UNION IN CHRIST-4
(Subjection to the Head--Christ)
“We shall go on to see the implications of our union in Christ as members in His Body. This will enable us to walk worthy of our heavenly calling.
I "And (God) hath put all things under his feet, and gave him (Christ) to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all" (Eph. 1:22,23). The body is the complement of the head. The head needs the body to fulfill its purposes, plans and desires. So also Christ is the Head and the Church is the Body through which He has to work. The Lord Jesus Christ needs you, however weak you may be now. "...the head (cannot say) to the feet, I have no need of you" (1 Cor. 12:21). He is the One Who filleth all in all, and we are the members in His Body through whom His glory and power are to be revealed.
II "But speaking the truth in love, ... grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ" (Eph. 4:15).
"For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church" (Eph. 5:23).
"And he is the head of the body, the church... that in all things he might have the preeminence" (Col. 1:18).
"Let no man beguile you of your reward in…. not holding (Gr. - holding fast) the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God" (Col. 2:18,19).
Christ is the Head of the Body. He is your Head, you have to give Him preeminence and obey Him in all things. You have to learn the meaning of His Lordship, of holding Him as the Head, in every part of your life. Only then can you receive nourishment from the Head, and as a joint and band in the body will you be able to pass on nourishment to other members in it, so that all may be knit together. Even though you may yet be spiritually young, your ministry is required for the work of knitting the members together; because Satan is always attacking the harmony in the Body, and only by being knit together can the Body increase with the increase of God.
We are warned in Col. 2:18 that if we do not hold Him as the Head we shall be beguiled of our reward. It is quite possible for a person to go about here and there, apparently serving the Lord, and yet not be under the direction of the Head. Such labour cannot be of eternal value and will bring him no reward. Many times we hear this sad story, "I laboured much and I thought I saw results at the time. But years have gone by, and now the fruit seems to have disappeared! I am left to weep and wonder whether all my labour has been in vain" Only in the measure that you are under the government of the Head can you labour with abiding value and receive the reward of giving satisfaction to the Lord.
As we have seen, holding the Head will lead to the members being knit together. Any work which causes divisions in the Body of Christ is not of the Lord. "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple" (Rom. 16:17,18). "Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife ... preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds.... r walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things" (Phil.1:15,16; 3:18,19).
Through the cross of Christ, God had one aim in view to be accomplished: the bringing into being of the Church as it is in the finished thought of God; the City of God, Zion, the perfection of beauty, out of which the God of glory can shine (Psa. 50:2). "Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. God is known in her palaces for a refuge. For, 10, the kings were assembled, they passed by together. They saw it, and so they marvelled; they were troubled, and hasted away. Fear took hold upon them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail... As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God: God will establish it for ever' (Psa. 48:2-6,8).
Now the Church, the City of God, is the perfection of oneness, the marvel of the kings of the world, and the terror of the powers of darkness. For the Lord Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, has prayed for us, and His prayer must be fulfilled; "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us : that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gayest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one..." (John 17:20-23).
This is the purpose, which God wishes to fulfill through the cross. Those who appear to preach Christ, and yet are creating and maintaining divisions in the Body of Christ are not serving the Lord Jesus, but they are really serving their own belly, and they are the enemies of the cross of Christ
This oneness is an essential factor in the purpose of God. God appeared to King Solomon in a dream and gave him a wise and an understanding heart. Note the very first manifestation of this divine wisdom. "And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other" (1 Kings 3:25). Solomon's wisdom revealed the simple fact that only the false mother would agree to divide the living child.
Again, in the time of Elijah, Israel had fallen away from God, and had lost their unity. Before calling upon the Lord, Elijah "...took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the Sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the LORD came, saying, Israel shall be thy name: And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD" (1 Kings 18:31,32). The oneness had to be symbolically restored before the power of God could be revealed. The power of God can be revealed only as the Church is in the value of this oneness in Christ. "... that they also may be one in us : that the world may believe that thou hast sent me... that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me (John17:21,23).
Holding the Head, refusing to be separated from it, also means accepting the Lord's orde; in the Church, that is the government of the elders in the Church. This is something against which the heart of man naturally rebels. It takes the real humility of Christ to be worked out in us before we can submit to obey with joy in the Church. Sometimes in our youthful zeal, we are liable to be deceived by the enemy into thinking that we should obey only the Lord and not any man. This spirit of independence will only bring loss and confusion. The Word of God says, "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves : for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief, for that is unprofitable for you". "Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble" (Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 5:5).
