UNION IN CHRIST-3
“To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which the purposed in chris Jesus our Lord” (Eph.3:10,11).
God had a purpose in His heart from eternity. That purpose is to be fulfilled through the Church now. In Acts 7:38 the children of Israel are called the church in the wilderness”. God committed Himself to them. He wished to reveal His glory and power through them. He wished to judge sin and Satan and the wicked nations through them. But sad to say, they themselves rejected Him and turned after idols. They became a failure. So for a time it looked as if God had been defeated, and Satan and the powers of darkness had prevailed. Jerusalem was pulled down, the Temple burnt and desecrated, and the people of God taken into captivity. The faithful remnant had to pray, “0 GOD, why hast thou cast us off for ever?... Lift up thy feet unto the perpetual desolations; even all that the enemy hath done wickedly in the sanctuary. Thine enemies roar in the midst of thy congregations; they set up their ensigns for signs... They have cast fire into thy sanctuary, they have defiled by casting down the dwelling place of thy name to the ground. They said in their hearts, Let us destroy them together: they have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land. We see not our signs: there is no more any prophet: neither is there among us any that knoweth how long. 0 God, how long shall the adversary reproach? shall the enemy blaspheme thy name for ever?” (Psa. 74:1 3,4,7- 10).
Such was the woeful condition of the people of God. Even after Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah returned from Babylon and restored the Temple, only a few centuries passed and we find Israel again under the foreign yoke of the Romans. In their hearts they were under the foreign yoke of Satan and so they rejected the Messiah and nailed Him to the cross. Thus Israel ended as a total failure.
What God could not fulfill through Israel, He has purposed to fulfill gloriously through the Church. And we know definitely from Scripture that this cannot and will not end in failure. Dear reader, God has given you this great privilege to live in these days when God's eternal purpose is fast approaching fulfillment. You have a part to play; you have a responsibility; because you are a member in the Church, which is His Body. “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly” (Rom. 16:20). “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 4:4; 5:4).
Although God had this purpose in His heart from eternity, He could not fulfil it until Christ died for our sins on the cross, rose again for our justification, and ascended higher than the heavens to sit on our behalf at the right hand of God. But when that was fulfilled the final phase of God's purpose began to be set in motion, and we find that ten days after His ascension the Lord sent down the Holy Spirit and the disciples were baptized into the Body. Barriers were pulled down, the power of sin and Satan was broken, and the Church - the precious thought hidden in the heart of God from before the foundation of the world, was brought into being. “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13). “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one (one man R.V.) in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).
From that time onwards, as the Book f Acts records, the history of this new people of God is one of celebrating the Lord's victory from place to place in every part of this world. “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place” (2 Car. 2:14). Thus the day of Pentecost was the day in which the Church was born, and God's eternal purpose began its final out-working. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is of great importance in the plan of God, because through it the Church came into being. Without the Baptism of the Holy Spirit there could be no Church through which the mighty eternal purpose of God had to be fulfilled. This explains very clearly why the Lord in His parting words to His disciples emphatically told them to begin to do nothing but wait until the day of Pentecost. “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in... Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). “And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence... But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:4,5,8).
Can you understand how wonderful is this Baptism of the Holy Spirit? Year after year through the centuries, Israel celebrated the Feast of the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. Then centuries later, on that very day, the Lamb of God without spot and blemish, died upon the cross:” For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us” (lCor.5:7). Year after year, on a certain day after the Sabbath, Israel celebrated the Feast of First fruits. After the crucifixion on that very day after the Sabbath, when the priests of Israel who had rejected the Messiah, should have been waving the sheaf of first fruits before the Lord in a dead literal obedience to His Word in Leviticus 23:11, on that very day the Son of God rose again from the dead, so that the Apostle Paul says: “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept” (1 Cor.15:20). Again counting fifty days from that day after the Sabbath, came another day after the Sabbath, the day of Pentecost, when Israel brought two wave loaves of fine flour, and offered a new meat offering unto the Lord. On that very day the risen and exalted Lord sent forth the Holy Spirit and baptized the believers into one Body, of which the loaf of bread is the symbol, as it is written: “For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread” (1 Cor. 10:17). It was not by chance that on the days of these three great feasts in a certain year two thousand years ago, three great events occurred. The Lord had been pointing out year after year through these feasts of Israel, that the Cross, Resurrection and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit were central in the thought of God as the means of fulfilling His glorious purpose which He had hid in His heart from the beginning of the world.
