Christ, Christian Life, Church Life, The Church

For the Building of the Church

So, we’re getting a little artsy today.  This was totally not by design.  At least, not by my design.  I wanted to get all meaty and nitty-gritty.  But, I asked the Lord how to write this, and below is what we get. 🙂

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“For the Building of the Church”

1…the Church

2…of the Church

3…building of the Church

4…the building of the Church

5…for the building of the Church


1…Myself…

2…deny Myself…

3…will deny Myself…

4…I will deny Myself…

5…that I will deny Myself…


 

1…Father’s will…

2…My Father’s will…

3…is My Father’s will…

4…this is My Father’s will…

5…And this is My Father’s will…


1…the Church = Myself = Father’s will

2…of the Church = deny Myself = My Father’s will

3…building of the Church = will deny Myself = is My Father’s will

4…the building of the Church = I will deny Myself = This is My Father’s will

5…And this is My Father’s will: that I will deny Myself for the building of the Church.


What I See:

1…the Church = Myself = Father’s will

Throughout the Bible, and therefore throughout eternity, God is after one thing: an image.  But this is not a stationary image like a photograph; this is a living image.  This image is to have dominion over the earth.  This image is to express His life and exercise His authority.  Jesus Christ, God’s beloved Son, is the image of the invisible God.  All the fullness dwells in this Christ, and it is the Father’s good pleasure that it does so.  And now, this Christ, this life-giving Spirit, dwells in His saints.  This is good news, indeed!  But this is not the end; this is not the full gospel.  While the fullness now dwells in individual saints, He cannot be expressed fully except in the building together of these saints into His Church.  It is the Church that is the full image of the invisible Christ, who is the image of the fullness, the invisible God.  Therefore, the Father’s will is Christ and His Church.

2…of the Church = deny Myself = My Father’s will

Since the Church is the expression, the living image of Jesus Christ, the Church now operates from the same life from which the Son operated – that of the Father.  Jesus Himself said that He could do nothing of His own, but that everything He said or did first came from the Father.  He denied His own impulses to live by the Father’s life.  He even denied His deity and emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.  He went even further and humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death on a cross.  This was His Father’s will, and is thus the nature of the Church.  Our nature, our life is one of self-denial.  To live by divine life is to deny our own life.  We give up the soul-life for the Spirit-Life.  The way of the Church is to deny oneself for the Father’s will.

3…building of the Church = will deny Myself = is My Father’s will

This goes even deeper.  It was fitting for God, in bringing many sons to glory, in building His Church, to perfect the Author of their salvation through sufferings.  Oh, don’t get me wrong; as the self-existing and ever-existing God, Jesus is complete, or perfect, from eternity to eternity.  But for the building of the Church, to express His Father’s will, he had to be perfected through the processes of incarnation, the partaking of human nature, human living, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension, that He might be qualified to be God’s Christ and our Savior.  As the Author of our salvation, Jesus Christ is the Originator, Leader, or Pioneer to take the lead and enter into glory.  He is first.  We, as His followers, are taking the same way to be brought into the same glory, as ordained by God for us.  Jesus Christ, who is the Way, cut the way, and we, as followers of the Way, now take that same way.  Yes way.

4…the building of the Church = I will deny Myself = this is My Father’s will

The building of the Church happens because Christ denied Himself, humbled Himself to the point of death on a cross, and we, His Church, follow suit.  We don’t follow suit to die for our sins; that happened once and for all through Christ on the cross.  But the perfecting of the Author of our salvation, the process of laying down our life for His, this is the suit which we follow.  For both He who sanctifies (Christ) and those who are sanctified (we the saints) are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call us brothers.  Since we, the children, share in flesh and blood, He Himself denied His life, His right as God, for His Father’s will and likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, aka the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.  He has set the captives free!  Now, as we, the Church, deny our self and our rights, we partake of His life and nature therefore binding the devil and loosing God’s expression and rule on the earth.  Wow, that’s big.

5…And this is My Father’s will: that I will deny Myself for the building of the Church

God’s will is for an image on the earth, an image that will express His nature and exercise His authority.  Jesus the Nazarene was the embodiment of that while in the flesh.  Jesus died, resurrected, and ascended, thus becoming the Christ.  As the Christ, He is the life-giving Spirit to His Church, who is now His expression on the earth today.  Just as He was transfigured from natural man (Jesus the Nazarene) to spiritual man (Jesus the Christ) through His death and resurrection, so we, too, are transfigured to become His brother, of the One Father.  As we eat and drink of our Author of salvation, we accept His life into us and deny our own.  As we deny our own for His will, Christ builds His Church.  Christ denied Himself for His Father’s will, thus establishing His Church, and we now deny our self for His will, thus building the Church.  As we deny our soul-life, we take up His divine life.  This is what it is to live by the New Life – His Life, Abundant Life, Eternal Life!  To deny our self is to live by Him; to live by Him is to deny our self.  We are united to Him in death and resurrection.  As we take that for ourselves, He builds the Church.  However, if we choose to live by our own soul-life, and we deny Him and not our self, then the Church isn’t being built.  All God has then is a bunch of individual living stones excited about being living stones, living unconcerned for His Image – the Church.  But He is after those stones being built together into His Dwelling, His Church, His Expression on the earth today.  It is all unto His image, His expression.  God’s Son is His Expression.  Christ’s Church is His Expression.  Unless we are united to Christ through death and resurrection, there is no building of the Church.  Ours is to abide in the Vine and allow that life to course through our bodies and give expression to His image and authority.  And this is our Father’s will: that we will deny our self for the building of the Church.  Amen.

 

 

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