A Glorious Church
When the Lord, by the power of His Spirit, established The
Church, it was the most glorious institution ever known on
earth. In it was seen an exhibition of the manifold wisdom
of God. His power was manifested though ministry gifts and
miracle working acts of God.
Those who became members did so by a mighty act of God alone,
through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. These were translated
out of the kingdom of Satan into the Kingdom of God's dear
Son. Men and women who had been deeply steeped in idolatry
now delighted to become worshipers of the true God.
The kingdom of Satan was shaken as by a mighty earthquake.
With consternation, demons retreated; for if this invincible
moving of God continued, they soon would have no place left
in which to exercise their dark power.
God's love amongst this Holy Company of believers was so
manifest that they were of one heart and one soul. Selfishness
was drowned in sweet accord through abiding love and consideration
one for another. So bright and clear was the light of discernment
that no dark hiding places remained. Ananias, Sapphira, Simon
the sorcerer, Bar Jesus, and their like were exposed and kept
at bay. "Of the rest durst no man join himself to them"
Should the believing Pharisees attempt a law crusade, there
followed an apostolic sentence from Heaven. Divine government
had full sway. When the minister opened his mouth, there flowed
a stream of the anointed Word of God, living and powerful,
which penetrated and exposed the hearers to the very core
of their being.
The knotty problems of wily foes surfaced, but wisdom adequate
to every need operated. All the questions of Jewish law and
tradition were so answered that they could say never a word.
The gift of knowledge abounded, giving direction, disclosing
conditions, and revealing hidden thoughts. Salvations, healings,
and miracles flowed like a river. The blind saw, the deaf
heard, the cripple leaped with joy. Divine order governed
as those who had been satan-bound were loosed.
But, something strange entered the Church, now so full of
glory. A Baalim with his illicit doctrines and proposals arose,
and havoc followed. A love for power and the favor of man
enticed the ministering class. Human rule crowded Divine government
until the gifts waned.
Now the educated preacher (by man's standards) who spoke
did so solely by man's skill. The Spirit waned. Kings and
riches befriended the Church until she boasted, "I am
rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing."
She educated the priesthood, but kept the common people illiterate.
When the Church was clothed with Jesus Christ, she shone
with the light of the Sun of Righteousness. But now stripped
of heavenly garments, she reflected but the light of the moon.
Her purity, holiness, and the righteousness of Christ, had
been exchanged for the rags of selfishness, pride, intolerance,
Yet there appeared a light upon the dim horizon. Reformation
began. The power of God again sprang up into the earth. Martyrs
multiplied in the ravaging fires of persecution. Great was
the commotion as men trembled and shook under the mighty blasts
of truth. But far too soon the new movement waned and the
Church again drifted into doctrine and form.
Thus, over and again has God moved upon chosen men to shed
forth His light. In these last days, the Holy Spirit has again
been poured out, as at the beginning. Great has been the manifestations
of His power. Many were the in-gatherings; glorious the results.
But alas! Again failure is to be found at every turn. Those
who thirst for power to rule again become prominent. Rather
than wait for the Holy Spirit to move, they grieve Him by
taking charge, until confusion and discord reigns.
At the tower of Babel, a concerted sinful plot had been prevented
through Divine intervention; by a confusion of languages which
divided the children of men. Through miraculous gifts of language
at Pentecost, God took the first step toward the restoration
of the unity of the race, taking it from the realm of natural
man, back into the realm of the supernatural.
The Church is God's workshop, the ground floor of His activity,
builded together for His habitation, through the Spirit. "Ye
are God's building ... Ye are God's husbandry." Her activities
are to be the activities of God in great power. If one speaks,
it is to be as the oracle of God. Prayer is to be a "praying
in the Holy Spirit." Worship is to rise up into the realm
of "singing in the Spirit." Believers are to be
manifestly filled with praise, joy, and peace, through the
power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:4-13).
While the Holy Spirit remained the originator, motivator,
and the bringer forth of all activity, all was well. It was
exceedingly glorious. But there came a change, almost imperceptible
at first, yet growing and increasing. The voice of man again
began to be heard in The Church. Man's choosing pushed aside
the will of God. Human government displaced that beautiful
Divine Government, filled with sweetness and love.
Again, the earthly, sensual wisdom of man has crowded out
the tender Divine wisdom. In the midst of Church growth, all
too many of His followers have lapsed into institutions whose
foundations are built upon the charisma of personality, and
the creeds of man. So confusing and perplexing are these that
only God will be able to lead the way back to what He originally
intended to bring forth through "The Church."
God will deliver, and His purpose will yet be accomplished.
His glorious Church shall yet arise. Rejoice, all who love
the Lord, and come into His order, for the time is short.
"Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion;
put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem,
the holy City: ... Shake thyself from the dust;
arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem:
loose thyself from the bands of thy neck,
O captive daughter of Zion" Isaiah 52:1a-2.