At this stage you might be asking yourself, “Have I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?” That is an important question which has to be answered. So please see Acts 2:47; “...And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” At the time they were saved these believers were added to the Church by the Lord. Likewise when you were saved and received the new birth, you were added to the Church by the Lord. Now the Church is the Body of Christ. So that means, you became a member in His Body. But there is only one way by which you can become a member in the Body of Christ: ... by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body” (1 Cor. 12:13). So it is clear that when you were born again you also received the gift of the Holy Spirit; your body became His temple (1 Cor. 6:19) and you were added to the Church. So you have already been baptized by the same Spirit into one Body.
So now, dear reader, as you have been added to the Church, may the Lord grant that the eyes of your understanding be enlightened, so that you may know your calling and walk worthy of it. “As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory... Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 2:11,12; 2Thess. 1:11,12).
(To be cont) C.E.D.
LETTER FOR PRAISE AND PRAYER
121 Villiers Road, Sydney
February 21, 2006
Dear Fellow-Believers in Christ,
Greetings in the precious and prayer- answering Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, our exalted Priest and King at the right hand of the Majesty on high. May He strengthen and sustain us by His High priestly ministry in the power of an endless life, to serve Him acceptably and sacrificially in His supreme thought and purpose for His Church in this age.
The building of His people into a Spiritual House is the supreme thought of God and a New Testament concept. Paul speaks of it as a “mystery”, that is, a divine secret hidden in ages past, but brought into actual manifestation after the death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus to the throne of heaven, and the descent of the Holy Spirit to indwell believers. In those ancient times in which David lived, the Church was a hidden thing, but it was figuratively set forth in the plan of a temple given to David. Both the tabernacle in the wilderness and the temple in Jerusalem were built by principles which foreshadowed God's thought and purpose for His Church.
David the king, inspite of all his sins and failures was finally lifted by the grace of God to such spiritual elevation with personal consecration, that the Lord could make h understand in writing all the works of this pattern (1 Chro. 28:12,19,20). In other words, he received by revelation the things of God which can never be brought to living reality by imitation. Sad to say, many in our times attempt to imitate the pattern of the local church, but the Lord cannot set His seal on such a work.
The stones for this House were not only blasted out of a deep quarry, but were chiselled and shaped and polished so as to fit together into a building. In terms of spiritual life, this kind of work on the stones spells out in a figure much of the secret work of the Spirit of God upon the lives of redeemed people and explains much of what happens to us. The events of life are not simple happenings. They are the sharp tools of God's ordaining to shape us to a pattern for fitting us into His House structure.
David's whole life is really a rich spiritual history which included many deep exercises and painful experiences as the chisel of God to mould him into shape. But all God's dealings with him in redemption, correction and discipline brought him at last to the revelation of God's full purpose, which was to be expressed in the building of a House. Though David desired greatly to build God's House, that honour was given to his son Solomon. So we read, Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the LORD appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Oman the Jebusite” (2 Chron. 3:1). Thus the building of God's House began in the very place where Abraham was asked to sacrifice his only son Isaac (Genesis 22:2). This call to sacrifice his only son seemed to the natural eye, to be a means of defeating every possibility of increase. From whence could Abraham's seed arise which was to be as many as the stars of heaven for multitude and as the sands of the seashore, if Isaac died? And God took Abraham to the place where, though not actually accomplished, his son figuratively died in the mind of Abraham. For Abraham had to build the altar, lay Isaac upon it and not until the knife was raised in Abraham's hand did God call him to halt. This tremendous trial brought Abraham into fellowship with what was in the heart of God - the sacrifice of His own eternal Son for human redemption.
Abraham had already seen in vision the ultimate end of God's redeeming work - “a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11:10). The foundations upon which that holy city was to stand was shown him in mount Moriah, to be one of supreme sacrifice, and the sacrifice was to be of God's own eternal and beloved Son. From the natural viewpoint, that death upon Calvary's cross too was the end of everything. It was the end of all that was fleshly. So it must have appeared to Abraham in the offering of Isaac. But Abraham believed God to be the God of resurrection, and that through resurrection life, God would accomplish His purposes. Thus we see that the foundation of all God's building is in the death of His Son, but the structure itself begins to rise through the resurrection life of His Son. There is no building of the holy House of God until after our Lord's resurrection. That is why it is so important to believe both, for the Lord's death upon the cross dealt only with sins, but His resurrection dealt with the law of death so that believers could be “living stones” for His holy temple. But things must be laid in the dust of death before resurrection life is given, and before the revelation of God's great purpose breaks upon the soul. God starts to build on the ground of the cross. God helping, we will continue in our next issue.
