SERIES: City Church
Sunday evening 11 March 2012 – Kobus Swart
Hag. 2:9; Eph. 3:10; Eph. 1:10; Heb. 2:10; John 3:5; 1 Kings 5:17; 1 Kings 6:7; 2 Cor. 5:18;
John 17:22-23; 1 Peter 2:4-9; Rev. 1:1; John 16:13; Heb. 1:1-4
We find wonderful prophetic pictures, types, symbols & parables in the Old Testament that can only be accurately interpreted through the eyes of the New Testament. Solomon’s Temple is one such example. The presence of God only filled that temple once it was completed and the glory of this temple attracted the attention of the world. God filled the temple to such a degree that the priests couldn’t minister. We are not chasing after exciting experiences, but we know that God has a plan and He wants to fulfill that through His body, the Church. No human skills can organize all the churches in a city to function as one Church in that area. It has to be God by His Spirit, and He always begins in a remnant.
When Jesus first came, He was God tabernacling with man. Paul explained that we are now that temple. God is not impressed by the names on our church buildings; He looks at the heart. What He wants, is …that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places (Eph. 3:10).
In the Old Testament the Temple was a physical structure; in the New Testament we are talking about the Church, the body of Christ – or more accurately called, the corporate SON. Until we can demonstrate that, the world is going to remain sceptical as to what the Church is today. What they see is a divided, fragmented group of people that call themselves Christians. This has to change in order to change the course of this world because everything is going to be consummated in Christ the Son at the end of the age (Eph. 1:10). And that will conclude history.
Jesus came and His purpose was to bring many sons to glory (Heb. 2:10); He was the first born and He is the last Adam (1 Cor 15:45). He closed the chapter on Adam and started the new chapter called Son. True Christians are made to walk and live in the Spirit and not be restrained and handicapped the way we are.
The different ministries (Ephes 4:11) are leadership graces that God has placed in the Church. The stones used in the construction of the temple of Solomon were prepared in the quarries. It was a noisy place and there the rocks were chiselled into something you could build with. The quarry is a picture of the local household where everything in the “living stones” that does not represent Christ is chiselled away by the Word. The local household should be a place that prepares living stones to fit into the corporate house. And the king commanded them to quarry large stones, costly stones, and hewn stones, to lay the foundation of the temple (1 Kings 5:17). And the temple, when it was being built, was built with stone finished at the quarry, so that no hammer or chisel or any iron tool was heard in the temple while it was being built (1 Kings 6:7). My exhortation to all who are fathering, leading households, is to be faithful in that mandate – to chisel away everything that does not represent Christ.
We were created in the image and likeness of God. This image in man was never eradicated or removed with the fall; it was marred and polluted, but in Christ He came and made provision for the full restoration of the image of Himself in every person. God reconciled humanity to Himself in Christ (2 Cor. 5:18). Now by the Holy Spirit and the Word working together, we are to chisel away everything that does not represent Him. At the temple site you will find no noise of hammer or chisel or iron tool; you will find the presence of God. When we come together it is to celebrate as the Father’s family.
God still loves the world (John 3:16). “… the glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me”(John 17:22-23). The urgency in this prayer is to get the Church ready so that the world can believe. There is work to be done.
Jesus was and represented the Kingdom rule and government of God (Dan 2:44,45; Mark 1:15). But He was rejected. And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, so we are the living stones, this is picture language describing you and me, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For this is contained in Scripture: “behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, and he who believes in him will not be disappointed.” This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “the stone which the builders rejected, this became the very corner stone,” and, “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed (1 Peter 2:4-8).
It is dangerous to disbelieve what God wants to do in this hour. Our mistakes can set us back years. All those divides that have kept Christians apart will melt away when we are drawn together in one quest; to see Him and be like Him. But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). This is the best definition of what is known today as “church” or “household” or “the Father’s family”. It deals a death-blow to divisive issues. Know no man after the flesh; look for the Christ in each other.
The book of Revelation is a revelation of Jesus Christ (Rev. 1:1). You read about the 7 golden lampstands, representing the seven churches with all its differences, but the most beautiful picture is of Him who stands in their midst. John’s account: …I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet, saying, “Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: …Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash (Rev. 1:9-13). The corporate temple is going to release a sound in the heavens. He turned to see the Voice because the Voice gave away Who it was. He saw one like the Son of man. Moffatt’s translation says, I saw One resembling a man – the Son of man expressed in the corporate body of Christ. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ (1Cor. 12:12). Something is going to be expressed through the corporate, it is not going to be through the individual. What is going to release this trumpet sound is that Son of man. There is a voice that is going to be released when the corporate comes together organically, relationally not organisationally nor institutionally. This corporate temple is the Son.
There is no way we will get there without the Holy Spirit. Not even Mary could have given birth without the Holy Spirit who overpowered her. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you
(John 16:13–15). Without Him there is no corporate son, there is no sonship. He will come and take of Christ and disclose it to us.
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. (Heb. 1:1–4). In these last days (which began 2000 years ago) this corporate Son is the vehicle IN which God is going to speak to the nations!