Msg 2 – Addendum to God’s Household Order: New Testament Ministry Produced Fellowship

 

How does seeing God’s economy impact us? What we see is what we will to gravitate towards. In the Old Testament, Abraham had a vision of a city whose builder and maker is God (Heb 11:10) which is ultimately the New Jerusalem. The New Jerusalem is the final product of God’s building, God’s work. It will be glorious. It’s Christ in the Church, it’s Christ in His regenerated, transformed, and glorified people — the Lamb’s wife (Rev 21:9,10). Everything is God is doing in time is a process to produce that final result. The Bible is the account of how God moved to produce the New Jerusalem. There are steps along the way – the big ones being creation, followed by the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ and all of the accomplishments this represents. The next big step will be the manifestation of the Sons of God, the Church. Then there will be the kingdom, and then even that will be headed up and Christ will deliver the kingdom to the Father. God will be all in all (1 Cor 15:24). The new heavens and the new earth with the New Jerusalem will come down out from God.

A vision constrains what you see, and what you see is what you’ll gravitate towards. God has given us a vision of His household and economy. This vision defines what we’re doing. For example, evangelists should not be at odds with teachers. The evangelist says “Well, I’m just out here winning souls. My job isn’t to teach.” But this isn’t really true. The gifts of evangelist, prophet, apostle, shepherd and teacher were given for the equipping of the saints in order to do the work of the ministry, “unto the building up of the Body of Christ” (Eph 4:11-12).

The building up of the Body of Christ is the goal of all ministry. However if we are not regulated by any kind of vision, then what we do in service may later need to be “undone”. One example of this is the seeker-sensitive movement, which is an evangelical effort to make things more comfortable for unbelievers in hopes they’ll show up to church where they’ll eventually hear the gospel and be saved. Unfortunately, this movement produces a mixed multitude which becomes damaging for the fellowship. It produces a lukewarm mixture where the fellowship is quenched, the spirit is quenched. There is great loss.

We need to understand that God is building, regardless of the apparent condition of the Church. The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church that Christ will build (Mt 16:18). Christ is building His Church. It’s a hidden work that He builds in man. Christ makes His home in man’s heart and He roots and grounds man in love (Eph 3:16-18). This brings us into the fellowship, even if we’re isolated or physically separated. When Paul was in prison, he said, “For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.” Colossians 2:5 KJV.

The fellowship of the Spirit is not limited by time and space, but the expression of that fellowship is located in time and space. There are groups of people who, to varying degrees, express the reality of God’s building as a testimony. In this age, that expression is called a lampstand. In resurrection, there will be the New Jerusalem, but presently, we have the lampstands and those are local expressions where the building of the Body takes place. In Revelation chapter 1, the Churches are presented as lampstands shining in the darkness of the present evil age.

Ephesians talks about how the whole church, the whole building, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord. This is speaking of the universal church the Body of Christ (Eph 2:22-23). All saved believers enter into the fellowship wherever they are. The fellowship is the fellowship of the Father and the Son (1 John 1:3). It’s not a social group…it is the fellowship of the Father and the Son being enlarged to include us, through faith. Being included in this fellowship makes us a part of God’s building, which is growing into a holy temple in the Lord. Paul says we are, “…are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:22 KJV.

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