As we continue on with our series, let us focus our attention of the wonderful organism the Bible calls the church. The church was designed to be the habitation of God through the Eternal Spirit. From the time the believer is born of God, he or she is destined to become an integral part of the body of the Christ. The eternal Son of God came over 1900 years ago that He might bring many sons into His glory and share with them His heritage.
Now the nation of Israel fell into bondage many times during its eventful history in the school of God. A time of slavery was always consummated by Jehovah bringing about a glorious restoration. By this we wee that the God of restoration restored His people back to the premise of divine blessing many times during their eventful history. By the same token the church, in its eventful history, has experienced seasons of restoration wherein God called His people to come forth out of their bondage into the glorious liberty of the Holy Spirit.
Today we see God’s people scattered and peeled in the Egypt and Babylon of denominationalism. Let a prophet of God touch its divisive walls and it cries: “false prophet.” Let a Jesus Christ heal the sick, cast out devils, and free the oppressed, and there comes the gnashing of teeth and the cry, “He has a devil, away with the heretic.” Let an apostle defrock the false doctrines of religion and minister the Christ of resurrection and the cry goes forth, “This man speaks of strange Gods.” But regardless of the cries and the howls that come up from behind the wall of slavery and the prison houses of the devil, God still has, and He will always have, a witness in the earth of divine truth until His purpose is completely consummated in the earth.
Jesus said, “Upon this rock will I build my church and the gates of hell and the powers of the infernal region shall not overpower it.” This Rock was a stone of stumbling to Israel because it was conceived in the womb of a virgin and was born by the direct operation of the Holy Spirit. It was a stone of stumbling because this Rock, Christ Jesus, bypassed the orthodox religion, with its endless maze of dead end streets. This Christ was a stone of stumbling because He ignored the professional clergy of the day. He came to raise up a priesthood that was not legislated nor determined by the mind of man. Will this Rock, this Christ, produce a church that knows not the power of His resurrection and is totally ignorant of the gifts of the Holy Spirit? Is He out to produce a church that is any less powerful than the ministry that He demonstrated along the shores of Galilee when He healed the sick and cast out devils and interpreted the Kingdom of God to the world in no uncertain terms?
“Oh,” was the cry of the apostle, “that I may know Him, that I may become more and more deeply and progressively acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His person more strongly and more clearly.” Amplified version. What is so peculiar about this Christ that a man would count the prestige of a high birth as dung? Why would a man who had attained to the heights of secular knowledge lay it at the foot of the cross and evaluate it as nothing in the presence of this Christ? He saw that in this Christ resided infinite wisdom and knowledge beyond the wildest dreams of man. He saw the complete conquering of disease and bondage in this Christ. He saw a redemption in this Christ that had not just come to bring about a legalistic order, that that had come to bring a complete and full deliverance of humanity and to raise a people up out of the confines and the shackles of death into the eternal realms of eternal life.
Now Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians reveals his passion to see all men come to the deep and intimate knowledge of the Christ, with an experimental insight into the divine mysteries. He prayed that the Spirit of revelation in the knowledge of the Christ might rest upon them mightily By this we see the church Jesus was speaking of has an affinity for the Spirit of revelation and that it is not a foreign thing to it for this Holy Spirit to move in it and upon it and bring about a manifestation of His power.
Now Ephesians 2:22 tells us that the church is the fixed abode of God through the Holy Spirit. This helps us to understand the meaning of 1Cor. 12:7, where it tells us the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. It then tells us what the manifestations of the Holy Spirit are, and lists the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit that are to be in operation in the church. You can read about these gifts of the Spirit in 1Cor chapters 12, 13 & 14. Now these are the weapons of the church and the means by which the church is edified, or built. It is God’s purpose to distribute the gifts to every believer in the organism of the church.
We have referred to 1Cor 12, 13 & a4 as a spiritual sandwich. Chapter 13, the love chapter, is the meat, and chapters 12 and 14, which deal with spiritual gifts and manifestations, are the bread. Now you can’t have a sandwich and you can’t have the perfect order of this cluster that’s manifested in these three chapters if you leave one or the other out. Therefore, in the first verse of chapter 14 we are told to earnestly pursue and seek to acquire this love and to cultivate and earnestly desire to cultivate the spiritual endowments, especially that you may prophesy.
All the things of God are appropriated by faith. You cannot have salvation if you do not believe in, nor are aware of, the existence of it. You cannot take a step of faith toward something you do not believe to be operational. In other words, for God to heal you you must first come to understand that God is a healer and that He can heal you, and that it’s His purpose to heal you; and then, as you take a step of faith toward the appropriation of this divine healing, He will take a step toward you and a wonderful operation of His power will take place in your body.
Now when I speak of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit I speak of something that has to do with living personality. Jesus said to the group of people, “You search the scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life; but you would not come to Me that you might have eternal life.”
Now Jesus Christ came to a generation that seemed to be locked within the confines of the Scripture and could not conceive that God could translate that which was written in the Bible into terms of living personality and living experience and bring about a manifestation of His presence in the form of flesh.
In 1Tim 4:14 we find Paul admonishing Timothy in these words, “Do not neglect the gift which is in you, which was directly imparted to you by the Holy Spirit by prophetic utterance when the elders laid their hands upon you at your ordination, or at your setting apart, or at your consecration, when you were settled in the ministry that the Lord had called you to. Now he tells us here that the elders laid their hands on this man Timothy and that there was a direct imparting of a gift and there was a manifestation of prophecy; meaning that the Holy Ghost moved upon one of these elders, or two or more of them, and they prophesied the purpose of God over the life of Timothy. Now this doesn’t mean that their prophecy was a denial of the Bible, nor does it mean that it was a travesty of the Bible, but it does man that they did prophesy by manifestation of the Holy Spirit, and that the prophecy was in perfect accordance with that which was written in the Bible and was not a denial of any truths contained therein.