New Wine for New Wineskins June 2008

By , June 2, 2008 3:05 pm

It Is Time To Build (Part 9)


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.


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!

Jesus' disciples found his dealings with the rich young ruler as shocking as most of the people in the majority of churches – including leadership – would find them in a similar situation today.  After all, to many this calibre of young man would represent the bright and shiny future of the church. He had influence in the community and a high profile that could be exploited (particularly in our celebrity worshipping culture) by putting him immediately on the testimony circuit, and most of all to those who are worldly-minded he was just plain rich!  But Jesus was intent on building his church with a solid foundation – not on the sinking sand of worldly position and wealth, and so he had a very different perspective.  

Matthew 19: 23 – 30

23 Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard
(Note: He doesn’t say impossible) it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!”

Matthew 7: 13 – 14

13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Few find it because few bother look for it!  Most stop short in a halfway-house of religion that involves a sinner’s prayer, Sunday morning church attendance, and a few token attempts at getting fired-up that soon fizzle out when the cost of commitment gets in the way of everything else in their lives.  Just a few verses after this Jesus speaks about building on a right foundation.  The way to a right foundation can be difficult and hard on the flesh but it is the only way to experience and enjoy the real and abundant life that Jesus came to give us!  We have to come to him – to help him – he is the way, the truth, and the life!  

Matthew 11: 28 – 30

28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

We should never read this verse except in the light of the narrow gate and the difficult way.  You can’t come into the kingdom any other way!  It is always going to hurt your flesh!

24 And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, “Who then can be saved?”
27 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”
28 Then Peter began to say to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You.”
29 So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, 30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.

When this young man had gone Jesus turned to his disciples (those committed to learning from and being taught by him) and began to teach them.  Only disciples get to see the real deal and understand and experience how the kingdom works!  He revealed to them the hundredfold (abundant) return that comes to those who invest in heaven.  We are to put our trust in God and not in uncertain riches.  Only heaven’s economy is unaffected by financial crises and stock market crashes, runaway inflation and rising interest rates.

Only those who have left everything to follow Jesus and who are willing to invest all that they are and all that have in the kingdom of heaven have a right foundation laid in their lives and will become stronger as they are taken higher.

This young man wanted to add eternal life to all of his other possessions but that won’t ever work.  There is no point in adding another floor to a building that has a faulty foundation because that will just make the building weaker rather than stronger.  Jesus wanted to show this young man (whom he loved) that he was already on shaky ground and that his old life would have to come down before a new life could be built!

2 Corinthians 5: 17 (NIV)

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

As I have been meditating on this the LORD has been showing me so much of how we can get off track and begin to build according to our own plans and design without a proper foundation – a strategy that will always get us into trouble.  This can sometimes happen when we compartmentalise our lives rather than understanding that our whole lives must belong to the LORD and be under his authority.  

For example, in relation to marriage and divorce, the church’s general attitude has over recent years moved away from God’s original plan and design for one man and one woman for life which is the only foundation for a strong family which in turn is the basic building block of society.  By failing to lay a right foundation by emphasising the covenant nature of marriage the church and its impact on society have been weakened through the allowance made for divorce on non-Scriptural grounds.

In recent times there have been several high profile ministers that have gone through divorce without missing a beat in regard to ministry.

It’s not our place to jump in and indiscriminately judge anyone here – we need to pray for these folks and understand the terrific pressures they have no doubt been ministering under. I am simply citing very recent examples of a widespread sickness that has infected the church since the foundation of marriage as a lifelong covenant has no longer been laid unequivocally.  

You cannot separate your life into compartments, but obviously in these cases there has been no thought of not continuing as normal as failure at marriage and success in ministry are obviously no longer deemed to be connected in any way.  Is failing at marriage not indicative of failing at the most basic and foundational level of ministry and service?  We are called to serve one another and to put the interests of others before our own.  If we  cannot apply this with our husband or wife then how can we assume that we are qualified to do it anywhere else?

In the case of one divorcing couple neither party were labelled as being guilty of marital infidelity but there is simply the announcement that due to an inability to find a resolution through counselling the marriage is ending.  If both parties can’t be helped through counselling then does that not imply that there is a stubborn unwillingness to change or release something in at least one of the parties, and so therefore should not – at the very minimum – one of the parties take time out from ministering (including bringing counsel) to others until that issue is resolved?