It is good to remember that you may not always find elders who are perfectly according to your mind, and you will often find many in the assembly rebelling against them. This is a great snare in our spiritual life. Korah, Dathan and Abiram, and their fearful end when the earth opened and swallowed them up because of their rebellion against Moses and Aaron, stand as a great warning to us. "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft" (1 Sam. 15:23).
Again, God anointed Saul as king of Israel. When he failed, God anointed David in his place. Saul, filled with envy tried many times to slay David, but the Lord protected him. At one time David had a good opportunity to kill sleeping Saul. But David said, "... Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the LORD's anointed, and be guiltless?" (1 Sam. 26:9). Saul's unfaithfulness made no difference. God had anointed him, and David was rightly afraid to touch him. The Lord God is the King of kings. It is for Him to raise up one and put down another. But let us beware lest we should raise up our hand against the Lord's anointed servants. May the Lord keep you humble and teach you to remain in subjection.
III "Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God" (Psa. 92:13).
If you want to grow and be fruitful, your place must be in the House of the Lord, the Church. Your root must be there, and your fruit must be there. You must be inseparably joined to the House of God. You must say as the Psalmist said of Jerusalem, "... all my springs are in thee" (Psa. 87:7).
God has given you talents. You must use them in full co-operation with the Church for the salvation of souls and for the upbuilding of the saints, so that the members being knit together may increase with the increase of God. Stir up the gift that is in you. (2 Tim. 1:6).
You have also an important ministry of prayer in the Church. The Lord has promised that great things shall be done in answer to the prayers of believers when they gather in His Name and unite their hearts upon the earth. Whatsoever they shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven : and whatsoever they shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven (Matt. 18:18-20). See what tremendous authority! The very powers of Satan and of darkness and sin can be bound by hearts uniting in prayer; and souls taken captive by Satan can be released in answer to prayer.
So you have to learn to love your fellow - believers in the church, to forgive them and bear with their short-comings, so that you can unite your heart with theirs and exercise this heavenly power for the glory of God.
(To be contd.) C.E.D.
LETTER FOR PRAISE AND PRAYER
121 Villiers Road, Sydney
March 4, 2006
Dear Fellow-Believers in Christ,
Praise and thanksgiving unto our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath in His mercy and goodness led us into the third month with His precious promises. May we all be kept in the vision and victory of the Lamb of Whom we read, "... behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda... hath prevailed to open the book.... Jo, in the midst of the throne and ... in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as ft had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth" (Rev. 5:5,6). The Lord grant that our walk, work and witness in this age be under the government of that throne and controlled by the Spirit of God, to the praise of the glory of His grace.
On Sunday the 19th February, the first Lord's Day of my arrival in Sydney, I participated in the worship service which was held at Doonside about 60 kms. from the assembly at Padstow Heights. This is a new work begun by Bro. Kenneth Timothy and two other families after a time of prayer with the saints at various assemblies. This new location in the southwest of Sydney is convenient for many believers living in that area. On 29th August 2004, the Lord's Day, the first worship service began with about eight members and now it has increased up to more than 50 every Lord's Day, by the grace of God. This company is mainly young families as well as young brothers who are engaged in their studies, coming from India, mostly from Andhra Pradesh. They meet for mid-week Bible study also in small groups in five convenient places. They need our prayers that the Lord may grant them proper New Testament teaching by the Spirit of the Lord to continue in the ongoing purpose of God in Christ Jesus in this age.
The baptisms of our grand-daughters, Grace Lois and Mercy Susannah were witnessed by nearly 100, drawn from the various assemblies in Sydney, besides their friends from their school and university. I was burdened to speak on Matt. 28:19,20, the great commission of the Lord to the eleven, with reference to Acts 2:38-41, and also on the laying on of hands upon the Samaritan believers by Apostles Peter and John sent from Jerusalem. This is the Scriptural way of expressing the oneness and fellowship in the Body of Christ under the Headship of the Lord. 1 Cor. 12:13 reminds us that by one Spirit we are baptized into one body whether we are Jews or Greek, bond or free, and all have been made to drink of one Spirit. After I baptized them. Bros. Ron Jarlette and Kenneth Timothy from Padstow Heights, Bro. Grant Hayman from Oakflats Assembly and Bro. R.S. Kuruvilla and myself, laid hands upon them and prayed claiming the Lord's promises.
