New Wine for New Wineskins July 2008

By , June 28, 2008 4:44 pm

It Is Time To Build  (Part 10)

 

 

Haggai 1: 12 – 14

12 Then … all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him; and the people feared the presence of the LORD. 13 Then Haggai, the LORD’s messenger, spoke the LORD’s message to the people, saying, “I am with you, says the LORD.” 14 So the LORD stirred up the spirit of … all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God.

Ephesians 2: 19 – 22

19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

IT IS TIME FOR THE LORD’S HOUSE TO BE BUILT!

Acts 15: 14 – 17

14 Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name (church = ekklesia = called out ones). 15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written:
16 ‘ After this I will return and will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down;
I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up;
17 So that the rest of mankind may seek the LORD, even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, says the LORD who does all these things.’


Why the Tabernacle of David?  Because it represented a heart after God!  It was a prophetic picture of the church!  

In the Tabernacle of Moses you had to come through the Altar of Sacrifice (Burnt Offering), then to the Brazen (Bronze) Laver where you could see how filthy you were and wash off all the stains.  Then you came through the first curtain into the Holy Place where the Golden Lampstand, the Table of Showbread, and the Altar of Incense were located.  There was another veil separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy (Holy of Holies) where the Ark of the Covenant was placed which represented the manifest presence of God.  Only the High Priest could enter into the Most Holy Place and he could only go in once a year to make atonement for the people.  If he hadn’t prepared himself properly then he was a dead man.

The Tabernacle of David however was very different.  There was no curtain or veil separating the Ark of the Covenant – God’s manifest presence – from the people.  David’s Tabernacle was a prophetic picture of the New Covenant church where the manifest presence and glory of God are accessible to all.  

Jesus was the sacrifice that was acceptable once and for all to God. When he cried “It is finished!” from the Cross the veil in the Temple that separated the people from God’s presence was ripped in two, but even more importantly the veil of the Most Holy Place in heaven was ripped open so that all could boldly come and obtain mercy and access grace to help in times of need.

1 Timothy 3: 14 – 15

14 These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; 15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

Jesus said, “I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH!”  The church is the house of God – it is God’s address.  People looking for God should be able to find him in church!  Jesus said that when the church comes together (regardless of how small the numbers) in his name – under his Lordship – he would be there!

When the church is built according to his design – apostolically-prophetically – it will fulfil its purpose.  Sadly, too often the building of the church has been taken out of the Lord’s hands and so his design and plan to rebuild the Tabernacle of David has ended up in ruins.  The church cannot work until it is working the way God designed it to work!

Remember – God never intended the church to be built pastorally as has traditionally been the case.  He planned for the church to be built apostolically.

We are born again when we come through the Cross (the Altar of Sacrifice) and believe that the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross was sufficient for the removal of our sin.  We are then baptised (the Brazen Laver) identifying with Jesus’ death and resurrection and receiving by faith that the old life is gone and the new is come.  

1 Corinthians 1: 30

30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption

We then pass through the first veil as we are added to the Church.  People can attend church and yet never be added to the church because until you are born again there is a veil over your understanding as to what the Church is about.  To be honest people should not be able to attend an apostolically built church for an extended period without either surrendering to the Lordship of Jesus Christ or stomping out in rebellion and offence.  Paul put it this way:

1 Corinthians 14: 24 – 25

24 …if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. 25 And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.

The church is open and accessible to all but it is as you pass through the first veil that you truly enter church as God designed and intended it.

Acts 2: 40 – 47

40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.


The apostles’ doctrine and fellowship (The Golden Lampstand – the entrance of God’s word brings light and as we walk in the light we have fellowship with one another), the breaking of bread (The Table of Showbread), and prayer (The Altar of Incense).  And because there is no longer any veil between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place the presence and the power and the glory of God are manifested in signs and wonders.

Let’s look at a perfect model of an apostolically built church. First, we need to understand that the gift of apostle is not hierarchical – it doesn’t mean that someone who is an apostle is the biggest big-shot and the hottest hot-shot.  In fact it would appear that the apostolic ministry has more hardship attached to it than some of the other ministries.

1 Corinthians 4: 8 – 10

8 You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us—and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you! 9 For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored!

2 Corinthians 6: 4 – 10

4 …in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, 5 in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; 6 by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, 7 by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

2 Corinthians 11: 23 – 29

23 …in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?

We need to be who God called us and commissioned us to be or we will not have the grace to accomplish what we have been called and commissioned to do.  To be an apostle is no greater than to be any other part of the Body.  We should never compare ourselves with anyone else because we will either see that we are less successful than them and become discouraged or we will see ourselves as more successful and become proud.  Discouragement and pride will both hinder us from fulfilling our calling!

