I have been addressing the topic of the equipping ministry to and in the body of Christ. I want to continue today with a slightly different focus than my past few blogs. I believe that equipping ministry in the body of Christ has a responsibility of releasing the proper authority of God the Father in the earth. God is the Father of lights and we are therefore the authority of His light in the earth. That light is the authority of His light to the darkness of the world around us.
When the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost at the anointing of the body of Christ there were several things that were manifest in the Church. The Church was filled with members who had been empowered to repent. That repentance was a repentance unto life that revealed a testimony of repentance from death and the works of death. Members of the Church were submerged in water as an act of faith that identified them as members of Christ’s body. That work of water baptism was a testimony of their faith toward God. Those in the Church received the gift of the Holy Spirit that revealed the testimony of heaven as a demonstration of the power of His resurrection life through them as His anointed bride of Christ. As the Church that was empowered by repentance, demonstrated works of faith, and manifested a testimony of Christ’s resurrection life they also continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine (Acts 2:42). What was the apostle’s doctrine? There were no New Testament Scriptures written for the first twenty years of the New Testament Church so the doctrine of the apostles were not their writings of Scripture. Their doctrine was simply their way of life empowered by the authority of Christ. To continue steadfastly in their way of life was to also be empowered by the authority of Christ.
The Church continued to manifest the authority of Christ’s light to the world of darkness around them. They were the sent members of the body of Christ. God is constantly authorizing and anointing His sent purpose to the earth through His sent body in the earth. This is the testimony of the manifest letters of Christ being written in and through the Church. Continuing steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine (instruction and way of life taught them by the apostles) is to keep in God’s ‘sent word’ to the corporate body. God wants to accomplish the corporate ministry of the ‘laying on of hands’ though His Body. This is the releasing of His authority of life and inheritance through the Church to the world in which they reside. God wants to accomplish a ‘corporate work’ through His Body. He has a specific task for every corporate expression of His Body.
God will give specific tasks for specific times. Our obedience is necessary to fulfill God’s purpose and will. If obedience to God was required in the Old Testament through some who heard God, don’t you think that obedience to God’s words is even more essential to a Church where everyone can hear God? We tend to make the New Covenant weak and sloppy by not expecting God to give corporate instructions and commands as part of a corporate process in the Church. We tend to believe in individual purpose, but fail to realize a greater testimony found in corporate purpose and direction.
There is a great example of a corporate purpose in the Old Testament. When the children of Israel were about to enter the Promised Land they were instructed by God to take the city of Jericho. There were specific instructions given that God expected them to follow in order for them to receive the testimony of God’s victory over the city. Why don’t we believe that God might want to give corporate commands for a corporate testimony in the New Covenant? I know that we cannot rob people from hearing God for themselves, but I also believe that we must position ourselves with an expectation of corporate instructions from God for specific times and specific purposes of His will. Here is a summary of the commands and expectations of God in the taking of the city of Jericho:
Joshua 5:13-15; 6:1-20
- … “As Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my LORD say to His servant?”
- … march around the city
- … go all around the city once. This you shall do six days.
- … seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark.
- … the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times,
- … the priests shall blow the trumpets.
- … when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn
- … all the people shall shout with a great shout;
- … then the wall of the city will fall down flat.
- … the people shall go up every man straight before him.
- … You shall not shout or make any noise with your voice,
- … nor shall any word proceed out of your mouth,
- … until the day I say to you, ‘Shout!’
- … Then you shall shout.”
- … by all means keep yourselves from the accursed things,
- lest you become accursed when you take of the accursed things,
- and make the camp of Israel a curse,
- and trouble it.
The governing of the church must be focused on seeking and maintaining the Lordship and direction of Jesus Christ to His body. All members of the body must continually seek His mind and will, through His Spirit and the Word of God, in all actions and decisions. Any governmental function by those given authority to rule must be under the headship and direction of the Lord Jesus Christ, but Paul gave specific instructions concerning the connection of the members of the Church and its leaders.
Hebrews 13:7 Remember (to exercise memory /to bear in mind, call to mind, to stay, to chew) those who rule (lead / bring, drive, induce) over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering (to look again attentively /to be a spectator of /to look closely at) the outcome of their conduct.
Hebrews 13:17 Obey (to convince; pacify; assent; rely on) those who rule (lead / bring, drive, induce) over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls (they are awake concerning your souls), as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.
Here is a great rendition of the above Scripture:
Rely upon those who lead and induce you toward life, surrender yourself to them, for they are required to be awake concerning your souls, and they must give an account in thought and word for you. They will help keep you from falling into deception and will be alert to the life that God has for you. Let them do this with cheerfulness and joy and do not make them sigh and murmur because of you. Don’t put them in straits, for if they are forced to live in a tight and narrow place because of you, it will only work against your gain and prove to cut your purpose short. (Ted J. Hanson)
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 And we urge you, brethren, to recognize (to see; know) those who labor among you, and are over you (stand before you or stand in front of you ) in the Lord and admonish (to put in mind, caution / calling attention to; warning / to place in your intellect a knowing) you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.
The government of the Church comes through God’s gift of grace and apostleship to the church. Grace is the power of the Holy Spirit within the life of each believer. Apostleship is the “sent” and “sending” authority given to us as the body of Christ.
Romans 1:5 …through whom (Jesus) we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name…
The government of the church is both in the headship of Jesus Christ and in the full responsibility of Jesus Christ. God wants us to reveal the calling of Christ and the inheritance of Christ in the earth. We are the fullness of Him in corporate form in heaven and upon the earth.
Ephesians 1:18-23 …the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson
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