We have been ministering along the line of the church, that glorious instrument that the Bible calls the body of Christ, and in the course of our ministry we have mentioned a few times that it is God’s purpose that we should take one step beyond the Bile. And I made this statement, probably, in order to stir up your minds that you might begin to inquire into these things in the light of God written Word.
We’ve had some inquires into these statements, and I think that maybe some misunderstand when you begin to speak about taking one step beyond the Bible, although we have explained that we mean by this, to come experimentally into the wonderful experiences that are contained in the Bible; and we mean by this, and reason upon the premise, that the church is not a mere historical instrument, and that Christ is not a historical Christ. We mean by that that the church was in history and had a place in history, but that the church is a living entity in the plan and purpose of God. Jesus Christ has a place in history, the Jesus of Nazareth that walked the shores of Galilee, but He is not a mere historical figure that is dead, or dormant, that has ceased to be, but He is a Living Christ.
The Apostle Paul said that other foundation could no man lay than that which was laid, which is Jesus Christ, and then, in the next breath he said, “I have laid the foundation.” These words are very significant because they teach us that the foundation of the Christ has to be laid in every generation, and in every individual that will rise to the salvation of the Lord and into the fullness of the Kingdom of God and obtain his glorious heritage. Therefore, the same ministry that it took to lay the foundation in the first century, this same ministry it takes today in the laying of the foundation of the Christ.
We have explained that God moves in restoration power to restore ministry that is not in existence, that He might bring forth and reveal and interpret Himself to mankind. So we have seen in times past how God has restored, on occasion, the ministry that would awaken a people to a potent truth.
It hasn’t been too long ago that God restored the truth: “The just shall live by faith,” and it is hard for us to believe, who live in this hour and who hear so much about faith, to even conceive that there was a generation who was not even awakened to the fact that the just shall live by faith, and that about the highest thing known in religion was a man working for his salvation, or doing penance, or going through some kind of austerity to appease an angry God; and “the just shall live by faith,” was a revelation that came by the Holy Ghost to begin a restoration in the midst of mankind.
We know, as history went on, there were other periods of time in which God restored certain potent truths that He might bring into being, in the end of the age, a people in whom all these truths are consummated and manifested in terms of living personality. So, therefore, when we speak of restoration, we are speaking of the coming together of a body of people today who operate and function and move and have their being in the Holy Spirit on the premise and the basis of the revelation that’s contained in the Bible; but who do not merely stay and lose themselves in the written Word, but rise out of the written Word in the Living Word of God. That doesn’t mean that we throw the Bible out of the way, but it means that there is a divine fulfillment of all things that are written in the Bible.
Now the Apostle, in speaking of this church in Romans 12:4-8 says, “Whereas in one physical body we have many parts, organs, members, and all of these parts do not have the same function, or use, so we, numerous as we are, are one body in Christ, the Messiah, and, individually we are parts one of another, mutually dependent on one another, having gifts, faculties, talents, qualities, that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them: he whose gift is prophesy, let him prophesy according to the proportion of faith. He whose gift is practical service, let him give himself to serving; he who teaches, to his teaching; he who exhorts and encourages, to his exhortation. He who contributes, let him do it in simplicity and liberality,; he who gives aid and superintends, with zeal and singleness of mind; he who does acts of mercy, with genuine cheerfulness and joyful eagerness.” Amplified Version.
We see here that the Apostle refers to the church as a place of living faculties. Now we are not trying to do away with man’s natural function. We are not trying to say that it does not have a part in the glorious operation of the Christ; but we are saying that even man’s natural function is far below the level that God would have it to be when it is separated from the supernatural endowments that are peculiar to the mighty baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Someone wrote us a letter the other day in which they made a statement that in their particular area of the country, where we have a broadcast, that about the only concept that people have is that the baptism of the Holy Spirit ceased with the first century because that was the coming of the Holy Spirit and there was no need for it thereafter. Now this is a most foolish statement because if there was a need for the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the first century to get this thing started that the Bible calls the church, then there is certainly a need for a continuation of that same function in every generation and in every century. That would be like saying that people don’t need to be born again because they were born again in the first century. We know this is foolish, and we know that it’s an attempt on man’s part to depart, and to stay away from, the supernatural; an attempt on man’s part to accomplish, by synthetic methods, that which can only be accomplished by the ministry of the Christ.
So, when we read in the Bible about the ministry of the Christ, that doesn’t mean that His ministry ceased over 1900 years ago, that was the beginning of His ministry. And even as He ministered to the sick and healed the sick, cast out devils, on occasion even raised the dead, and spoke of the wonderful wisdom of the Kingdom of God, and said, “It’s your Father’s good pleasure to give unto you the Kingdom,” this same Christ today extends His ministry into the church.
Well, now, what is the problem? We find that down through the centuries there has come into the consciousness of God’s people, or professing Christians, various kinds of bondages that have overshadowed the truth and have hindered them from rising into the glorious ministry of the Christ.
The Apostle Paul tell us that, in this Christ, there are no middle walls of partition, meaning that He has broken down every middle wall of partition, meaning that there is no prejudice in the Christ, no prejudice as far as race is concerned, no prejudice as far any anything is concerned in the relationship of God’s people upon the premise of the Christ. It means every middle wall of partition has been broken down.
Someone has asked the question, “How is the Kingdom of God related to the church?’ And I think this question has contained within it, “Is there any relationship between the Kingdom of God and the church?” Well, the church was made to express the Kingdom of God. It was made to fulfill the Kingdom of God. It was made to reveal the Kingdom of God because, in the church, we find the only premise wherein all the middle walls of partition are broken down, and whereon man can meet on a common basis.
Now the Kingdom of God has to do with powers related to that realm. Who can think of a kingdom without thinking of certain powers that are related to that kingdom?
The Bible tells us that, in the church, God has set apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. This is a five-fold ministry, the purpose of which is to manifest the Kingdom of God in this five-fold nature. This five-fold ministry is set in the church, not the first century church, the second century church, but in every church that’s brought into being that is truly a church in God, no matter what century it is in, has contained within it, or should have contained within it, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers for the purpose of bringing the entire church, the body of Christ, into ministry, and seeing that every member receives a divine imparting of a divine gift and can operate that gift and learns how to grow up in it and to function, in order that their profiting might appear unto all, and that the body of Christ might be built in the fullness of power.
Now someone else has asked the question, “Do I think there should be healing in the church?” And I take it that you mean, “Should there be the power of healing people’s sicknesses in the church?” The Bible is filled with it. Who can read the New Testament without hearing and seeing that healing is in the church. You have to do an awful lot of man-made explanation to explain healing out of the church.
The Bible tells us that there are to be gifts of healing in the church, that means the operation of divine gifts in the members of the body of Christ by which disease can be overcome. Now we don’t mean by this that God is not in medical science, but we mean by that that this is an operation in the church, and we are dealing with the church now, not with medical science, that in the church, the body of Christ, there should be the powers of expressing the healing virtue of the Christ and delivering those who are bound, regardless of what kind of bondage it is, spiritual, physical, or what kind, and bringing into being a demonstration of the fact that our God can supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus, whether they be spiritual, physical, financial, or what type of need they are; and that God never meant to bring into being a people who would operate on a beggar stage, but He meant to bring into being a people who would function in faith and bring into being from His mighty warehouse and His mighty storehouse of divine gifts, the wonderful things that are peculiar to Him and cause all men to see that if the Kingdom of God is sought and it’s righteousness first, all other things will be added unto us.