Acts 19

1 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples 2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”

Remember – the apostolic anointing is a “rooting” anointing!  Paul starts rooting as soon as he arrives.  Many people would have been content and very blessed to discover a quaint little church with a group of disciples – especially in a city like Ephesus.  But Paul is an apostle and apostles are anointed to set things in order – to lay foundations upon which the church can be built according to God’s design. And so he goes for what today would be deemed to be the jugular!  With a question like this he is either going to kill any further fellowship stone dead or he is going to take this church forward into the fullness of God’s plan. He obviously recognises that something is lacking in the life of this church and so he doesn’t pussy-foot around – he addresses what he discerns is lacking!  

So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”

Thank God for honesty!  These folks could easily have been offended and become very defensive about their experience but they were obviously aware that there was something lacking in their lives and were hungry for more of God!

3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?”  So they said, “Into John’s baptism.”

Oh man!  They are ready to hear about the Holy Spirit and Paul just can’t quit rooting!  “What does it matter what kind of baptism they received?” would be the cry of many in the church today.  There are those who are excited about the folks in the established churches who are being baptised in the Holy Spirit and that is all good and well but if they have not been water baptised as believers then there is something lacking in their foundation.  I have seen many people move forward in their spiritual lives because they received teaching on the meaning of baptism and allowed what was missing in their experience to be corrected.  The religious system will often resist those who have been baptised into the system as babies from being re-baptised as believers.  Some are told that they can never hold office in the church if they go through with it.  Those who are converted to Christianity from other religions are generally cut off from their family and community at the point of baptism as opposed to the point of conversion.  This in itself signifies the supernatural impact of baptism upon our lives.  Baptism is not just a religious ritual – it is a commandment that is very definitely to be obeyed subsequent to repentance and faith.

4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”
5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

Paul sets things in order and the power of God flows to them and through them equipping them to be witnesses.

7 Now the men were about twelve in all.

These folks were a miracle – just as all today who succeed in breaking out of the control of a religious system are a miracle.  If you are going to stand fast in the freedom of Christ then your love for him and your desire to do things his way must exceed your allegiance to a religious system regardless of how many generations of your family were under its domination.  

8 And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God. 9 But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus.

Paul sought to reach out to the religious people in Ephesus but some began to speak against what he was teaching and sowing seeds of discord and confusion and so Paul separated the disciples – those committed to being taught the message of the kingdom and being prepared and equipped for the work of the ministry – and continued ministering at a new location.  New wine must have new wineskins!  Those who think that the old is better can’t move forward into the new!
 
10 And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

As Paul taught in Ephesus the message spread to the next level and all who lived in the region of Asia minor – part of modern-day Turkey – heard the good news of the kingdom. Some may have come to hear Paul preach and teach but it is more likely that those who were being raised up by him were moving through the region preaching the same message themselves.  Apostolic churches are places where people are prepared, equipped, and sent.  They are missions churches and not just maintenance churches.  
   
11 Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.

Because people were believing the message of the kingdom they were receiving the miracles of the kingdom.  Churches that are built apostolically are places where the message of healing and deliverance is an integral part of the gospel of salvation.

13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” 14 Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so.
15 And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”
16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

The name of Jesus is not a mantra – you can’t expect power without order.  If you are not submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and under his authority then you don’t have authority.  The devils should know your name.  They should tremble every morning when you get out of bed!

17 This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. 18 And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. 19 Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver.

When churches are built apostolically the work goes deep – rooting out, casting down, destroying, and throwing down – before building and planting.  The cost of discipleship is clearly laid out – it’s all or nothing!  You can’t successfully minister the full gospel unless you are under authority and God’s kingdom comes first.  There are certain things that are going to have to be set in order, there is going to be an adjustment of priorities, and some things will have to go altogether.

20 So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.

There is only one way and that is God’s way!  Jesus is building a church against which the gates of hell cannot prevail because his church prevails against the gates of hell!  You cannot call him “Lord” and not do what he says!  He is building his church with those who have learned to say, “Yes, LORD!”

Those who are not willing to compromise his word but who boldly proclaim the gospel in all of its fullness in every place and among every people!

IT IS TIME FOR THE LORD’S HOUSE TO BE BUILT!

YES, LORD!


 

One Response to “New Wine for New Wineskins July 2008”

  1. Sharky says:

    svfz0G Good point. I hadn’t thought about it quite that way. 🙂

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