“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”
The church of our Lord Jesus Christ is not of this world. It is not the result of earthly endeavours and it is not sustained by the efforts and ingenuity of Adam. His body is eternal and perfect in every respect and it has an earthly manifestation. This entity has always been represented through the annals of time but was made evident on a specific day in fulfillment with the type as given in the mount. Fifty days after the wave offering of the first fruits, a feast was to be observed in which two wave loaves were presented, of two tenths meal of fine flour and baked with leaven (Lev. 23:15ff). This was the day of Pentecost when the Word of God by the prophet Joel was made manifest before all flesh and His Spirit was poured out upon all flesh. This was the time of the sounding of the seventh trumpet when the mystery of God was finished as He revealed that His Spirit upon the nations was the same Spirit that abode in His people of national Israel. The church in the wilderness was fully discovered as “the multitude came together and were confounded because that every man heard them speak in his own language” (Acts 2:6). And God explained this mystery as being a building perfectly and completely framed together that supplied every need of the members and performed exactly as He intended.
This “habitation of God through the spirit” is not some illusive concept that one hopes to arrive at some day and establish a permanent residence of peace and tranquility. It is the vibrant, fully functional and effectual body of the living God manifested in earthen vessels afore prepared unto glory. He has removed the captivity of the ineffectual types and foreshadows of the law, which could not make the doer thereof perfect nor appease the conscience of the forgiveness of sin, by nailing those ‘handwriting of ordinances’ to His cross. He has freed the bondage of corruption and has given gifts to the saints, members in particular, “according to the measure of the gift of Christ”. These gifts are not for the aggrandizement of the dust of the earth or for the improvement of the Adamic shell which shall soon return unto the dust from whence it came. These gifts are not for the improvement of the holy brethren born of incorruptible seed for; “whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin because His seed remains in him and he cannot sin because he is born of God” (I John 3:9). The Bride is Holy without spot nor blemish in Him and cannot be improved upon. So these gifts must then be given because of the frailty and weakness of the earthen vessel and the contradiction of sin.
This is the conflict that remains until such time as the tabernacle of this dwelling is dissolved (II Cor. 5:1). It involves the warfare between the nature of Adam and the divine nature, born of the Spirit. The Adamic nature lusts after temporal things, is drawn away after the things of this world and is that law in the carnal members that when a child would do good, evil is present. This is the leaven of the feast that shall never be purged until the time of the habitation is ended. There is another law that delights after the law of God and is contrary to the things of this world. These two are incompatible so that when the fruit of the Spirit, being faith, causes belief in the truth, the flesh cannot receive the things of the Spirit and therefore lives in unbelief. When the peace that passes all understanding keeps the heart and mind of the children of hope in Christ Jesus, the eyes of Adam are give to see the wind and the waves and to fear the unknown. Adam sees an empty barrel of meal and cruiz of oil, the widow, her son and the prophet eat each day their daily bread.
Therefore, because of the missing parts and broken pieces of this relationship in the impotence of the flesh, God has given gifts in His church for the mending of the saints. These are not give to halt the warfare and seek articles of capitulation but are to fill up that which is lacking and completely furnish the saints while they are partakers of this flesh and blood. This completion is not found in abundance or prosperity in the delicacies of the land of Canaan but it is found in the suffering of trial and tribulations for herein is faith proved. Since the captain of salvation was made complete through sufferings when He brought forth many sons into glory (Heb. 2:10), so the brethren are companions in tribulation and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ (Rev. 1:9). They are given to suffer for His name sake as a testimony of their sonship and fellow heirs of glory. Herein is their strength made complete in weakness as they gladly glory in their infirmities rather than the abilities (or lack thereof) of the flesh. Thereby no flesh shall glory in His sight as the praise shall be to the power, majesty and glory of the Sovereign Omnipotent God who reigns.
These gifts are also give for the work of the ministry. This business of the service of the sanctuary is the same as depicted in the sons of Aaron and their sanctification for the business of the Tabernacle. They were the lot of Jehovah’s inheritance, adorned in fine linens and consecrated with blood to work in the sanctuary in the performance of their assigned tasks, each man in his order (I Chr. 6:32). This was the type of the ones who came from afar and built in the Temple that the Branch, My servant, has built (Zech. 6:12 - 15). It is not a mission to build new satellite stores, annexes to the main building or branch offices. The building was completed by Wisdom from before the foundation of the world (Pro. 9:1), sought after by Abraham (Heb. 11:10) and seen of John in the revelation of Jesus Christ (21:1). She is the exact size (Rev. 21:15ff) and Her accommodations are sufficient for all those who are ordained unto eternal life (John 14:2).
