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Building up believers and the New Testament church

All Begins in Revelation

"We impart this from words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those that possess the Spirit. The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man judges all things but is himself to be judged by no one..." (I Cor. 2:13)

In considering the spiritual outworking of the church, we need to see who is doing the work and how the work is being done. The work of God is being done by the Spirit. This is revealed to us in Ephesians 2:22, as the apostle Paul says to the believers in Ephesus, "You also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit."

We also need to realize that the work that is being done is a spiritual work. The process begins with a revelation of who Jesus is and of who we are in Christ. After revelation comes submission to the Lord, to the measure He has shown us of Himself. Submission always brings obedience to what we have seen.

God is not doing many different things. In this age, God is building His church. All the Spirit's working is towards the establishment of the church, through what has been done in Christ at the cross. This is where the Lord reveals His great wisdom. In salvation He brings us into the body of Christ, the church. In filling the believer with the Spirit, the Lord equips each member to function in the body. As we have already said, the working of the church is all spiritual, which means that everything that is done is being done by the power of God.

We could say that if we want to see what God is doing, we must look to the church. In the church God is working with lively stones, members that are filled with the Spirit, but more than filled--controlled by the Spirit. The thing that makes members of the body of Christ unique in the world is that they possess the Spirit of the Lord. Now with the indwelling of the Spirit each member can express and reveal God's nature. Jesus said, "You shall be witnesses unto me." This was directly tied to the coming of the Holy Spirit to abide within the believer. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the only thing that can make this witness possible, and a reality. The Holy Spirit gives each member the ability that is needed to be a part of the body of Christ and to function in the body.

Ephesians 3:2: "Assume that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it now has been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit."

Ephesians 3:7: "Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God's grace (note the gift of God's grace) which was given me by the working of His power."