Sunday 5 February 2017 – Kobus Swart
(John 14:23) 1 Pet. 2:1-10; Isa. 66:1-2; Hag. 1:1-11; (Matt. 5:14); Hag. 2:7-9; John 17:13-23; Col. 2:1-2; 1 Cor. 12:12; Eph. 2:19-22; 1 Cor. 11:28-34; 1 Cor. 1:10-13; Eph. 6:18; Eph. 4:4-5
The importance of the corporate expression of the church
The omnipotent, omnipresent, almighty God is looking for a house in which to rest. Jesus said that He and the Father want to make their abode in us (John 14:23). Our carnal minds will never understand that. We, the Church, are supposed to be that house. We are going to look at it from two perspectives, the Body of Christ (corporate Church), and the local household/church. Each of us is a living stone to be built into this corporate house, the temple of God, the holy priesthood
(1 Pet. 2:1-10). Every local church is like a quarry where they chisel stones into a certain shape or form. The quarry is not a neat place; it is noisy, dusty and full of broken stones. Within a local church which is authentic and planted by God, there is a chiselling process to shape each stone, each person into a living stone that will be built into the corporate house. Once the living stones have been chiselled they are brought onto the corporate site where there is no noise. What qualifies that stone to be fitted into the corporate? Thus says the Lord, “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? “For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the Lord. “But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word”
(Isa 66:1-2). If you have not reached that place in your life, the chiselling process in the local church is not complete.
Hag. 1:1-11 – This is a prevailing attitude in the corporate Church: that “the time has not yet come”. People and local households are busy pursuing their own vision, mission and dream at the expense of the bigger vision of the corporate house of God. Each person is so concerned about his local flock. There is nothing wrong with caring for the local flock, but it should not be at the expense of the corporate house in which God wants to dwell. It is not your church that is going to be a city on a hill (Matt. 5:14). It is going to be the Church in the C ity, the body of Christ, that is going to be like a city on the hill. There is only one church in every city, expressed in various congregations. Therefore, because of you the sky has withheld its dew and the earth has withheld its produce. I called for a drought on the land, on the mountains, on the grain, on the new wine, on the oil, on what the ground produces, on men, on cattle, and on all the labor of your hands (vs. 10). God can withhold certain blessings like rain, to get our attention, to shift our focus to where it belongs. Instead of my, me and I, it is HIS! He will fill His house with glory and the latter glory will be greater than the former (Hag. 2:7-9).
The high-priestly prayer is an on-going prayer in the heart of the Lord Jesus (John 17:13-23). The whole Church of Jesus Christ is to be a witnessing Church, an apostolic Church sent with a mission. The result of proper Biblical ONENESS is: …that the world may believe that You sent Me (vs. 20). The biggest evangelistic effort of the Church is going to be when we reach this level of oneness; it will attract the attention of the world. We are being perfected in unity. When we allow the Holy Spirit to work, there is an on-going perfection process taking place, until we reach the full stature of Christ corporately. Christ is God’s mystery (Col. 2:1-2). Where is Christ? Who is Christ? For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ (1 Cor. 12:12). The members do not look the same nor have the same function, but they belong to the same Head who is Jesus Christ, seated at the right hand of the Father. So there is a variety, a corporeity but there is a oneness in Christ – the generation called Christ. Jesus is the corner stone, the apostles and prophets are the foundation and we are being built into this temple (Eph. 2:19-22). In whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord. This verse refers to the corporate house as well as the local house. Each local household, the quarry where the stones are being shaped and formed, is part of the corporate temple that is built on the foundation of apostles and prophets, of which Jesus Christ is the chief corner stone.
The table of the Lord is not a ritual (1 Cor. 11:28-34). Examine yourself when you eat the bread and drink the cup. Why? For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep (vs. 29-30). Some experience a premature death for not discerning the body of Christ correctly. God help us to absorb this truth because God is very serious about building His Temple.
Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? (1 Cor. 1:10-13). The question God is posing to the Church is, “Is Christ divided?” Lord, help Your Church! God is serious about His Church. Pray for leaders to find one another. When that happens we will move in the governmental level of authority that will open the heavens … As long as each local house, each panelled house, is the top priority, God can withhold His blessing.
Pray for all the saints in your area (Eph. 6:18). It is not about your church’s breakthrough, it is not about your church’s programme, it is about the temple of God that must be completed. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all (Eph. 4:4-5). God is a God of oneness, but we have entertained the voice of division. May God unite us together in prayer for each other and for all the saints.