Loading

About Us - Publications - Broadcasts - Audio & Video - Contact Us - Home

- Publications -

Rainbow Divider

Chapter 12

God’s Plan For The Church

I don’t believe we can improve upon God’s plan for His Church. In Eph. 4 we find that there is one Spirit and one body. We find that Christ has given various ministry gifts “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” Eph. 4:12-13.

And beyond the ministry itself, all the members of Christ’s body are to be “joined together” and brought to a place where each member functions effectively by drawing strength and ability from Christ the Head. And every member needs every other member. No one is complete in Himself. Completeness happens when every member functions in his or her proper place for the benefit of the whole. This is the order God honors and that will get the job done.

God gave us a picture in the way the Israelites camped in the wilderness. Think of the chaos there would have been had they rushed helter-skelter for the best spots every time they made camp! It wasn’t like that at all. At the center of everything was the tabernacle with the cloud over it. The Levites took care of the priestly duties with respect to the tabernacle and they did it in an orderly fashion. The rest of the Israelites were instructed to pitch their tents in careful order, by tribes, by families, and by rank within tribes and families. Everything and everyone had a place with God’s presence at the center.

The Bond of the Covenant

And God’s presence was over the holiest place of the tabernacle, the place where the ark of the covenant rested. Notice that in Ezekiel 20:37 God promises to bring us “into the bond of the covenant.” The covenant we enjoy through what Jesus did at Calvary is an eternal one, far greater than anything known or understood in Old Testament days. What we have is what believers of that day looked forward to.

God desires to bring us into every aspect of that covenant. All that we have been speaking of — His drawing us out of the world and unto Himself together with our brethren, walking together by faith, learning His ways — all these things are necessary if we are to enjoy all that Christ has given us. No matter what the devil does in these last days, there is no safer place than walking with the Lord and His people under that cloud.

One deception the devil loves to use is to cause people to become independent, a law unto themselves, subject to nothing but their own judgment. It is one thing to be alone, yet actively looking to God to find one’s place among His people and under the ministry He has provided. It is another to actually believe that the Christian life is just you and Jesus “on the Jericho road.” The Spirit of God always brings His people together, causing them to become subject to Christ as He expresses Himself through the various members of the body.

God’s people are scattered and in all kinds of circumstances. Many are unable even to find a place where they can be fed spiritually. We hear from them all the time. Yet every one in this position should be actively seeking God to lead them. He has a place for you. He knows how to provide spiritual fellowship and food. Don’t be in a hurry. If God answered all your prayers in a day, you might stop seeking Him!

A Word of Warning

Be aware that the devil will do all he can to discourage and sidetrack you if you set out to seek God. Don’t let him do either. Keep right on looking to God, asking Him for courage and wisdom according to your need. If he should begin to provide you with someone of like spirit to meet and pray with — or perhaps a small group — just keep on seeking the Lord. Don’t be in any hurry to “start something” or to “get organized.” He is all the organization we need. Just pray and worship and encourage one another in the Lord.

Often when small groups are meeting informally for worship and prayer, someone with a lot of zeal and perhaps an aspiring spirit will begin to assert himself or herself as a leader, moving according to their own religious ideas. Part of looking to the Lord is looking to Him that you might be able to discern such things — and to make that discernment known. God can bear witness and help us with these things. Even basically good people need the discernment and wisdom that God makes known through the body to help them to find their proper place. I believe that God’s people know it when someone tries to do something God hasn’t called them to do. It just doesn’t bear witness. And many are so zealous that they don’t realize it unless they are told.

The thing we need to prize above all is for the Lord to be at the center of things, leading and in control. He alone knows what we need. We haven’t been this way before! What we’ve learned in religion won’t do. We need to learn His ways. He is more than willing to teach us if we are willing to learn. And He has the ministries his people need.

I’ve tried basically to simply enumerate a number of principles that God has emphasized in our midst over the years, principles that He honors. Certainly high on His list are such things as brotherly love and unity. All of this may sound “spiritual” and vague and impractical but I believe that God is calling His people to just such a relationship — with each other and with Him.

You will, of course, notice that I haven’t given you a nice neat chronology of endtime events that lie in our future. I haven’t given you a detailed “manual” on how to “set up” the body of Christ. What I have endeavored to give you is something much better than that! It is exactly what Noah had — and also what the saints in Jerusalem had. They made it their one business in life to cultivate a practical relationship with God and He took care of them! What could be better than that? I just don’t know any better way than trusting God and believing that He will lead and provide for His own.

Precious Promises!

Earlier I said that all Moses had when he faced the Red Sea was the promise of an unseen God and a stick. What I want to do now is to give just a little sampling of what we have to go on. I pray that He will quicken His Word and cause it to become more than just words in a book, but rather something we can rest our very souls upon. Did not Jesus say, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away”?

Heb. 13:5. “...he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” KJV.

Prov. 3:5-6. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” NIV.

Psalm 23:1. “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” KJV. (And the rest of Psalm 23!)

Isa. 40:11. “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” KJV.

Isa. 42:16. “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” NIV.

Isa. 52:12. “But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the LORD will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” NIV.

Psalm 68:6. “God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.” NIV.

Heb. 10:35-39. “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, ‘He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.’ But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.” NIV.

Psalm 91:1-4. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” NIV.

Isa. 4:5-6. “And the LORD will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence. And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.” KJV.

Titus 2:11-14. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope-the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” NIV.

1 Thess. 4:16-18. “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.” NIV.

2 Thess. 1:6-10. “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.” NIV.

2 Peter 3:9-13. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.” NIV.

Matt. 28:20. “...lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” KJV.

2 Tim. 1:12. “...I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” NIV.

Phil. 1:6. “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” NIV.

I believe with all my heart that we are in the last hour of this world’s history. God desires that we be aware of this and of the conditions that will exist on planet earth. Within the limits of the plan of God, Satan will be allowed to have his way among men. It may well appear, before it’s over, that he has won, but his end is sure! Christ is coming to crush Satan’s rebellion once and for all. “Unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Heb. 9:28.

Return to Library of Articles