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Building up believers and the New Testament church

Spiritual Understanding of the Church

God's Purpose in the Church is Eternal

By His Spirit, God is calling all the world to repentance, but He is working His end purpose in only one group of people: the church, the body of Christ on earth, all those who have been called out and delivered from sin by repenting and receiving Christ as their Savior. The church can only be the church if it is on the right foundation. Anything man builds by his own power and knowledge can never be the church, and it will continue to fail. Men must see what God is doing and come out of what man is doing, to come together in Christ with only Christ as Head. For a many-membered body to become one, and for God to bring His church to a place of being "without spot or wrinkle" (Ephesians 5:27), Christ must be in control, with each member recognizing Him as Head. Then God's will and purpose will be seen, worked and lived out in His body.

In Ephesians 3:17-21 Paul writes, "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." This scripture brings out several important truths. First, that God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us. Then, that which God is doing is everlasting and eternal. It is not being done in obscurity, or just for the hour in which we live. God is doing a mighty work of grace that will stand as a testimony and manifestation of Himself throughout all eternity. So what is the work that God is doing? He is bringing His people together, as one, which shall make us the body of Christ, His church.

God has already given birth to the church; it is already a spiritual reality in this hour. This is not a mystery that has been hidden, except to those who do not have spiritual eyes to see. God will reveal what He is doing to those who have "eyes to see" and "ears to hear," to those who can discern by the Spirit what God is doing and consent to it. These are those who desire what God is doing, and pursue it--those who believe and appropriate what God reveals by the Spirit. God works His plan in His body by the power of the Holy Ghost, so we cannot fully appreciate what God is doing until we have partaken of the living Word and experienced the outworking of the eternal Christ within our own bodies.

There are divine laws and governments working in the body of Christ, and all gifts and offices are of a spiritual nature. The natural mind has tried to duplicate them, and failed. But God reveals His church to those who are spiritual, and produces it through them. We must look through the Spirit (the eyes of God) to have spiritual understanding and wisdom. This is how we can think as Christ thinks, and see what God has done and what He is doing, in the hour in which we live.

Some would want to have fellowship with Christ without having fellowship with His body. Some may have a natural understanding of the church, but this will never bring God's church into being. All that is natural is incompatible. Man's natural movements and denominations cannot come together in the Spirit for the fulfillment of God's plan. Only His divine life will bring us together in oneness. We cannot let any movement of our times, any word of our lips, any desire of our hearts or need of our physical life interfere with or take the place of the expression of the will, the glory and the power of God. When we have let Christ become the head of our individual lives and also the head of the local expression of His body, then alone shall God be glorified.

God is calling out a people unto Himself. He is building a house for His praise that will contain His glory. It is not man who is building, but God who is building by the Spirit. As we move in the Spirit, as we yield to the word of life that proceeds from God, as we recognize that God wants to express Himself in each local area, and as we move in the God-ordained order of the local church, we will see the fulfillment of all that God has purposed and completed in Christ Jesus.

We should always keep in mind that what God is doing is eternal. We are merely seeing the working out of that which God has said is already completed. As far as God is concerned, what He has spoken is done. Now we, as believers and partakers of the Spirit whom God has sent, must be taken up completely with God's will, not only for eternity but also for this hour. As God brings forth the truth by the Spirit, in His time it will fully accomplish His purpose.