fullness and the presence of God into our local bodies. Our current church models, as we discussed earlier, are set up to discourage and limit the glory of God.
As we know, one of the Lord’s primary victories was to defeat Satan and destroy once and forevermore his works. Every time that the Lord’s glory is revealed, we shall see Him at work destroying the works of the enemy and setting people free.
2Thess 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
The brightness of the Lord’s coming is defined as the manifestation or the appearance of the Lord’s presence. “To destroy” is to make something useless, idle, and non-operational, because it has been broken down and no longer works. The more therefore, that the fullness of the Lord resides in the corporate life of the church, the greater shall be the degree of the Evil One’s works becoming useless and of no effect.
1 John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
In First John three eight, we find the word “destroy” once again. Its definition is just a bit different here. Instead of making the gamut of Satan’s works useless by breaking them down, here the Lord causes them to become undone. But the end product is just the same. The important thing for us to realize is that the undoing or the breaking down of sins, hurts, and bondages are always proportionally related to the fullness of the Person of Christ as manifested in our local assemblies.
Our church model of “pew sitting” molds believers that never press on to discover and mature in their spiritual gifts and ministries. Our churches are full of people that are not contributing their part of bringing in the fullness of God. Because the church is one body made of up of many members, fellow brethren will never get the benefit of the fullness of God that should had been manifested through passive pew sitters. Every believer has a unique way to manifest the Lord that can be never be replaced by anyone else. It is an eternal loss for God and His body.
In the same light, we leaders propagate equal damage, when we use our churches as either “one man shows” or give the liberty of ministry to just a few. We are restricting the fullness of God as we do so. As pastors and ministers we must mentor, raise up, release the ministers and their ministries, and then step back to watch and guide. We are the musical directors of the Lord’s symphony orchestra, the church. Our role is to conduct all the instruments as the play through the ministries and giftings of the body, finally crescendoing into the marvelous music of the Lord’s fullness and glory.
1 Timothy 1:18 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;
Ezra 6:14 And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia
In the above two scriptures, 1Timothy, and Ezra, we see two functions of prophets. Through its relationship to prophecies and words from God, a church in part acquires the vision that is necessary for its warfare, direction, progress, and growth. A church will never succeed in executing and completing all that God has for it, if it limits or prohibits prophets and prophecies. Our job is not to prohibit or limit, but to discern and distinguish between correct and incorrect prophecies.
I Cor 12:10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
In this same light, those that have the gift of the “discernment of spirits” never come forth into their use of them. We know already that discernment of spirits is used to primarily cast out of demons. I would like to also propose the following. The Lord also uses the gift of discernment of spirits to expose false prophets within a congregation and to catch developing patterns of sin and error before it festers and hurts many. With our current church models in place, those that operate within this spiritual realm either remain silent, or never mature spiritually to a point that they recognize that God has called them into this ministry. Our churches many times are so not aware that they are traveling a course contrary to that of the Spirit of God.
Let us study, and start building “according to the pattern shown to us in the mount” of the glory of the Lord.
The church therefore Is the globe’s most important society.