Her walls are Jehovah’s salvation and Her gates are praise (Is. 26:1 & 60:18) and the work of the ministry is that God has reconciled the world unto Himself. He has not employed anyone to reconcile the world unto Him and He does not ask anyone to reconcile themselves unto Him. His people are reconciled unto Him (II Cor. 5:18). Time has been fulfilled where His people have come to the place where He finished the transgression, made an end to sin and made a reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness (Dan. 9:24) when He who knew no sin became the sin of His people and has cleansed them from all unrighteousness by His shed blood. The walls are built, the blood is shed, the sacrifice is accepted and the salvation has come. To speak anything other than Jehovah reigneth to the heathen and “Behold your God” to the house of Israel is to add to the words of the book and to embellish the Word of God. “And having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself (by Him I say whether things in earth or things in heaven) and you that were sometimes alienated and enemies in mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight” (Col. 1:20f). This is the gospel of Jesus Christ and the business of the service of God.
These gifts are also given for the building up of the body of Christ. This is not to increase the size of the body or the quality of Her existence. It is not to better prepare Her for the coming kingdom or to make Her ready for His return. It is the building in an inhabited house. It is the bearing of one another’s burdens, of rejoicing with them that rejoice and weeping with them that weep. It is the restoration of a brother overtaken in a fault and the rebuking of one another in love. It is not the pursuit of the knowledge of this world, wherein are found fables, traditions and disputation over words, for herein is the flesh elevated above another for scholastic expertise. It is the love of the uncomely parts of the body that are esteemed as the least of the brethren (to our shame). It is the receiving of the week in the faith, not to doubtful arguments and condemnation, but to the pleasing of the sheep of the pasture for his good and lifting up (Rms 15:2). Adam is not the Lord and Shepherd of our faith. The Lamb of God is and He has been tempted in all points like unto His sheep. He speaks the language of the sheep and teaches the singularity of One Lord, One faith and One baptism. Thus the purpose of these gifts is manifested.
“Till we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ”
The just live by the faith of the Son of God and daily walk by that same faith. Adam has not faith and until such a time when the nature and shell of Adam are put aside there is no singularity of faith. Now there is a beholding as through a dark glass. There is the beholding in a glass and straightway forgetting what was seen but there is a time coming when the hindrance shall be no more. When time is no more, all shall see Him face to face and behold, with untrammeled eyes, the beauty of His Holiness. Then there will be no need for the filling up that which is lacking for His people shall be complete in Him and they shall be like Him. Those whom God has predestinated to be conformed to the image of the Son shall come in the maturity and fulness of time to the manifestation of the image of the Heavenly. They shall not only know the truth but they shall see Him in His glory. Then shall they realize the body as one seated together with Him in the heavenlies for all eternity.
“That we be no more children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the sleight of man, cunning and craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive”
The gifts of the members in particular are for the furnishing of the brethren that they be not drawn away from the simplicity of the gospel and entangled in the science of the world. The doctrine of man is confusion and deception. It is devised after the wicked imaginations of Adam whereby he did not like to retain God in his mind and forged a lie after the weak and beggarly elements of this world. It thrives in the weakness of the flesh and festers in the teachings of duty. It appeals to the Adamic nature and denies the sovereignty of God over all things so as to elevate the creature above the Creator and bring Him down into subjection.
As the child of grace grows in the grace and knowledge of His will, their ears detect the cry of the children of this generation piping in the marketplace and they learn this is not their home. The long for the land of promise and the language of Zion. They hear the song of Moses sung by fellow travelers and they rejoice in the common deliverance they have experienced. As they mature, the marks of the task master’s whips are seen on the backs of the strangers and sojourners in the weary land and being subject to the vanity of this world, they seek the ‘Shabbot’ of Messiah. Though all these works have been finished from the foundation of the world yet they labour to enter into that rest.
They stumble and fall many times and oft times are taken in the snare of the net. Yet when the Spirit gives them deliverance, they loathe themselves for their wickedness and praise the name of their Deliverer. This is that ‘manner of love’ that the Father has bestowed upon His Bride, His church. He has redeemed His people, whom He has loved with an everlasting love. He has fitly framed them together and has given gifts to fill up, completely furnish, build up and protect them from the wicked one. He knows them that are His and no man can snatch them out of His hands. His sheep hear His voice and follow Him.
“Behold how good and how pleasant for the brethren to dwell together in unity. It is like the precious ointment upon the head that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard and went down to the skirts of his garments; as the dew of Hermon (the covering of the sanctuary) that descended upon the mount of Zion for there Jehovah commanded the blessing of life evermore” (Ps. 133).
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
January 13, 2013