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Building up believers and the New Testament church

Spiritual Understanding of the Church

The Church is Alive in the Spirit

Jesus said, "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24). Only those that have spiritual understanding can fulfill God's requirements. This is not dependent upon us, but on God's revealing to us and our obedience to that revelation. God's requirements can only be fulfilled in the Spirit, not by the works of the law, the keeping of commandments, or by our own goodness. We must cease from our own works and let Christ's power work through us. The working of the Spirit of God through us is the "rest" that God has called each one of us to enter into (Hebrews 3 & 4). We cannot please God or fulfill the plan that God has ordained unless we are willing to enter into this rest. This is not a state that we attain to one time, but a walk in the Spirit. It is not "do's and don'ts," but walking in the light. Only as we live in the life that Christ gives us can we experience perfect freedom, walking in God's perfect will. God is completing His nature in us. This is God's perfect work in each member of the body of Christ: to bring them to His completion, a church without spot or wrinkle.

We worship God in spirit and in truth only as our spirits draw strength and ability from the Holy Spirit. To worship in truth is to fulfill God's word in the power of the Spirit, by partaking of it--by letting it be manifested in our life. Our lives must be completely prostrated before God, lived out in Him for His glory. This is Christ becoming all in all, one expression, through all the local expressions. Nothing is done to please man; all is done to please God. The building and completion is all to God's glory, to offer up spiritual sacrifices. This is God's perfect plan, worked out by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, by complete surrender to Him, that brings about a perfect expression of His body. It is not a perfect expression of us, but of Him. It is not us being perfected; it is His work being revealed in us. We are being made one by the Spirit in His body, as we worship in spirit and in truth.

This walk in the Spirit is characterized by our natural lives being broken. Rather than a life of "spiritual" habits and rituals, our lives are now made up of acts of the life of God. As we are led by the Spirit, we learn to please the Lord in all things, rather than walking after our own desires and ways. Our life may seem inconsistent to others, but to God it will be a life consistently doing His will, being conformed to His image. We must learn to please God rather than man! Too long we have been kept from coming together because of our differences. For Christ's church to come together, our individual habits and rituals must go. The church is the expression of Christ alone. Each member will have his or her function as it pleases the Lord, and God has also put divine laws, gifts, and ministries in His church for the perfecting of the body. To bring this about, we must be under God's master plan, the stern discipline of the Spirit, the life of God. Christ's church is according to pattern, and the Spirit is working out every detail in us, but it is Christ who fills all in all.

This is a love affair: the love and life coming from God, beginning and ending in Him, the Spirit drawing us together. If we possess the life of God, we have no choice but to come together, being subject one to another, seeing the real power of God in the unity of His body. As we are in Him in weakness, God's power works in us mightily. We will find that we cannot manifest Christ unless He is in His proper place as the head of His church. Only as we are submissive to Christ in all things can we experience the full power of God working in His body. We will also be willing to draw life from other members of the body. As the finger cannot function without the arm, so we learn to rely upon the life of God in other members. We begin to move in the oneness of the life of Christ.

The Spirit is leading us to completeness in Christ's church. In the body, we draw life from Him, not from men's doctrines or teachings, and therefore we have a pure flow of life. If we are being led by the Spirit, subject only to Him, we are not taken up with other bodies and movements. There is no private interpretation of the scriptures, but it is the Holy Spirit who reveals truth and teaches us of Christ, the living Word. So we must ever be directed and led by the Spirit, thus fulfilling God's will and having no condemnation, being able to stand as God would have us, perfect in Christ Jesus.