If you are planning to build an extension to your house and you think that just because the existing house has a solid foundation it won’t be necessary to lay a foundation for the extension then you are deceived.  You cannot add anything to your life and expect it to stand the test of time unless it is built upon the solid foundation of Jesus Christ and his Lordship.  You cannot divide your life up into compartments and exclude some of these compartments from the need to be built on the one and only foundation that cannot be shaken – doing things exactly as the LORD says!

Listen to this!

Psalm 11: 3

3 If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?          

Thank the LORD the answer to that question is in the next verse.

Psalm 11: 4

4 The LORD is in His holy temple, the LORD’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.

The LORD is still on his throne.  He hasn’t changed his mind or changed his ways. His temple in heaven is holy and so his temple on the earth must be holy because it is patterned after the heavenly.

1 Corinthians 3: 16 – 18; 6: 19 – 20; 2 Corinthians 6: 16

16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. 18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. (The old worldly wisdom must come down and the wisdom of God must come up)…19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s…16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “ I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

When the foundations are destroyed there is only one thing that the righteous can do and that is re-lay the foundation and begin to rebuild on a right foundation!

Isaiah 58: 12

12 Those from among you shall build the old waste places; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.

If you stay in the Spirit and allow Him to lead you into truth that sets you free and restores you to God’s purpose you will have dominion but if you go back to living according to the flesh you will find yourself under the domination of the religious and world systems. Never forget – the religious system and the world system (same root spirit) came together to crucify Jesus!  

Galatians 3: 1 – 9

1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you 
(brought you under the control of witchcraft) that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?
5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.

Galatians 5: 1 – 18

1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.
7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.
11 And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. 12 I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!
13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

God created Adam sinless but he fell and became a sinner.  God didn’t recreate us sinless – he made us righteous – and there is a big difference.  To be righteous means to have right standing with God – it means that we can stand in God’s presence without a sense of fear, guilt, or condemnation.  Even if we sin we still have access to come boldly to the throne of grace so that we can obtain mercy and find grace to help in our time of need.

The more that we understand the power of the righteousness we have been made the less we will sin.

The church has suffered for too long because of faulty foundations.  The fundamental, foundational message of the Gospel is that when you are born again you are a new creation – you have been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.  You have been made by God for God.  If that basic foundation is not laid apostolically-prophetically then you will have a church that is unbalanced.  

At one extreme you will have fire and brimstone preaching that whips everyone every time they show up in church and the people will endure it because it simply reinforces the feelings of guilt and condemnation that they are already experiencing.

At the other extreme you have the hyper-success, feel-good message that pampers you and tells you how wonderful you are – that has you amen-ing and whooping even though you are living your own life and doing your own thing with a Jesus attachment that is tailored to fit your needs, ambitions and priorities!

The problem with both these extremes is that they will each leave you feeling empty on the inside and with an unshakeable sense that something is still lacking in your life!

The truth is that even though we are new creations designed to be overcomers the flesh still lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh because there is a battle going on!  Listen!

2 Samuel 3: 1

1 Now there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David. But David grew stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.

IT IS TIME for the LORD’s house to be built!  

Remember – the house of Saul represents the religious system that keeps you bound so that you cannot be obedient to everything that God has commanded and so you hear and don’t do and build your house on the sand.  Every time a storm blows through you are powerless against it and it brings you down because no matter how many religious sacrifices of praise you make or religious prayers you pray these things are no substitute for obedience.  Every time we effectively say “No, Lord” we become weaker in our ability to deal with sin's onslaught on our lives.

The house of David represents the heart after God that blows the lid off every religious box and pursues the leading of the Spirit into the liberty of hearing and doing, and so your house is built on the solid rock of the revelation that Jesus Christ is Lord over every situation and circumstance.  No matter how severe the storm your house stands firm!  Every time we say “Yes, Lord!” we become stronger!

Jesus is building his church – he is rebuilding the tabernacle of David that has fallen down.  He is rebuilding its ruins and setting it up.  He is seeking out and calling to himself the mighty men and women of faith who will do exploits and who will be the church that will cause the rest of the people who are without God and without hope to seek the LORD!

What is your response to the apostolic-prophetic word and anointing that comes to root out, cast down, destroy, throw down and to build and plant?  

Are you going to live in the fear of man and the bondage of a religious system that controls  you through domination, intimidation, and manipulation and that leads to spiritual weakness, death and barrenness?

Or will you say, “YES, LORD – IT IS TIME for your house to be built!”


More next time…


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