God's servant Bro. Joseph Kurien and responsible brethren at the church at Beersheba, Kadapa, would have us to thank and praise the Lord for enabling them to lay the foundation for the construction of the new Prayer Hall on Sunday the 12th February. Bro. Lazar Sen with his son Hanock and many other fellow-servants participated in the above to the joy of all. The local saints covet our prayers for the speedy completion of the construction.
Bro. Sundar Rao and the saints at Pulivendla would have us to thank and praise the Lord for enabling them to complete a four room living quarters for the servants and ministers. We have named it Rhegium (Acts 28:13) on the day of it's dedication on the 13th February.
God's servant Bro. P. Samson and saints and responsible brethren at Bethany Prayer House at Proddatur would have us to thank and praise the Lord for enabling them to hold the marriages of God's servants Bro. M.Solomon with Sis. K.Yesumani and Bro. Manasseh with Sis. Hephzibah. The marriages were solemnised by Bros. P. Samson and Joseph Kurien.
At Rehoboth, Alagadda, the Lord blessed the special gatherings from 10th to 14th February when Bro. Eddy Williams and some of us shared in the ministry. On the 14th evening the foundation stone for the new Prayer Hall, Rehoboth, was laid with many servants from Rayalaseema also being present. God's servant Bro. Samuel of Alagadda covets our prayers for the completion of their new construction. The same evening God's servant Bro. Joshua and Sis. Jyothi were united in marriage. The couple covets our prayers.
I am thankful for your prayers, for I could reach Sydney safely by the 18th of February.
Please pray for the speedy recovery of the Lord's handmaiden Sis. Ruth (wife of God's servant Bro. Joseph Canara at Beer-Sheba, Ahmedabad) as she underwent a major abdominal surgery on the 18th February at Ahmedabad.
Praying that the Lord may help us all to be fully dependent and obedient to His plans and directions in our endeavours to serve Him acceptably for His Church,
Isa. 48:17 I remain,
Matt. 11:28,29 Yours in His grace,
Eph. 6:18,19 K. PHILLIP
GIVE YE THEM TO EAT--3
The Lord performed the miracle of feeding the multitude to teach His disciple's lessons. They were to be His apostles and the Lord was saying to them, “My disciples, you are My co-workers. I have come into the world as the Bread of Life to satisfy the hunger of the multitudes. The whole world is like a desert and it is in darkness. Everywhere people are tired and weary of many burdens. They have no place to go where they can be satisfied with heavenly bread. You must know how to serve them. Your time or money should not be wasted or misspent, for you have to give an account to God”. Some time ago I had the privilege of spending about ten months in traveling to different countries, and in all those ten months I bought only three things: two tubes of tooth paste and a tooth brush. The Lord did not give me liberty to buy anything else because I knew there was a better use for the money; the Lord kept on supplying all my needs from heaven, and there was no lack. The Lord gave many gifts and He also gave me the privilege of spending that money on other people.
At the beginning of my Christian life, I learned this lesson and I learned it in a very simple way. At that time I used to gather very small copper coins because the Scripture says that if anyone asks we have to give. One day a beggar came to me and asked for alms. I wanted to give him a copper coin, but the Lord spoke to me, “This is My money. You have no right to give away My money”. I wanted to give, but could not. I said, “I never thought of it that way, Lord”. But the Lord said again, “It is My money, I bought you with a price and everything of yours belongs to Me. Whether time or money, all belong to Me”. I asked the Lord's forgiveness and He taught me that even though it might be a small amount, I must not waste it unnecessarily. I must spend my money according to God's will. In this way you can help others. Do not waste your money howsoever small the amount may be. It is not your money. Pray before you spend it. Pray every time till the Lord gives the answer because He wants us to satisfy the hungry all around.
In the same way you must not waste your energy. You cannot say you can sleep as often as you like. You may say, “Lord, I am feeling tired, I want to sleep”. But He says, “It is My body, not your body, I have paid the price”. Learn when to sleep and how long and in that way you will learn to help other people with your money and time and energy. Nothing should be wasted in our life.
(To be contd.)