Recently in the university training we saw that God desires to build up His house and His city to bring in the New Jerusalem – the mutual habitation of God and man. I enjoyed that we need to take Christ as our centre and everything because Christ Himself is the foundation for God’s building (1 Cor 3:11). In Ephesians 2:20-22 we see the church growing and being built together in spirit, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone. God builds by mingling Himself with the believers, and thus the building is just the increase of Christ!
Individually, we need to be open to His divine dispensing and be saturated by Christ daily. When we contact the Lord in our spirit and touch the source of life this opens the way for the ‘vertical’ fellowship with God. Then corporately, all the members of the Body who enjoy the Lord will grow and be built together organically through the ‘horizontal’ fellowship (Eph 4:16).
During the 2012 students training week in Bower House we covered six people from the Old Testament who worked to recover God’s chosen people out of captivity in Babylon and into Jerusalem. This signifies the coming out of the religious and divisive system of ‘Christianity’ and the returning to the original ground of unity, Christ. The six – Zerubbabel, Joshua, Haggai, Zechariah, Ezra and Nehemiah – represent the need for each type of person in the Lord’s recovery today. Respectively they symbolise the kingship; the priesthood; the prophethood; the enriching, strengthening and purifying work and protection through the building up of the wall around the city.
It is easy to hold onto the concept that these kinds of ‘roles’ in the church life belong to other saints who are perhaps more mature in life (both spiritually and physically!) or gifted in a particular ‘work’. But actually this is a religious view – Satan’s tactic to make us passive Christians. According to the Bible we can clearly see that God desires all members of His Body to function. Each one has (1 Cor 14:26). Ephesians 4:7 says, “But to each one of us, grace was given according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” This grace is actually the divine life which supplies the gifts. Thank You, Lord, for supplying us according to our own measure!
“And He Himself gave some as apostles and some as prophets and some as evangelists and some as shepherds and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ.” (Eph 4:11-12)
With the Lord as our life even the smallest member has a portion to share, a function vital for the building up of the Body. What matters most is not what we can or can’t do according to our natural capability, but that we keep our spirit exercised and our heart pure to love the Lord (Mark 12:30). When we give ourselves as the burnt offering for God’s satisfaction, and say ‘amen!’ to the leading of the Spirit, we become useful channels for the Lord’s life to flow.
We can all be priests, prophets and teachers for God. Our responsibility is simply to spend time to contact the Lord personally and take Christ as the first place in our living. Once we are filled and saturated with the word, we will spontaneously express Him. We must speak for God and forth God!
An example from the Old Testament is the priest-prophet Zechariah, who spoke forth Christ into others because he had living contact with the Lord all the time. He spoke a ministry centred on Christ. This point from the message outline really struck me:
‘A priest is one who is mingled and saturated with the Lord, one who feeds upon the Lord and breathes Him in all day long so that whatever he speaks is just the Lord Himself.’
Lord, make us desperate to gain more of you, to be saturated with Your life and constituted with the word that we may express and represent You!
Today we need to see the revelation of Christ as everything to build the city as the enlargement of God’s house for His return. We must be the ‘Ezras’ to strengthen the recovery with the riches of Christ. In the book of Ezra are five ‘ups’: stirred up, rise up, go up, bring up and build up.
Oh Lord, stir up our spirit! Cause us to rise up with the Body for Your sake! Lord, make us those who go up to Jerusalem, bringing up the riches of Christ to build up the Church!
[Sharing by sister R. Howe from her enjoyment in the recent 2012 Students Training in Bower House]