On Sunday the 26th February, I could join in worship service and fellowship in the ministry of the Word at Padstow Heights Christian Assembly. In the evening I was requested to bring the Lord's message at the "Soul Salvation" gathering at Stratified, about 40 minutes from Padstow Heights by car, amidst a company of nearly 100. They are mostly Arab speaking believers and were very receptive to the Word of God.
Bro. Eld hose and Sis. Krupa (daughter of Bro. R.S. Kuruvilla) as well as Bro. Newton, Sis. Beulah and children are thankful for your prayers as they labour in this country in fellowship with the believers at Padstow Heights. The latter are thankful that their father Bro. K. Samuel from Jehovah - Shammah, Chennai, could be with them for sometime.
God willing, I am planning to leave Sydney on the 13th night and reach Chennai via Kuala Lumpur on the 14th March. I would value your prayers for travel mercies and for the ministry fulfilled that the Lord may accomplish His Word according to Isaiah 55:11.
In continuation of our previous meditation on David building God's House, we would like to continue as follows.
God starts to build on the ground of the cross. This ground in David's day was also spoken of as the threshing floor of Oman. It was the very place where David had a sifting experience from the Lord for his self-glorifying project of numbering his fighting men as though victories were won by the skill of men and not by the power of God. That kind of fleshly boasting was simply a result of the provocation of Satan (1 Chro. 21:1). It meant that there was still an element of un-crucified flesh in David, which gave Satan ground for the activity of pride. Impulses of Satanic origin can never build up anything for God, nor will the Lord take into His building that which has the slightest touch of Satan upon it.
There is quite a lot of this thing in our day. Men seek for reputation in the realm of divine things. Flesh cries out for recognition. Spiritual gifts are often used for man's own satisfaction and advancement. The mentality of the natural man takes hold of the things of God and robs them of their value for God's building. The very moment flesh touches anything, even though it be originally given by the Lord, He drops it. He will not build with any material in which the flesh glories. The ground God builds upon is a threshing floor where all worthless chaff is sifted out. Whatever exalts man is ruthlessly dealt with. He builds only on the place where the flesh is brought to judgement and where things contrary to His nature are rejected.
Please pray for the Gospel Campaign to be conducted God willing, by a team of Hebron brothers in Sironcha, Maharashtra, from March 12th to 19th.
Praying that our Lord, the builder of the Church may protect us from every self-centered or self-glorying project and make us co-workers with Him, doing everything according to His pattern, and with material that is precious in His sight,
John 4 : 34-38 I remain,
I Cor 3:10-15 Yours in His grace,
Heb. 12:27-29 K. PHILLIP
GIVE YE THEM TO EAT--4
The multitude were with the Lord for more than three days and when they went back they probably had to face angry masters, wives, children, husbands, etc. They would naturally ask, "Where have you been? Did you forget your shop, home, children?" Just imagine five thousand people being away from business, shops, wives, husbands and children for three days. Some had to face angry masters, or parents, etc. And what do you think they would do when questioned? They would have put a crumb in the mouths of their accusers out of the fragments that were left out in the baskets, and would have said, "Before shouting at me, taste this". And the angry one would say, "Where did you get this? It is so tasty". Remember, this was after three days. But the One Whom we follow blesses, and even those fragments were a means of blessing. Nothing was wasted.
You will find that wherever you go, the Lord will do something through you to fulfil His purpose. You have the words of life to give a message to others and the power of God to help others. Even if you do not say anything, your very presence can bring blessing. Some people bring anger to those who see them. Others make you feel like weeping. They look so miserable! Wherever they go, they bring tears, and wherever you meet them, they are carrying their burdens. But there are some people whose very presence gives joy and that should be your attitude. Nothing in your life should be lost or wasted. We have no right to say to anyone: "You go away from us", for we have been given a message, by God for every one and also we are given as a blessing for everyone. Do not think how to send them away, but say, "Lord, give me the privilege of satisfying these men who are hungry", and He will help you to do so. Do not send them away. The Lord said, THEY NEED NOT DEPART, GIVE YE THEM TO EAT" (Matt. 14:20). Put your name in the word, "YE."
May this be your daily experience.